“Inherent Contradiction in Articles 54 and 56”

Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman

-Sen. Sherman, others support election of superintendents

The Senate chairman on Judiciary Senator Varney Sherman and others have welcomed an amendment of the Constitution that will allow election of superintendents of counties as is the case with paramount, clan and other local government officials.

Sen. Sherman was specific and emphatic during debate on the current draft to amend the Local Government Act of 2018 last Thursday, by describing Articles 54 and 56 as containing “inherent contradictions.”

“How can the Constitution under Article 54 (d) empowers the President to appoint ‘superintendents, other county officials and officials of other political sub-divisions; but Article 56 (b) stipulates that: There shall be elections of Paramount, Clan and Town Chiefs by the registered voters in their respective localities…”

Sen. Sherman and others argued that to have and effective decentralization of the government, superintendents, who act as heads of the counties must be elected as is the case with those who they have direct supervisory power over.

Other Senators however, who are skeptical over the election of superintendents, think such action would be giving the superintendents too much power and would render Representatives and Senators limited authority over the electorates.

But the chairman of the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs, Senator Gbleh-bo Brown, himself a former Superintendent of Maryland County, tried to allay fears of his colleagues, saying the lawmakers will still maintain their constitutional authority and will in no way diminish it, such as lawmaking and oversight responsibility over institutions under the Executive Branch of Government.

Asked whether he, as co-drafter of the Act along with the Judiciary committee, was disappointed over the suspension of debates, Senator Brown said the decision was part of their legislative functions; “but while we await the involvement of the Law Review Commission, my committee will continue its work unabated.”

“We believe in decentralization and central government sharing power with the local people because that is the way forward for this country to develop; so whatever it takes, this committee is going to do whatever within its power to ensure that eventually this law passed,” Brown told the press.

Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn, expressed serious reservation on some of the proposed drafts which he said, “were borrowed from other countries and want to be used in Liberia, [though] our system is completely different from the other system. We think that we need to go back to the committee room, to the drawing board, get the technicians to re-look at this law and Liberia with its governance structure and suggest something that will be easier to administer.”


  1. It’s is very true that for Liberia to develop in every capacities, there must be decentralization of power and authority. Trust me, those who are worried are those that have some selfish intent. Liberia is getting better!

  2. Senator Sherman, you are arguing about “inherent contradiction” obviously on the basis of democratic rights. But has it occured to you that your call to restrict the democratic rights of incumbent legislators is more than an “inherent contradiction”? It is more than an “inherent contradiction”.

    What you and your colleagues should do is ochestrate a scenario which should eventually result in the overruling of that shameful judicial precedent set by the Korkpor Bench in which the Domicile Clause viz the eligibility requirements of legislative candidates was violated, and Edwin Snowe had two domiciles at the same time.

  3. I totally support the concept and idea of electing county officials, including superintendents and city majors. There can never be serious democracy in Liberia without the rights of the people to elect their local leaders in all political subdivisions of the Nation. I, therefore support this current discussion lifted by Senator Sherman.

  4. Mr. Leewaye, you are absolutely correct. The concept to decentralize power and encourage equal Revenue sharing in Liberia by have our people to vote and elect their City Mayors and Superintendents, is long overdue. Liberia and the rest of Liberia are undeveloped due to the fact that since 1847, about 170 years ago, Suprintendents and City Mayors are hand-picked and appointed by the President of Liberia. Many of Liberia’s problems and undemocratic backwardness are generated and imposed on Liberia by Liberians. As the saying goes, Liberia has so many educated, but professionally dishonest sons and daughters. As we all regretable know, there are many educated Liberians that are wholly and solely self-centered and selfish. Liberia, resources and natural resources, come from counties outside Montserrado County. Notwithstanding, These Revenues and riches are brought to Monrovia, centralized and controlled at the will and wishes of an overly-powerful and valued Presidency. It is good lawmaking to elect Suprintendents and City Mayors in Liberia. This will encourage equal Revenue and power sharing and by accurate assumption, development. Liberia, must move on and be measured by modern lawmaking.

  5. The election of chiefs is a great democracy. The people should be literally ruled by themselves. The appointment of superintendents ensures the needed strong centre which guarantees AN INVINCIBLE ALLIANCE OF THE PEOPLE AND THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT!!!

    Election of appellate judges and justices to ensure the indepence, competence, and public-spiritedness, of judges and justices! Not election of superintedents in a polity with a central government in a country with no customs, traditions, nor political structures,of federalism.

    Election of superintendents is counter-productive. It results to A WEAK CENTRE. A WEAK CENTRE IS THE RECIPIE OF CLANNISH AND TRIBAL RIVALRIES, and disharmony in such a minute population. Liberia IS NOT America, India, nor Nigeria. Check the continent; you hardly see such arrangement.

  6. Frederick Jayweh, you may have actually been a kid even during the final decade(1980s) of the ANTE-WAR PERIOD.

    Mayoral elections were always a political tradition, and democratic exercise, even up to the end of the 1980s in Liberia.

    Mayoral elections only came to a formal halt under the immediate past Unity Party Government.

  7. The election of superintendents is ill advised. Superintendents are an extension of the president or the executive branch for the governance of the counties. They are the direct representatives of the president. Once elected, the president losses that leverage. We already have direct representatives of the people in the form of representatives and senators. If superintendents are elected in like manner as the president, who do they report to? How does the president exercise executive control over the counties? What will be the role of superintendents vis a vis representatives and senators? This is a serious leadership rivalry and disruption at the county level. And to crown up everything, we’re forgetting the financial implication of these elections. Why are we always looking for ways to spend the limited resources we don’t have? Oh My Gosh!!!!!

  8. Counselor Sherman sees the election of superintendents from a legal standpoint and not from a governance angle. We are a unitary state and not a federal system. In a unitary state, counties are run by the president through the superintendents whereas in a federal system, states are autonomous and are run by elected governors. Let’s not mistaken the two.

  9. The Election of City Mayors and Superintendents, is both an act of good governance and legally sound. Take it or leave it. City Mayors and Suprintendents, are truly the true, certain, obvious and direct representation of the people. There are many uncoordinated and disconnected parts of the the Constitution that need to be amended to fall in line with modern day good governance and the law. We support the amendment of the Liberian Constitution to constitutionally elect City Mayors and Superintendents in Liberia.

    Cllr. Frederick A. B. Jayweh


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