Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Governance Commission Chair, last week told a stakeholders’ dialogue on enhancing coordination that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's government lacks coordination.
It has to be said at the onset of this editorial that we are not here quoting a government political foe. Our Legislative Correspondent Keith Morris was covering the keynote address at the forum's opening by Dr. Sawyer, who is himself veritably part of the nation's governing process. Since 2006 he has successfully run the Governance Commission, which has created and structured a new governance system for Liberia. The Governance Commission has laid the groundwork for the decentralization of government. The bill for this system, which promises at long last to transform for the better the way Liberia is run, lies somewhere between the President's desk and the National Legislature.
Dr. Sawyer was also part of the process that engineered the principles for the economic and social transformation of Liberia, known as Vision 2030. These principles were developed over the past year and a half through visits to all parts of Liberia by the President, Planning Minister Amara Konneh, Dr. Sawyer and Members of the Governance Commission and by the Steering Commission of Vision 2030 headed by Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh.
The climax of this process came in January 2013 in Gbarnga, Bong County, when the Vision for the Transformation of Liberia was launched, by now Finance Minister Amara Konneh.
The very fact that the Liberian people have seen no action either on the new governance system and decentralization nor the Vision for Transformation, is itself a serious indictment on the process of governmental coordination. Who is in charge of the new governance system and decentralization and what has happened to the legislative process that is supposed to make these happen? Where is the Vision for Transformation and when will the Liberian people begin to experience its impact?
Yesterday's editorial in this newspaper addressed the issue of Agriculture, which featured most prominently in the nationwide Vision 2030 discussions. Yet that editorial mirrored the consensus among southeastern farmers that they have not yet begun to experience that Vision's impact, nor even the normal function of the nation's agricultural services.
Dr. Sawyer's remarks about the lack of coordination in government were not too specific, though they dwelt primarily on the problem of coordination at the highest levels–among the three branches, Legislative, Executive and Judicial. The Liberian people and the whole world know about what the President herself has called the endemic corruption pervading the entire government–even in the three branches. Quite apart from judicial corruption, which makes it near impossible for the government to win a case in court, the corruption between the first two branches–Legislature and the Executive–is at scandalous proportions, where the government can hardly get any of its bills through either house of Legislature without passing money around.
If, therefore, corruption strikes at the very heart of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial processes, is there any hope for coordination on anything?
We could not end this editorial without mentioning the serious embarrassment the government currently faces over the funeral of the Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), Charles Gyude Bryant. Here is evidence of the patent lack of coordination in government. Who is in charge of the funeral of that fallen Liberian Head of State? Not the Foreign Ministry, which should spearhead all the arrangements, including the Book of Condolence, the Gazette, the involvement of the International Community and the Order of the Funeral, including the 21-gun salute; nor even the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, which represents the President of Liberia. No!–to date it is the late Chairman's family–the Bryants and the Carrs–that have finalized all the funeral arrangements, leaving the government totally missing in action!
Will the government, including the Legislative, Executive and Judicial, be present at the funeral, when GOL has so far played absolutely no part in the financial or organizational arrangements?
Our final question is what has happened to the Liberian government? Have they thrown in the towel and let things run themselves?
What does this all mean?