Dumping Tenured Posts May ‘Return Country to Dark Days’

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Mrs. Frances Deigh Greaves, Chair, NGO National Secretariat

NGO Secretariat urges President Weah to examine historical perspectives from which tenured positions were created

The chairperson of NGO Secretariat, Mrs. Frances Deigh Greaves, has expressed concern if President George Weah is successful in canceling tenured positions through the Legislature in a vendetta to undo what the previous administration did to ensure independence and non-interference of their duties by any of the higher-ups in government.

Mrs. Greaves told the Daily Observer in an interview that she has followed the country’s peace process since the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed in Ghana on August 18, 2003, that created five integrity institutions that stand to lose their independent, should President Weah do away with tenured positions.

She said tenured positions were created by law to have integrity institutions operate without fear of their heads being arbitrarily dismissed by the President.

Under the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord (ACPA), institutions whose heads are appointed on tenured basis include the Governance Commission (GC), the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INCHR), General Auditing Commission (GAC), Liberia Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC), and Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC).

Greaves, has expressed fear that the country may return to its dark days if President George Weah is successful in canceling tenured positions through the Legislature.

She told Daily Observer that she has followed the country’s peace process since the ACPA was signed in Ghana on August 18, 2003, that created five integrity institutions, which now stand to lose their relevance, should President Weah do away with tenured positions.

She said tenured positions were created by law to have integrity institutions operate without fear of their heads being arbitrarily dismissed by the President.

According to her, the GC was created because, at the time, the country lacked good governance systems, which was then one of the major contributing factors that brought about the country’s 14-year war (1989-2003).

As for the INCHR, Mrs. Greaves said, it was established because the issue of human rights violation by state actors was observed as a major challenge, even before the 14 years of unrest. “The INCHR was established to address those human rights issues so that the country cannot go back to its dark days,” she said.

Mrs. Greaves said the GAC was a part of the intuitions that were created. Though it is within the Constitution, its function was re-enforced at the peace dialogue to ensure that government institutions are accountable to the citizens and also open to audit.

The LACC, she said, is an overflow of the Peace Accord, because the issue of corruption was a major problem that justified the 1980 coup headed by Samuel K. Doe, who believed that the country was dying in “rampant corruption.”

Mrs. Graves said the PPCC (formerly the Contracts and Monopolies Commission, until 2006) will also be affected by the decision of the President if he should remove any one of the tenured positions to appoint political bedfellows.

“People who are encouraging the President to remove those tenured positions are those who want the government to fail because they do not understand the historical aspect of establishing those institutions. Some of those people were too young to remember when the peace dialogue was held, and so, they are not following the dynamics of politics to arrive at such decisions,” Mr. Greaves said.

She said that the greatest fear as a civil society actor is that the country is at a major crossroad, such that all decisions and even passage of a bill by the Legislature have to be carefully reviewed to protect the country from going into harm’s way.

“So I am just appealing to president Weah to look into the country’s historical perspective before any major decision of national concerns.

It can be recalled that on October 29, President George Weah presented to the 54th Legislature, a bill calling for the cancellation of tenured positions within the Executive Branch of the government.

Statutes granted tenured positions to ensure that these officials work independently without anyone telling them what to do. Agencies whose heads are enjoying tenured positions include the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), General Auditing Commission (GAC), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), National Elections Commission (NEC), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NACCORP), Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), and Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).

Tenured positions are granted to these positions to ensure their independence and to also avoid interference by some officials of government by the Act of the Legislature, and they are printed into hand bills. The Constitution of Liberia Chapter 10, Article 89- under “Autonomous Public Commission”- authorizes the National Legislature to enact statutes for the creation of Agencies as may be necessary for the effective operation of Government.

Author

  • Hannah N. Geterminah is a 2016 graduate of the Peter Quaqua School of Journalism with diploma and series of certificates in journalism from other institutions. She has lots of knowledge/ experience in human interest, political, Health, women and children stories. Hannah has worked with the Daily Observers Newspaper and the Liberian media for the past years and has broken many stories. Contact reporter; [email protected] WhatsApp;0770214920

6 COMMENTS

  1. Bunk! Although I do not know her, I respect Francis Greaves as an individual, and as a patriotic Liberian. Greaves abhors the idea that Weah is determined to bundle up all tenured positions and dispose of them into a lake of fire. Greaves historicizes the origin of tenured positions and how such positions came about. She’s 100% right for doing such a splendid job. But Greaves’ argument is not hot enough to change the tide. The reality that Greaves and her acolytes should reckon with is that Weah will not capitulate in the face of adversity. Weah’s continued refusal to bow down to his political enemies, shows his strength. I urge Weah and his innercircle team of men and women to burn up all tenured positions and fast-forward the charred remains straight into a garbage dump.

    Unless I am wrongly informed, Weah is not interested in killing the institutions of tenured positions or all of them. Rather, the president is doing this in order to appoint or re-appoint qualified Liberians to various positions as he sees fit. Bottom line? The appointees serve at the pleasure of the president. Let’s not forget that the president’s own position as “president of Liberia”, is not tenured. Yes, he’s been given a 6-year term by the people to serve, but if he carries out an act of atrocity, Weah will be retired by the people. So why on earth is it logical for some people to complain about tenured positions?

    After the bloody uncivil war, Liberia went through so many trials and temptations. Countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and others had all kinds of ideas for Liberia’s growth. Some of the wacky ideas that came from foreign countries weren’t good for the long-term survival of our beloved country. It is obvious that some of those ideas have boomeranged at us big time and that’s why we’re experiencing tenured position problems today.

    Example: The use of the Liberian dollar.
    For a very long time, our country had used the USD, although our own currency was concurrent with its US counterpart. After the bloody uncivil war, many Liberians were mistakenly led to believe that it was a gorgeous idea to print our own money and have the USD slowly phased out of use. Futhermore, the manipulators of Liberia told us that it showed complete independence to phase out the USD. The manipulators singled out Ghana, Nigeria as typical example of independent countries that used their own currency. So, the Liberian establishment mistakenly bought such a bombshell idea. The truth of the matter is that the Naira and Cedi of Nigeria and Ghana respectively, are worthless. Completely worthless! Ask an average Nigerian about the Naira and he or she will bark like a mad dog. “Dee Naira is nut good atall”. We were led to believe that it showed complete independence. Today, the Liberian currency is as worthless as the Naira and the Cedi. Is that logical? Or does that show complete independence? If our currency is as worthless as the currencies of Nigeria and Ghana, it made no sense whatsoever to go to Ghana and sign accords. I incorporated the idea of currency in my comment in order to make the point below.

    Miss Greaves informs us that agreements were signed in Ghana during the early years of EJS’s government. My argument is that insofar as agreements were signed in Ghana and elsewhere, there certainly was a Ghanaian involvement. My folliw-up question is this? Were the Liberian people incapable of formulating their own institutions of government during the early years of EJS’s government? We need to do our own thing! Something that’s in our own best interest. Weah is trying to do something that’s suitable for the Liberian people.

    The institutions that produced tenured positions shouldn’t have been enacted into law. Many foreign leaders thought that it was good for us. It wasn’t!
    Eccl. chapter 3 states that “there is time for everything”. It’s time for tenured positions to jump in the Atlantic Ocean behind JFK.

  2. I feel so pity for our nation. Especially to those who are loyal to a political party instead of being loyal to the nation. It’s a vivid really that when these tenue positions are terminated, they will not work independently but rather work only by the will and pleasure of the president. The president does not want to be checkmate independently that is why he wants to do this. Why can’t he wait for their tenue to get expire? I strongly believe he has a different intention.

  3. I think President should focus on fixing the economy instead of undermining democracy. It makes no sense why he wants more power. The Liberian President already has too much power.

  4. Nonsensical and lazy to say the least. I see no strengt and light to fight the argument here by the person who made this garbage called news. Scary tactics.

  5. Phil,
    Without a shred of doubt, I wholeheartedly agree that the Liberian economy needs to be infused with 21st century innovative ideas to get it going. For sure, the economy could go for a nosedive if nothing is done to have it spurred. I have no problem with the issue of fixing the economy.
    I do have a concern as it relates to employees who have been tenured. First of all, I am a Registered Independent. I have no affiliation with any of two major parties in the US, neither am I an active participant in Liberian politics. I vote my conscience!

    Tenured Positions:
    I certainly believe that Weah has a right to re-examine or abolish tenured positions. First, I am concerned that “some” employees of tenured positions could do little or nothing on a daily basis. It is possible that because of the legal nature of their tenured positions, it really doesn’t matter as to how much work is done. Yes it is possible to assume that. Second, some tenured positions were created in order to train the flashlight on corrupt activities in the corridors of government institutions. But we know factually that it’s been more than ten odd years since the creation of tenured positions, and yet, corruption has not decreased in the country. So why should “some” Liberians become to lucky to be tenured? Or, why should they be allowed to serve out their term if their performance is not up to par?There is a belief that the so-called tenured people could be employed somewhere else in the government if they ask to be employed. Hypothetically, it is highly unlikely that as managers, any of us would appreciate the idea of not being able to re-assign employees who work below our rank. Some critics of mine think that I am a blind advocate of Weah from east to west. That’s absolutely false! However, with regard to his re-examination of tenured positions. I strongly believe that Weah is trending right.

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