With the recent decision by the House of Representatives to agree with President George Weah’s decision to cancel all tenured positions on grounds that those laws were enacted by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to protect her interest in government, many Liberians are looking up to the Senate, to which they refer to as the “House of elders,” to see if it will concur with Thursday’s decision of their colleagues in the House.
They are saying that the President wants to undo all of those institutions that were meant to work independently, according to his will and pleasure.
Many Liberians interviewed believe that when the Senate concurs with the House and successfully cancel those tenured positions, the President will have more power to add up to the already imperial authority that he has.
They believe that the cancellation of tenured positions will affect the Governance Commission that was created, because it was established at the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA). Also, Liberia lacks a good governance system which they have described as a major contributing factor to the 14-year civil war.
The Governance Commission is supposed to help develop a strategy where good governance will be practiced to avoid a lapse in the peace process.
The Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a key international component that will also be affected by the government’s decision, was established during the CPA, because the issue of human rights has been a major challenge even before the 14 years of civil unrest and up to the present government.
The IHRC was established to be able to address those human rights issues, to ensure that the rights of every human being are respected, because if the rights of people are abused they feel less important and in most instances this lead to war.
The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is a reflection of the peace accord, because the issue of corruption was a major problem which was also a justification for the 1980 coup headed by Samuel K. Doe, who said he overthrew the government because of high levels of corruption in the country.
The PPCC was also set up to check how the government manages and maintains logistics and how the government acquires assets.
It may be recalled that President Weah recently communicated with members of the House of Representatives requesting them to revoke the constitutional covering on all tenured positions within the executive branch of government.
President Weah has been widely criticized by some Liberians for wanting to end tenured positions, as some believe that having certain integrity institutions in the executive branch of government being run by officials with fixed tenure would reduce the “excessive powers” of the Liberian presidency.
The House of Representatives on Thursday, November 22, canceled tenured positions from various integrity institutions that were set to hold the government’s feet to the fire independently, without fear of being removed from their various positions by the president.
The cancellation of the tenured positions, if it is concurred by the Senate, will directly affect the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) as well as Public Procurement & Concession Commission (PPCC), institutions set up in 2003 during the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) after the 14 years of unrest.
The bill will leave untouched the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The bill, it is believed by many Liberians, including 10 lawmakers who voted against the cancellation of tenured positions, will dump the credibility of Liberians in the mud and international organizations will not take Liberians seriously.