River Cess County Inspector Wants More Training for Local Officials

CESTOS, River Cess – The county inspector of River Cess, Daniel Doe, has repeated his earlier call for local officials of the county to be provided orientation to understand how government works.

For the second time now, Doe said new local officials in the county have limited understanding on the workings of government.

Speaking recently during a ceremony to mark the official opening of the November term of court in Cestos, the county inspector, who is also the county’s current acting superintendent, said most of those appointed in local government positions by President George Weah are new to government and do not understand their responsibilities.

He had made similar comments in October during the visit of the Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf to the county.

His recent statement also followed a comment by the judge of the Cestos Magisterial court, Benjunes Wheagbah, that local officials have no regards for the rule of law.

According to Wheagbah, local officials in the county have been refusing to appear before the court whenever there are complaints against them.

Meanwhile, the inspector has encouraged the county attorney to clearly explain the law to individuals serving in local government.

“We do not know what the law says about what should happen when a local government official commits a crime and is taken to the judiciary,” he said. “I think these are some of the reasons some of these things happen, as the magistrate has said.”

Besides Doe’s statement that the local governance structure needs orientation, residents of the county have been calling on the local radio stations complaining that many of their local officials have been absent from the county.

A recent survey conducted by The Bush Chicken uncovered that offices at the River Cess County Administration Building are always closed.

Empty corridor of the county service center in CESTOS. Photo: Eric Opa Doue

At 1:15 p.m. on November 15, both the county administration building that hosts the offices of local officials and the County Service Center were deserted, without even a security guard present.

At the service center, which has more than 40 employees, only a staff attendance book was seen on a desk with the signature of two persons, who were also not seen in the building.

Prior to The Bush Chicken’s visit, the county Information Officer, Isaac Williams, had earlier denied reports that local officials were deserting their posts. He had said some officials were most times in the field performing administrative functions.

The minister of internal affairs has already warned River Cess officials that deserting their office would risk them being dismissed.

“We have been getting reports that some of you are always leaving your assigned areas for workshops and leaving your work undone. If you think the government’s work is where you will come and make money and you don’t have time for it, we will suspend [and] if possible, sack you,” Sirleaf noted.

The Bush Chicken also found that the county’s assistant superintendent for development, Amos Somah, and assistant superintendent for fiscal affairs, Elijah Kassaynee, are often out of the county, spending long times in Monrovia. But Kassaynee told The Bush Chicken that his long stays in Monrovia are meant to help him access the County Social Development Fund.

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue  

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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