Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has dismissed her Cabinet to provide herself with a “clean slate” ahead of next year’s presidential election.
President Sirleraf made the announcement Wednesday on the eve of her departure on an overseas trip, including a stop in the United States.
Press Secretary Cyrus Badio told VOA President Sirleaf has not been too happy with the performance of some of her Cabinet ministers.
“What we can say for sure is that the president has asked her entire cabinet, except for one, to take administrative leave, and that takes immediate effect, and the reason for this is that the administration is entering a very critical stretch, and this decision, in the president’s view, will afford her the opportunity to start with a fresh slate of officials going forward,” he said.
Badio said dismissing the entire cabinet would not affect the day-to-day operations of the government.
“No, it doesn’t affect the operation of the government because you have deputies who are equally capable. So, in the absence of the ministers proper the deputies will be acting in their place,” Badio said.
He said Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Edward McClain, the only minister not affected by the shakeup, will work with Vice President Joseph Boakai to handle the day-to-day operation of the government while President Sirleaf is out of the country.
Badio said President Sirleaf expects the restructuring of the cabinet to be completed within the shortest possible time.
He said some of the ministers would be invited to return to their positions following the review.
“It’s likely some of them may be asked to return based on their performance. In fact, what will be taking place is an evaluation of the performance of the cabinet ministers, and once the president completes the evaluation, some may be recalled,” he said.
Badio said President Sirleaf has not been too happy with the performance of some of her Cabinet ministers.
“Some of the cabinet ministers have performed to some level of satisfaction. But it also goes to say that the president has not been too happy with the performance of some of her cabinet ministers. So, this exercise will afford her an opportunity to look critically at these cabinet ministers – those who performed and those who may not have performed satisfactorily,” Badio said.
He said President Sirleaf is aware that some of her ministers might have other plans like exploring other career options, including going into politics or the business world.
Badio denied President Sirleaf dismissed the cabinet for purely political reasons to improve her chances for reelection in 2011.
“What the president wants to do is to ensure that moving forward, this administration remains most effective. As you know sometimes when elections are coming people tend to be more focused on elections. The president’s focus is on the development of this country and how effectively she can move ahead with her development objectives,” Badio said. voa