When former football star George Weah assumed power in Liberia in January this year, he promised to reform the economy that has been struggling to recover following the 2014-15 Ebola crisis, to fight corruption and nepotism and bring in a new era for the West African country.
But after about eight months in office, the 51-year-old’s administration has been faced with some challenges including slip-ups with some appointments he made.
Corruption has also been a hard nut to crack for the president especially with recent news of the disappearance of $100 million (about $15 billion Liberian dollars) worth of newly printed banknotes destined for the central bank.
The cash was said to have been shipped from Sweden late last year, in the midst of Liberia’s elections to choose a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, according to Liberian media FrontPage Africa.
The incident which happened last month sparked off blame games and travel bans, as well as, public outrage in one of the poorest countries in the world.
Critics of the government pointed accusing fingers at President Weah for the missing money while others blamed the former leader, Sirleaf.
When the incident occurred, the government said it was investigating and “will leave no stone unturned to find those responsible for the act.”
Up until now, the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the money is yet to be unravelled and the government is yet to track down the cash.
Instead of placing this high on its to-do list, the government of Weah is rather being strict on policies that will direct women as to how to style their hair, angering scores of Liberians.
Africa? we have real issues and these aren’t them. How does colour of hair affect productivity or anything really?
— Clocky (@judgyjuggernaut) October 17, 2018
How does hair affect productivity? Instead of chasing after st****d things,find the 100mils that disappeared.
— Kalaluka Kapungu (@wanchimbi) October 17, 2018
Liberia’s finance ministry has announced that it will enforce a ban on its female employees wearing coloured hair extensions or dying their hair, a move that has been seen as discriminatory to women and at variance with women’s rights.
Since 2014, the law has been in existence but is only being observed now, generating mixed reactions. Liberian media reported last week that a number of female employees of the finance ministry were away from work because they have been instructed to wear only ‘black coloured-natural hair.’
Authorities of the ministry confirmed to the Ministry of Gender that was appalled by the development that the policy on hair colour and styles were a part of their Employee Handbook published in 2014.
The Minister of Gender, Williametta Saydee-Tarr asked the Finance Ministry to look into the policy and ensure an amended version that will conform to the government’s agenda of protecting the rights of women.
This is just one of the many cases of African governments attempting to infringe on the rights of women. Last month, the Tanzanian Speaker of Parliament declared that women MPs with false eyelashes and false fingernails will not be allowed to enter the legislative house, sparking anger across the country.
“With the powers vested in me by the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, I now ban all MPs with false eyelashes and false fingernails from stepping into Parliament,” John Ndugai said.
In Liberia, people have raised the above concerns and largely wondered how a woman’s hairstyle would affect productivity.