Confusion in Washington: Who Runs the Liberian Embassy? (Part II)

By Abdoulaye W. Dukulé

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 15, 2003


In a state of confusion, the messenger always gets the slap. So I did and I deserve it, because I put myself in the position of bringing to the public, in a Liberian web-magazine, a situation that has the potential of embarrassing our government. Rather than look at the issue, people jumped on me, wondering where and when I served as a journalist, questioning my moral integrity and my judgment. I received calls and emails asking “whose side I am on” as if I owed anyone any explanation about my political leaning. I am supposedly on a grandiose mission unknown to most Liberians. I take all that as a compliment and there is no more pleasure for writer than to know that s/he is being read, understood or not.

Is Abdullah Dunbar in his right? Is Aaron Kollie wrong? My issues are as follows:

1. There is a confusion at the Embassy of Liberia in Washington, DC, as to who is the current Chargé d’Affairs;

2. Both Kollie and Dunbar attended the preparatory Donors meeting on Liberia as Chargé d’Affairs;

3. Dunbar has on him copies of letters from the Minister of Foreign Affairs appointing him Chargé d’Affairs and
recalling Kollie;

4. Kollie said he has never received a letter of recall from the Executive Mansion nor the Foreign Ministry;

5. Both gentlemen show up at work everyday and depending on who picks up the phone at the embassy one gets either gentlemen as the Chargé d’Affairs;

6. The staff at the embassy is caught between two gentlemen with whom they have worked for the past 7-10 years (including this writer);

7. Contractors dealing with the embassy are confused and have ceased to serve Liberia.

These are the facts! Is this confusing or not? Some readers asked that the US State Department does not have to tell us who runs our embassy. Well, the US State Department has a say in as to who runs our embassy in their country. They don’t have to tell us whom to appoint in Monrovia, but they have to agree and allow that person to operate in their country as a diplomat. In the same manner, the Liberian government must agree that anyone appointed by the State Department to work in Liberia as a diplomat is acceptable to our government. May be we should have added this aspect of diplomatic reciprocity to save time.

After the government in Liberia appoints a person, s/he must first receive an agreement from the country where s/he is supposed to serve before taking up his/her post. Equally, when a person has been served a letter of recall from his/her country, that person must cease to operate as a diplomat and remove himself/herself from the premises of the diplomatic mission.

One of the two gentlemen is not supposed to be at the Liberian Embassy now. It is up to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia to decide and we hope Mr. Nimley will put an end to the confusion very soon.

We have called and spoken to numerous people both at the Executive Mansion and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the past three weeks before breaking the story. We are gratified that Liberians are concerned about the matter, even, if, in their usual manner, many rather slap the messenger instead of looking at the source of the problem and help to bring about a solution…

There is a problem at the Embassy of Liberia. Dunbar and Kollie may both be victims, but that is another matter. It would only take the right phone call to settle the issue. And many of us can go back to what we know how to do best, Monday morning quarterbacking…