For too long our country Liberia has laid in the plunder of underdevelopment, and on a trajectory of hopelessness, demonstrated by too many bad governance practices. Some of the bad practices include corruption, nepotism, ineffective rule of law, weak education and health systems; especially the health, which manifested it weakness in the recent months.
Our health system as a case has without doubt shown a great failure of our governance arrangement which should signal to all Liberians especially those in leadership to critically look at our governance order.
It is important to keep in mind that the strength of any democratic regime relies on the effective application of basis democratic principles which require the establishment and empowering of institutions and strengthening of existing ones. This is indeed a smooth path to a successful post-war state building. We cannot say that the current regime under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has made no effort in this regard but it is quite simple to say that the attempts made insofar by this regime to reform our current governance order have not generated substantial gains.
Let me remind the people of Liberia that the establishment of institutions, like the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), the Law Reform Commission (LAC), the Land Commission (LC), and the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INHRC), etc, are all valiant attempts gear towards reform and not reform in itself. The ability of these institutions to effectively and independently dispense the duties and responsibilities for which they have been established void of fear and selective interferences is the kind of reforms which need to be encouraged in Liberia.
We therefore have a serious problem; a reality we need to accept in spite of our different ideologies and affiliations. As it is often said, “We do not need a rocket scientist to tell us that Liberia needs complete reform and not necessarily reform attempts.’’ Do we really need a scientist? I think the answer is an undisputed no. We need to accept the fact that our government has attempted so much and it is now time that we begin to engage in actual reforms as a way of putting this country on the right trajectory. To do this, the Government of Liberia needs to give power and exclusive power to those institutions to which deserve power. The government especially the Executive, needs to disengage itself from the application of the Rule of Law and needs to promote an independent and effective Justice system. PLEASE MADAM PRESIDENT; ENSURE THAT THE LACC GETS PROSECUTION POWER IN ORDER TO PUT YOUR LEGACY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LIBERIAN HISTORY.
In spite of the many challenges we have as a nation, I am of the strongest conviction that a very effective, efficient and independent LACC supported by the Liberian people will renew our hope and give us reason to be happy. All is not lost. There are number of opportunities for us as a people to make use of in order to take our country to another level. The willingness to make use of these opportunities should be a key focus for Liberia.
Don’t we also have problem with the Centralize Governance system in itself? Of course we have. The ability of any nation to rise, explore opportunities, and increase development depends on the system of governance and the relationship of the governance to the people being governed. One reason for which we continue to experience slow growth in our country’s development processes is the system of centralized governance that has perpetuated for 167 years and has promoted imperial presidency. Under our current centralized governance arrangement, we have got so much assistance from friendly nations through budgetary support, from donors including World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, etc, and still receiving, yet have done too little. We have imported too many experts paying huge salaries we still have not been able to get to where we want to go or even closer.
Most interestingly, we as a people have over the years developed all the theoretical frameworks needed to move this country forward. We have written too many good bills spending thousands of dollars some of which are still being reviewed by the President. Among those most importantly is the draft Local Government Bill; a bill calling for the establishment of Local Governments in Liberia. In my opinion, the passage of the Local Government Bill into law will accelerate Liberia’s growth and promote economic development and empowerment among the people in the local areas. Additionally, it will promote accountability, transparency and efficiency in the conduct of local government as the leaders and those being led will have a relationship that will be marked by proximity. I am sure that it is not the will of the President to be completely imperial and to continue a centralized governance system. MADAM PRESIDENT PLEASE SEND THE DRAFT LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL TO THE NATIONAL LEGISLATURE FOR PASSAGE IN ORDER TO PUT YOUR LEGACY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LIBERIAN HISTORY.
It is my hope that this piece of writing sends out message to the government and people of Liberia.
About the Author
N. Alexander Mulbah, a B.A. holder in Sociology from the United Methodist University, now reading M.A in International Political Economy at the Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey; a country that straddles East and West.