The Executive Branch of the government has the executive powers of the republic and enforces the laws of the nation. It is headed by the President, who is Head of the Government, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Head of State (Constitution of Liberia, 1986). The second in command is the Vice President (VP). The President and VP must be at least 35 years of age, own real property in Liberia and they both cannot come from the same county.
Before taking their respective offices, the President and Vice President are sworn in by the Chief Justice or by an Associate Justice. They take the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the nation and fully perform the duties of their offices. In an emergency, if a Supreme Court Justice is unavailable, a judge from a lesser court will administer the oath of office.
The presidential term of office is limited to 2 six-year terms. General elections are held on the second Tuesday of October of each election year for the President, Vice President, Senators and Representatives. The election of the President and Vice President is based on an absolute majority of the votes. Other officials must receive a simple majority of the votes to be elected.
The President and Vice President can be removed from office if involved in treason, bribery or other acts that violate the Constitution. If the President dies, resigns, is impeached or cannot serve his/her duties for other reasons, he/she is succeeded by the VP. In case both the President and VP cannot serve their posts, the Speaker of the House of Representatives is sworn in as Acting President until elections are held to fill those posts. If the Speaker cannot assume the position of Acting President, it is given to the Senate Pro Tempore and follows that line of precedence as established by law.
The Executive Branch also includes numerous cabinet ministries, autonomous agencies, and public corporations. These agencies aid in policy-making, policy implementation, central governance, and provide various public services.
The President appoints Supreme Court Justices, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, superintendents, consuls, and other officials who serve at the pleasure of the President. Some appointments have to be approved by a majority of the Senate. Other duties of the President include conducting the foreign affairs of the nation pertaining to treaties, conventions, and other international accords with the agreement of a majority of the House and Senate. The full functions of the Executive Branch are detailed in Chapter VI of the Liberian Constitution.
Presidential Term: January 2018 – Present
County of Origin: Grand Kru County
Political Party: Congress for Democratic Change (CDC)
George Manneh Weah is Liberia’s current president. He began his first term in January 2018, succeeding Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was President of Liberia for the preceding 12 years. He is Liberia’s 24th president, and the 22nd person to serve as president of Liberia.
Weah is a former football (soccer) star and was FIFA World Player in 1995. He served as a senator for Montserrado County in the Liberian legislature from 2015 to 2018. He hails from Grand Kru County and grew up in Monrovia. His current term will end in 2024.
Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor
Term: January 2018 – Present
County of Origin: Bong County
Political Party: Congress for Democratic Change (CDC)
Jewel Howard Taylor is Liberia’s current Vice President. She is the ex-wife of former Liberian warlord turned president, Charles Taylor. She was Liberia’s first lady from 1997 to 2003, during her husband’s presidency. Howard-Taylor later served as a senator for Bong County from 2006 to 2018.
The Executive Mansion
The Executive Mansion is the official home of the President, containing living quarters, offices and reception areas. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is located on Capitol Hill in Monrovia. The mansion was built in 1964 during the Tubman administration.
Soon after Sirleaf became president in 2006, a fire incident during the Independence Day celebration left the mansion uninhabitable. Since then, and for the rest of her presidency, she worked from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and lived at a private residence in Monrovia.
The mansion was not renovated during her tenure and remained in a dilapidated state. Although restoration efforts began right before Sirleaf left office in January 2018, the Executive Mansion was not ready for the new president as of July 2018. He also lived at a private residence and continued to work from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Cabinet Guide for Ministries, Agencies and Commissions. Cabinet Secretariat. Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs. The Executive Mansion. Republic of Liberia. Apr. 2015. Web.
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From first lady to vice president of Liberia: meet Jewel Howard Taylor. France24. 06 Jan 2018. Web.
Guannu, Joseph Saye. A Short History of the First Liberian Republic. 1st ed. Pompano Beach, FL: Exposition Press of Florida, 1985. Print.
George Weah: From footballer to Liberia’s president. BBC News. 22 Jan. 2018. Web.
In Liberia, Report on Executive Mansion Fire Rules out Arson. Voice of America. 31 Oct. 2009. Web.
Johnson, Obediah. Over Renovation of Executive Mansion – Gov’t Threatened With Lawsuit. Heritage. All Africa. 02 Dec. 2014. Web.
Executive Mansion Not Prepared for Weah. Daily Observer. All Africa. 18 Jan. 2018. Web.
Massaquoi, Hans J. Liberia End of the Tubman Era. Ebony. Oct. 1971.
Uncle Shad Forever?. Time, vol. 83, no. 3, 17 Jan. 1964, p. 35.