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President's Office Needs a Nanny



I don’t think this is the time for those who clamored for the election of Mrs. Sirleaf as the sole person with the magic wand to take Liberia out of her woes to lower their expectation. Instead, we can all advance working alternatives to move things forward. As it is clearly seen, many of Mrs. Sirleaf’s supporters who were dubbed “Ellenites” during the campaign season due to their unwavering loyalty to Mrs. Sirleaf are now puffing some air of frustration and disappointment with the way Mrs. Sirleaf is performing thus far. I don’t think grumbling is going to help. We have five or more years to live with Mrs. Sirleaf’s leadership so instead of just venting out shock, dismay and disappointment alone, we can make suggestions. One area in which I believe Mrs. Sirleaf has not done well is the way her office responds to criticisms or challenges. What comes out of a person represents that person so for us to trust what the government tells us, there should be a more organized way in information dissemination. By that I mean who should talk for the President’s office, what to say and how to say it. This is vital because the Liberian people are weary of the many contradictions from the country’s highest office. I believe the government can score some successes in that area by hiring an Executive Mansion Nanny. Remember, a nanny does more than just baby-sitting. There are some other duties like house keeping, some light chaperone activities and management of some house resources.

After President Johnson-Sirleaf has crowded her office with all the officials ranging from deputy and assistant ministers to the Chief of Staff and all the public relation technicians, it has become increasingly clear that a perfect coordination/organization amongst those offices is suffering. All the presidential mouth pieces extending from the Executive Mansion to the ministry of Information are in a semi-confused state. We cannot even be sure who is going to talk for the president next. Is it the President herself, Press Secretary, the Information Minister or his deputy, one of the other "favored" ministers, or any of the public relation fellows at the mansion? As a result, the President often times comes up to contradict what any of her mouth pieces says or take a completely different position altogether. The role of the Executive Mansion Nanny will therefore be to coordinate who to speak for the president and ensure that that public utterance is in sync with the president’s position. It will be in the form of a “token passing.” This is an old system which found its way into networking technology but it works well. Who ever the nanny hands the token will be the one to speak for the president. In doing so the issue must have been discussed in chambers and the one with the token will have been briefed sufficiently. Even if any one of the mouth pieces is pressed by journalists to defend a certain position or move of the president, that person will defer to the one who the nanny has assigned the token.

Let me give a little background of token passing so that it will all come together.
In communication technology, like Networking, token passing is a way of controlling access to a resource where a “token” is passed around between nodes that authorizes the node to communicate. This technique is an orderly access method which allows only the system which has the "token" to communicate. The token gives authority to the system to communicate or use the resources of that network. Once the communication is over, the token is passed to the next candidate in a sequential manner. An opposite of the token passing technique is contention as the one that is seen in our Executive Mansion operations. Take for instance, the number of conflicting positions from the GOL in response to the audit report by the Auditor General. In networking, contention causes collisions (or confusion and rancor in the real world) where in access to the network resource is not in any organized way. Each node contends for access and the first to get there transmits. If two or more attempt access at the same time, a collision results and none is able to transmit. Because of the advantage token passing has over contention, a nanny will restore some orderliness and limit or eradicate the number of “collisions” that constantly occur in the president’s office. As the many officials of the President’s office compete for stronger ties with Madam President, some for a possible endorsement to run for president in the next election incase Mrs. Sirleaf is constrained by her age and pledge not to contest, the Nanny can among other things, soften the ground and restore some order.

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