House Cancels Tenured Posts

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Lawmakers vote for the cancellation of tenured positions.

The House of Representatives yesterday, November 22, voted to cancel tenured positions from various integrity institutions that were set up to hold the government’s feet to the fire independently without fear or favor of being removed from their various positions by the president.

The lawmakers emerged with the unanimous decision after a 30-minute debate whether to cancel those tenured positions, with 20 votes for, 10 against and 4 abstaining, on grounds that tenured positions were created to protect certain individuals in government by past leaders.

The bill will be sent to the Senate through the office of the House Chief Clerk for concurrence before being enacted into law.

On the contrary, the cancellation of those tenured positions did not affect Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), the General Auditing Commission (GAC), and the National Elections Commission (NEC).

The Lower House acted upon a report from its committee on Judiciary and Good Governance, which were mandated by the lawmakers based on a request from President George Weah.

President Weah recently communicated with members of the House of Representatives to revoke the constitutional covering on all tenured positions within the executive branch of government.

The two legislative committees said that when the mandate was sent to plenary, the lawmakers researched and found out that until recently, the CBL was one of the few institutions whose officials were appointed by the Executive Branch and were given tenured by Act of the Legislature.

When the report from the Committee was read, a motion was raised by Sinoe County District #3 Representative Matthew Zarzar, who called for the instrument to be debated in full for plenary to reach a decision.

During deliberations on the matter, the House Judiciary Committee Co-chair Representative A. Kanie Wesso, Gbarpolu District #2, a lawyer by profession, expressed the believe that the issue of tenured positions is intended to protect some officials.

Wesso said it was important for plenary to have voted and removed all of those covered under tenured positions in the Executive.

Some of the lawmakers who voted against the instrument said that Liberia has an imperial presidency, and so removing the constitutional clause covering tenured positions was giving the president more power.

Representative Ben Fofana of Margibi County District # 4, a member of the opposition Unity Party, said removing those protections will only give more power to the already imperial presidency. He tried to convince his colleagues not to vote for such a law.

Another lawmaker who was opposed to the idea is Lofa County District #4 Lawmaker, Mariamu B. Fofana, arguing that some of those tenured positions were provided through international recommendations and best standards.

She told her colleagues that for best international practice, it is important for some institutions not to give the Executive total control, a view that was countered by some members of that august body.

Fofana said the cancellation of those tenured positions will dump the credibility of Liberians in the mud, and that no international body will take Liberians seriously.

The House of Representative’s action, if concurred with by the Senate, will mean that the LRA, LACC, Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), National Lottery Authority, and Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), the president will at any time employ anyone in those positions at his/her will whether the person is qualified or not.

With this, many Liberians are of the opinion that the President wants to have total control of the three branches of government, and that he has gotten weary of the constant dissatisfaction being expressed about issues surrounding tenured positions, and wants to put total stop to it by revoking the constitutional clause covering tenured positions.

It can be recalled that the chairperson of NGO Secretariat, Mrs. Frances Deigh Greaves, like many other Liberians, recently expressed concern that President Weah is 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 that she has followed the country’s peace process since the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed on August 18, 2003, which created five integrity institutions that stand to lose their independence, 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.

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

15 COMMENTS

  1. Another terrible decision by the Executive and now the Legislature. The International Community worked hard to help Liberia establish several of these institutions. They will respond in kind.

  2. I am usually not in sync with many things that are done, discussed or voted upon by the members of the Lower House of Liberia. I usually withhold judgement because my scruples dictate something else from their line of thinking. But once in a while, there is an alignment. The Lower House members have done “a thing” that’s outstanding. The cancellation of some tenured positions (not all of them) by the Lower House members is unquestionably a step in the right direction. This time, the Assembly Members deserve a credit! Bravo! Hooray! Kudos! The reality is that times change. When times change, newer ideas come into existence. There was a time when tenured positions were good. That was then and this is now. So, let’s move on and not get hung on something as frivolous as this.

    Suggestion:
    Employees whose tenured rights have been quashed should not be displaced or terminated because that will cause unemployment. Be sure to handle this issue professionally. Your critics will devour your integrity and your ability to lead if your best chips are not put on the table. Good luck!

  3. The entire Country needs to be turn over to the United Nations for a complete over-haule. Everybody want to dress in black shoes, white shirt, wear expensive belt, drive $85000,00 USD jeep on wet mud roads, wear gold and the lsit goes on and on!

    If we are not careful this time around it will not actually be a civil war of guns like in the 90s with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson et al., but an economic war like in the Venuzualia that making everybody in the Country to seek refuge in neigboring Countries as refugess.

    So, let not forget. An extreme hardship and poverty when it reaches at boiling point that it becomes unbearable can de-generate or cause an entire Nations to turn into or run into refugees`camps. Hunger kill too just like bullets. The Soviet Union and Venezuela can attest to this.

  4. The Honorable House of Representative is the right and I encourage Honorable House of Senate to concord with the Lower House so that those individuals can inline with the president in moving Liberia Forward with the PRO-POOR AGENDA.

    • Either way, it’s “pro poor”; depending on how one may look at it. You can be pro poor(people) by being against poverty. Yet, you can also be pro poor by creating poverty. The Administration seems to be doing it both ways. Some just don’t seem to understand the logic. It’s quite an interesting term. Isn’t it?

  5. I feel so sorry for that dumb president and ignorant legislators that is undoing this tenured-position act which is intended to ensure checks and balances in government. It’s indeed a very, very, very sad thing for Liberia!

  6. Tenured positions were created as a means of providing job security for Ellen’s cronies. Can anyone of you who are against the cancellation of some of the tenured positions point out from any of those agencies how the ternued position impacted Liberia? I think the ternued positions give greater power to Managing directors and their deputies to misuse power and get rid of lower level employees they do not want. With the cancellation, you will realize how the heads of these agencies a nd corporations will walk on chalk lines and do their work with honesty

    • Steve, your premise is flawed to say the least. Some of these positions were created with tenure because of what is considered in the global community of performance as ´international best practices.’ These positions in many instances were created with tenures after reforms which were vetting and carried out by international partners. For example, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) came into being by those reform processes. As it stands, and if the Senate concurs with this act of the Lower House, it means Liberia will be the only country in West Africa if not the entire Africa to have a Regulator with Commissioners not having tenures. This is simply a slap in the face of our partners like the World Bank, ITU, CTO, WATRA, ATU and the FCC who spent millions of dollars to have Liberia on par with the rest of the world. There is a reason why the Regulator needs to be independent and tenure of service ensured. This is going to affect the Sector greatly and seriously undermine productivity. Put sentiments and emotions aside and delve into this matter for its merits. Thank me later after you have done your research.

  7. I very sick of folks here who frown on a good step by the legislature. I think this decision is a win and win situation by both parties on the political divide. I understand the issue that tenure position gave some level of transparency and independence in some areas of government but this does not change the authority of the president by our constitution to appoint whoever he wants to be head those tenure institutions when those tenure expires. I am delighted that NEC and others are being placed on tenure so that their independence can ensure their fairness under our democracy. Though you all need to still reduce your salaries, I say bravo for a good step taken and I hope that the senate will concur with you.

  8. Mr. President, it is approaching a year since you and your CDC leadership came into power. I think it is time for me to revisit these pertinent questions many concerned citizens asked you at the beginning of your presidency.

    We would like to know how much your administration has accomplished since your ascendancy as Liberia’s commander-in-chief. I believe these questions are relevant since the Liberian people were not opportune to read a comprehensive platform from your party (CDC) upon taking office.

    1. How are you going to protect and respect the separation of power when the House of Rep. is dominated by CDC Party members who are rubber-stamping most of the President’s bills that infringe on laws that were meant to guide against presidential over-reach on laws creating term limits for heads of autonomous agencies eg: LACC, CBL, NEC, GAC, and PPCC?

    2. If the House of Rep. is very concerned on overturning tenured positions (term limits) for autonomous agencies leaders, then why can’t Congress overturn the current (long-ass) term limits for President, Senators and Representative and go back to the Pre-1986 Constitutional two term limits of 4 years for Pres.; 4 Years term for Rep., and 6 years term for Senators: removal subject only to constitutional violations of duties?

    3. Mr. President, what development plans and economic policies are you putting in place to attract foreign and domestic investments to increase employment and economic growth in Liberia?

    4. What are your jobs and pro-growth policies in stimulating the economy and reducing the high unemployment rate in Liberia?

    5. How do you plan on balancing our fiscal budget and increasing revenue?

    6. How do you plan on paying Liberia domestic, external/foreign debt?

    7. What are your education policies to make sure no child is left uneducated in Liberia?

    8. What are your decentralization (eg. Electing Superintendents, Mayors) policies to attract development in other parts of Liberia?

    9. What policies are you putting toward agriculture development and food security?

    10. What policies are you putting toward urban and rural electrification/pipe-borne water, sanitation and sewer system in Liberia?

    11. What policies are you putting toward Liberia’s modernization: manufacturing raw material extracted/ produced in Liberia?

    12. What policies are you putting toward making the 15 counties more autonomous (less centralized) to make them less dependent on the all-powerful central government?

    13. What policies are you putting in place to reduce the power of an “imperial presidency” that is detrimental to economic growth, entrepreneurship, individual liberty, individual growth and prosperity?

    14. What policies are you putting in place to encourage free enterprise and boost free market economy?

    15. How do you plan to strengthen the security sector: military, police, and other law enforcement agencies?

    16. How do you plan to protect Liberia’s porous border to limit illegal migration and protect Liberia from radical/militant/terrorist groups from infiltrating the country?

    17. How do you plan to cut down on government waste, nepotism, and crackdown on corruption?

    18. What are your health care policies to avoid another Ebola crisis or a major health catastrophe?

    19. How do you plan to encourage meaningful research and development at various universities particularly in specialized medicine, science and technology?

    20. How do you plan on controlling inflation and strengthening the Liberian Dollar against the U.S. Dollar? Why did you by-pass congress in authorizing U.S. $25M to simulate the economy without giving a comprehensive report/plan on how the $25 M was infused into the economy?

    21. How do you plan on strengthening the criminal justice system and reducing the abuse of power by government officials when it comes to using government properties?

    22. What are your short term and long term job creation policies? Will Liberia continue to use dual currencies as legal tender which is stifling economic growth in Liberia?

    23. What are your national unity and reconciliation policies?

    24. What are your foreign policies as it relates to bilateral relationships with foreign nations especially Liberia’s traditional partners?

    25. What policies will you put in place to protect Liberia’s forest and fauna from depletion due to mismanagement of the logging sectors?

    26. How do you plan on cracking down on illegal mining and protecting the environment?

    27. How do will you hold multinational companies liable for violating labor and environment laws of Liberia? Will you revisit all existing concessions’ contracts that are not profitable to Liberia?

    28. How are Liberian sea-farers benefiting from the vast maritime vessels flying Liberian Flag of Registry “Flag of Convenience” FOC?

    29. What social programs and policies are you putting in place to protect and help Liberian vulnerable children and homeless kids?

    30. What policies are you putting in place to strengthen public transportation around Liberia via road/air, water and rail?

    31. What policies are you putting in place to strengthen youth vocational and technical training?

    32. What policies are you putting in place to protect freedom of the press, freedom to assembly, religious liberty and individual constitutional rights?

    33. How are you going to protect Liberia’s territorial water from the encroachment of foreign fishing vessels?

    34. What policies/incentives/subsidies are you putting in place to encourage farmers to increase food production coupled with the introduction of mechanized and new farming system in Liberia?

    35. What policies are you putting in place to guarantee free public education to every Liberian child up to secondary school? How are you going to pay for the proposed free-tuition for public colleges & universities with a country surviving on a meager budget less a US $1Billion? Perhaps the President, Congress, & other government officials making their assets declaration public and transparent would shine light on where some of Liberia’s money is going either legally or illegally!!

    36. What policies are you putting in place to rehabilitate Liberian non-dangerous criminals to become productive citizens?

    37. What policies are you putting in place toward land reform, low cost housing and rural development?

    38. What policies are you putting in place to protect our beaches from sea-erosion, trash and other public indecencies (toilets)?

    39. What policies are you putting in place to develop Liberia’s tourism industry?

    40. Liberia’s greatest asset is not only exploiting its untapped natural resources, Liberia’s greatest assets lie in its human development. Therefore, when will you set policies to utilize the great capabilities of all Liberians both at home and in the Diaspora?

    Remember Mr. President & Members of the Congress, your leadership can either make Liberia a better place to live, or your leadership can make Liberia a dangerous place to live.

    A wise person once said, “Elected leaders who forget how they got there won’t get there the next time.” May God bless you as you approach the New Year (2019) of your presidency.

  9. Mr. George Oppong Weah Jr. The reason people are leaving Venezuala and going to neighboring countries, it is because of the economic embargo, and trade sanction imposed by Western allies. Had not it being of that, Cuba, Iran, Nort Korea, Venezuala and other nations would be better of economically.
    Because of their Geo polotical stand on the world stage, they are seen as foe, than friends, to Western countries.
    So, anytime you mention any of these nations, please do not forget to state the reason why they are poorly perfoming economically. We all come hear to make our voices heard, it is our duty to also educate our fellow Liberians brothers and sisters.
    Thanks…

  10. Bah,
    Get to work! Tell all tenured employees that their self-interest should not subordinate the interest of the nation. Ask all tenured tenured employees the following questions……

    1. Gentlemen and Ladies…how long do you want to serve in your current position without being replaced?

    2. Gentlemen and Ladies…do you have assets? If so, have you delared any of your assets?

    3. Gentlemen and Ladies….do you think you are doing the country a favor by being tenured? If so, how?

    4. Gentlemen and Ladies…..does corruption occur in the 15 counties of Liberia?

    C’on Bah. Get to work!

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