Liberia: Sara Reappears for Confirmation Today

-She stands as Liberia’s most experienced diplomat

Liberia’s Foreign Minister-designate Madam Sara Beysolow Nyanti is expected to reappear before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for confirmation hearing today.

Madam Nyanti, Liberia’s highest ranking UN diplomat had her confirmation hearing rescheduled last week after what senators cited as security breach.

The former UN diplomat’s confirmation has been rocked by allegations of false academic credentials. Her supporters say one of the few senators without college degrees are the one making the loudest noise about her credentials.

However, the former UN envoy comes to the Foreign Ministry appointment with wealth of experience under her belt.

Madam Nyanti, 56, is an international development expert and a pastor. She has more than 20 years of professional experience. She was the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General from December 2021 to her retirement in July 2023.

Her work at the UN she spined from 2005, saw her work in Nepal from 2005 to 2009 before becoming the UNICEH HIV AIDS advisor in Namibia and Kenya.

Madam Nyanti also served as head of the UNICEF office in Lagos, Nigeria from 2015 to and continued her service as UNICEF Representative in The Gambia from 2015 to 2017. She also served as UNICEF Representative in Yemen from 2019 to 2020. In January 2021, Madam Nyanti was appointed as the UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal.

Nyanti’s role in Nigeria’s fight against the 2014 West Africa Ebola. She was a key figure in Nigeria’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

The Foreign Minister-designate has also held portfolios at the Liberian Ministry of Health from 1999 to 2003 including Director of the country’s National Aids Commission.

Though much details were not available about what amounted to the security breach during her confirmation hearing last week, Nyanti’s nomination to Liberia’s top diplomatic job has attracted positive and negative public attention.

Her supporters believe she is best suited for the job due to her long years of working with the UN in senior positions. However, her critics are questioning her integrity, especially based on their challenge of her academic credentials.

During Thursday’s hearing on 1 February 2024, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon who also chairs the committee, cited a complete blunder by the Secretary of the Senate.

Dillon said the Senate Secretary had allowed non-senators to troop into the Senate chamber, which led to the abrupt postponement of the confirmation hearing for Madam Nyanti.

Senator Dillon, a staunch supporter of President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, noted that the hearing was being postponed for security reasons.

Following her nomination by President Boakai recently, the Foreign Minister-designate appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for her confirmation hearing on Thursday.

In the main Chamber of the Senate, Madam Nyanti was accompanied by an unprecedented crowd and political leaders, former ambassadors including family members, and national and international individuals to watch the process.

Most of those individuals who were privileged to enter the chamber on the instruction of the Senate Secretary Nanborlor Singbeh, sat in the majority of the seats belonging to senators who were still awaiting proper arrangement to begin the hearing.

Bomi County Senator Edwin Melvin was heard in the Chamber strongly warning those sitting in the seats to leave or the hearing would be postponed.

“If y’all can’t leave from the senators’ seats then it means this confirmation hearing will be postponed because I can’t even sit here,” he said and walked out in anger.

The embarrassing situation prevented senators from taking their seats and led to the abrupt postponement of the confirmation hearing by Senator Dillon to Monday, 5 February 5, 2024, at the same venue.

Senator Dillon also told legislative reporters a few minutes after the decision was taken, that the Senate Secretary is to blame for blundering at the entry point of individuals into the Chamber.

“The Secretary blundered, and we are going to correct that,” Senator Dillon stressed.

“We know that these confirmation hearings are of public interest that is why we wanted to ensure that the media is here in a free environment,” said Mr. Dillon.

“The senate chamber is the sanity of the Senate and you saw what happened there. Everybody sat in the chamber and the seats of the senators; where they sit,” he told legislative reporters.

The lawmaker also intimated that there was a security breach but emphasized that his committee will put all necessary things in place before the hearing is held on Monday.

“Those things were put into place, but everybody wanted to intrude in there just like the inauguration; everybody must be here so people will faint too but we didn’t want it to happen today and people even wanted us to go into the Joint Chamber. No, we will not do that,” Senator Dillon noted.

He maintained that the confirmation hearing of any nominee is not and should not be a cheering squad, adding that the process is serious as such people should know their boundaries.

“Everybody feels the feeling of [entitlement] must be even in the Chamber of the Senate where senators are supposed to sit down then people, they’re ambassadors, former ambassadors and sitting in the Chamber of the Senate; nobody does that at the Supreme Court,” the lawmaker noted.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *