October 3, 2003
The Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), one of three warring factions that signed the recent peace agreement in Accra, Ghana that ended the civil war in Liberia is said to have dropped Eugene Dean Wilson as the designated Liberia's Foreign Minister. Dean Wilson was selected at the end of the peace conference to represent MODEL in the interim government as the Foreign Minister of Liberia. According to a highly placed MODEL source that asked not to be named, the rebel movement has selected Thomas Yaryah Nimely, MODEL's Chairman to replace Dean Wilson as Foreign Minister of Liberia in the incoming interim government. When contacted to comment on the story, Dean Wilson who is also the spokesman of MODEL said, "MODEL will not preempt the announcement of any of its appointments; MODEL will submit the names of its appointees to Chairman Gyude Bryant as required by the peace agreement".
According to the United Nations Integrated Regional Networks (IRIN), Thomas Yaryah Nimely, who calls himself "a full-Blooded Krahn" was "born in a rubber plantation at Pleebo in the Maryland County of Liberia on November 5, 1956". He worked as a nurse in Liberia before traveling to the United States about twenty years ago. He is said to be a behavioral psychologist by profession and has worked mostly in the mental health profession in the United States.
J.D. Slanger and Sam Wlue, however, still retain their positions as the Commissioner of Maritime Affairs and Commerce Minister respectively. Richard Devine, an executive committee member of MODEL has also been selected to serve as the Secretary General of MODEL. Dean Wilson will serve in other capacity within the incoming interim government, the MODEL source said.
There is no indication of what sparked the replacement of Dean Wilson. When The Perspective Magazine reported the selections of Dean Wilson, Sam Wlue and JD Slanger by MODEL recently, numerous Liberians and observers of Liberian politics indicated that the MODEL's selections did not have the qualifications to serve in the positions indicated. MODEL watchers see the removal of Dean Wilson an attempt by the Grand Gedeh County dominated rebel movement to reward the original founders of MODEL.
The selection of Thomas Yaryah Nimely yet another indication that the educational and professional experiences of many of the people that are expected to occupy government positions in Liberia may be at variance with the positions they are likely to occupy in Liberia. LURD, MODEL, the remnant of the Taylor regime, the political parties, and the civil society need to look at the interest of Liberia and select qualified people to serve the country in this interim period. If the stakeholders to the Liberian conflict simply reward themselves for their roles in the Liberian conflict irrespective of their qualifications, it would be difficult to set the foundation for a sustainable democracy and socio-economic development in Liberia.