House Vote to Send ‘Prohibition of Tenured Positions’ to Committees

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Rep. J. Fonati Koffa, Chairman on Judiciary, Rep.  Larry Younquoi, Chairman on Good Governance and President George M. Weah

An Act prohibiting the Tenure of Public Officials within the Executive Branch of Government received its first reading yesterday, November 6, which marked the 2nd day sitting of the extraordinary session of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature.

Twenty five members of the House of Representatives voted to send the Act to the Joint Committee on Judiciary, Good Governance and Government Reform to report on Tuesday, November 16, 2018.

In the communication to Speaker Bhofal Chambers, President George Weah said legislative actions taken in past years have provided for security of tenure in statute amending or establishing several agencies or corporations of government, ostensibly to limit executive interference and provide that the statutory provisions of tenures granted officials in level of independence to the appointed officials of those entities.

“However, after careful review of the costs and benefits of security of tenure, it has become necessary that the statutory provisions of tenures granted officials of government be removed by appropriate legislation,” the President wrote.

“Honorable Speaker, security of tenure for certain appointed officials of government would likely impede, obstruct or affect adversely the development agenda of the President. Moreover, it is our considered opinion that the framers of the Constitution of Liberia were farsighted and resolved when they included “other government officials” in Article 56 to those who would hold other offices of government, and under their Rules, Article 50 of the 1986 Constitution clearly and exclusively vests in the at the pleasure of the President. They understood that as Head of State and Government, all policies are driven by the President, who has the ultimate responsibility of governance,” he said.

The President added, “Honorable Speaker, as an example, while not taking anything away from tenured position, the ministers of Finance, Defense and Justice are powerful positions, heading the fiscal, defense and security areas of government respectively. These positions are equally significant or even more so than most tenured positions, yet they hold offices at the pleasure of the President. Therefore, l request your usual kind and timely consideration to enact into law this important legislation that will create an impetus to work towards the development of our nations.”

Some members of the House of Representatives who requested anonymity said Article 50 of the 1986 Constitution clearly and exclusively vests in the President the executive power and authority of the Liberian State.

The Legislators said the power and authority so exclusively defined, when combined with Article 56 and read together, imposes upon the President the unrestricted power to preside and administer the Republic of Liberia without any hindrance as sovereign Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

Article 50 of the 1986 Constitution states: “The Executive Power of the Republic shall be vested in the President who shall be Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

The president shall be elected by universal adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic and shall hold office for a term of six years commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year immediately following the elections.

No person shall serve as President for more than two terms.”

Article 56(a) sates: “All cabinet ministers, deputy and assistant cabinet ministers, ambassadors, ministers and consuls, superintendents of counties and other government officials, both military and civilian, appointed by the President pursuant to this Constitution shall hold their offices at the pleasure of the President.”

This means the heads of the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and other institutions created by means of legislative enactments and appointed by the former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are covered under the constitutional phrase of “…and other government officials, both military and civilian…” and can only be removed through act of legislation.

Author

  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The former president set up these tenured positions to safeguard commissioners on these various commissions from political interference. Commission, such as GAC, LACC,PPCC, IC, NEC,etc. lifting the tenure ship will make these position not to be tenable. They will bow to political pressure, especially from this CDC-led Government that does not respect the basic democratic tenets.
    Example, here they are wishing to impeach Justice Kabineh M.Ja’neh, because he ruled against them in the 2017 election, saying they “won” a fraudulent election, therefore, they are hurting to remove him from the Supreme Court, why is it delaying, because there is a procedure to follow, if not he would have been removed ever since.
    If these security is lifted in these tenure position, Soon to be dictator, Weah will sack people from these commissions at will and pleasure. Will LACC, asked him about his asset declaration? NO.Will PPCC insist on two or three vendors? No. Will NEC say the CDC candidates did not win the election? NO. Will GAC say the Minister of finance(de facto president) cannot account for million of dollars? NO. If they did so, all the commissioners will be dismissed. That is the point. This Government will not boast of good governance.
    Thanks.

  2. While the House is looking into Article 50, Can they also visit Chapter 3 and Chapter 6 article 54 of the Liberian constitution. Those chapters are preventing or stopping Liberia from being DEVELOPED. A referendum is in place for those two Chapters which should have been removed or amended when, the constitution was last visited. It is not late!

  3. “Honorable Speaker, security of tenure for certain appointed officials of government would likely impede, obstruct or affect adversely the development agenda of the President. ” How???? Totally bogus!! The next agenda for Weah is the remove presidential term limit because it will be affecting his so-called development goals. President for life is the goal here…..he’s playing with fire.

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