By Hun-Bu Tulay (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Cell # +231886517356/777111032)
The people of Liberia are on a journey seeking a functional democracy. History often judges what leaders of a country do for their country long after their bones turn to dust. Has our past leaders since 1986, since we started this journey helped build a Justice System and a government based on the Rule of Law or one that is for sale? The legacy is theirs to decide. But if you ask us, we say to you that they tried but did not build a justice system and a government based on the rule of law. They failed to uphold the constitution and the laws of the country, from Samuel K. Doe to George Weah. They all failed us. Corruption, murder, social injustice, barberry, oppression, child abuse, female abuse and the list goes on.
Now the question is will Joseph Nyumah Boakai Sr. change the course of the journey that was started in 1986? Will he build a justice system and a government based on the rule of law? We hope he does and we are willing to help him do that. We want Liberians to remember him long after his bones have turned to dust. He has the opportunity to become one of Liberia’s greatest leaders.
A great leader is often judged by how effectively he upholds the Constitution and the laws of his country, international laws and treaties and meeting the country’s obligations to regional and international bodies. These are the things that make a great leader. Not how much money the leaders steal from the country’s coffer or how many buildings he builds for himself or luxury cars he rides. A great leader is one that understands the people’s pressing needs and ensures that those needs are met.
We will start with the simple things, the Appointing Power of the President. Our last feature, Reflection Part Nine, we dealt with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and told the president and the Liberian People that the current Executive Director does not qualify as a tenure appointee and we did called upon the president to appoint an Interim Executive Director pending the reconstitution of the National Environmental Policy Council. In this feature, we will discuss how appointments should be made at three institutions (Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC), Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) and we will zero in on the appointment of city mayors.
- Rural Renewable Energy Agency: The Act establishing the Rural Renewable Energy Agency was approved July 6, 2015 and published by authority, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monrovia, Liberia. It was printed into handbills on July 15, 2015.
Section 32: Appointment of and composition of the Board
- The board shall be appointed by the president and shall comprise of eleven members, as follow:
- One representative from the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy or future ministry responsible for energy.
- Representative from Liberia Electricity Corporation or its successor,
- Ministry of Justice,
- Executive Director of the agency, who shall be non-voting member and secretary to the board,
- Three persons selected in such a way so as ensure equitable geographic, demographic, and gender representation of the country,
- Three persons selected on the basis of their qualifications and experience in engineering, finance or accounting, environmental safeguard and legal issues related to rural and/or renewable energy technology and development, one of these such be designated as the chairman of the fund management committee.
- One person selected to represent civil society, consumers or the private sector,
- The Chairman of the Board shall be appointed by the president
Sections 3.6 and 3.7: section 3.6 power and function of the board: The board shall:
- Appoint the Executive Director and Deputy Director(s) of the agency
- Section 3.7 Appointment of the Executive Director and Staff:
- The Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director(s) shall be appointed by the board of directors
- The recruitment of the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director(s) shall be on the basis of a competitive selection process.
- An Act to Amend Chapters 85 of the 1973 Public Authority Law creating the Liberia Electricity Corporation and amendment thereto, to establish the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia approved October 23, 2015 and published by authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monrovia, Liberia. Printed October 26, 2015.
Chapter 13.1 of this act establishes the “Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC). Under this act, the president appoints the Chairman and two commissioners with the consent of the senate. The term of office of a commissioner shall be four years. Commissioners maybe appointed for no more than two consecutive terms. To ensure continuity of the institutional knowledge the term of office of commissioners shall be staggered.
- First commissioner shall be appointed for a period of four years and should serve as chairman.
- The second commissioner shall be appointed for three years and
- The third commissioner shall be appointed for a period of two years.
Following the initial appointments, all commissioners shall be appointed for a period of fours (4) years. Commissioners shall have relevant professional and academic backgrounds in areas such as law, economics, accounting, finance, science, business, public administration and policy, sustainable development, energy, environmental studies/or engineering and commissioners shall be of acceptable moral character.
Section 13.5 Staff:
- The LERC shall employ a Managing Director, who shall manage the staff of the LERC and the affairs of LERC.
- The LERC will recruit personnel with expertise in required fields, specially including although not necessarily limited to economic, finance, law, consumer relations, accounting, science and technology, and engineering.
- LERC’s Staff shall be recruited through a publicly solicited competitive selection process.
As you read, in both the Rural Renewable Energy Agency and the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission, the president appoints on the board of directors and commissioners respectively. He does not appoint the head and deputies of these institutions.
- An act to amend Chapter 88 Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Public Authorities Law, Title 30, Liberia Code of Laws Revised Created by an Act to Amend the Public Authorities Law 1973, to create the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation Act of 2017. This act was approved December 28, 2017. Published by authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Monrovia, Liberia and printed January 2, 2018.
88.5 Board of Directors
1. Composition and Appointment. The Company shall have a Board of Directors (hereafter referred to as “the Board”) which shall consist of:
(a) A Chairman
(b) Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
(c) The Ministry of Justice
(d) The Ministry of Public Works
(e) Four other members who shall be chosen from the private sector.
(f) The managing Director should serve as secretary to the board.
2. The Chairman and all Board members shall be appointed by the president of Liberia with the consent of the Liberian Senate.
88.6. Managing Director
1. Appointment. The Managing Director shall be appointed by the president, with the consent of the Liberian Senate, based on the RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTOR.
88.8. Deputy Managing Directors. The Corporation shall have four principal Deputy Managing Directors: The Deputy Managing Director for Administration, the Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services, the Deputy Managing Director for Sale and Marketing and the Deputy Managing Deputy for Finance.
Appointment. All Deputy Managing Directors shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Liberian Senate, upon RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
Now considering these three institutions and the one discussed earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency making four institutions, the president should first constitute the Board of Directors in the case of Liberia Water and Sewer because it is the Board that vet and recommend names for the Managing Director and the Deputy Managing Directors. In the case of the Environmental Protection Agency, the president needs to constitute the National Environmental Policy Council because it is the Council that vet and recommend a list comprising three names, one who shall be appointed the Executive Director.
In the case of the Rural Renewable Energy Agency, it is the Board that appoints the Managing Director not the president.
In the case of the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission, the President appoints the commissioners and the commissioners employ/appoint the Executive Director and the staff of the commission.
In the case of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation the board vets and recommends names to the president for appointment.
In the case of the Environmental Protection Agency the National Environmental Policy Council vets and recommends three names for Executive Director and the president appoints one of them.
Local Government Act 2.16j Appointing of Mayors, township commissioners and Borough Administrators and Council members.
2.16k. Qualifications of mayors and commissioners are as follow:
v. Must have obtained a first degree from an accredited college or university, except for township commissioners, who must have obtained an associate degree or high school West African Examination Certificate.
vi. Must not have any outstanding past due tax obligation.
We have heard on Spoon Talk Show and many radio talk shows that the president’s appointment is at SNAIL’S PACE. Of course, it has to be because as you read the laws creating these institutions give a clear procedure that the president has to follow as per the acts because he does not want to be like his predecessors, who made appointments with any reference to the laws. The president took a solemn OATH of affirmation to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution and laws of the Republic of Liberia and faithfully execute the duties of the office of president. He will be judged on how well he preserved, protected, and defended the constitution and the laws of the country, not how much money he stole for himself or the number of buildings he constructed for himself with the country’s money. Preserving, protecting, and defending the constitutions and laws of the country will be his LEGACY.
We call on the vetting committee to review all acts creating ministries and agencies and ensure that the recommendations for appointments are as prescribed by the Acts.
What the president needs to do like yesterday: He needs to appoint an Acting head or Officer in Charge to these institutions because those who are currently in charge are Liberians who help to bring these institutions to their lowest. They are notorious for looting. Do not give them the opportunity to destroy these institutions. ACT NOW.