Pres. Weah Undermines Governance Commission's Independence?

President George Weah

— CENTAL, a prominent civil society organization known for its work in promoting good governance and combating corruption.

The Center for Transparency and Accountability (CENTAL) has accused President George Weah of undermining the integrity and purpose of the Governance Commission, citing the appointment of Atty. Garrison Yalue as a  member of the President's reelection campaign team.

Yalue, who currently heads the Commission, was recently appointed Deputy Campaign Manager for Administration on the President's reelection campaign team in complete violation of the Act that created the Commission.

Section 5.3.4 of the Act is explicit. It says  “Commissioners [are to] be non-partisan to prevent the governance agenda and process from being a political one.’’

But Yalue, who is a former lawmaker of Nimba County, has failed to uphold such a clause, which CENTAL says clearly indicates that the President has turned the Commission into a political entity, with the purpose of furthering his political agenda. 

“The appointment of Atty. Yealue does not only contravene the law but is ill-advised and counterproductive to good governance efforts in Liberia,” CENTAL says. “As we all are

aware, the Governance Commission has had a history of playing a very critical role in reviving our democracy by promoting good governance in Liberia.” 

“The action of the CDC [Weah's ruling Coalition] violates several provisions of the 2007 Act creating the Commission, which is required to be independent and politically neutral. Also, the President's decision violates the 2014 Code of Conduct for public officials and its amendment of 2022.”

Weah's support for Yalue's partisan actions, according to CENTAL, which is a well-respected civil society organization, undermines the credibility and impartiality of the Governance Commission and sets troubling precedents.

CENTAL added that the President's action has reduced the Commission to a mere pawn in the political game as it undermines his government's own anti-corruption and good governance agenda. 

“This is an extremely troubling decision that should be immediately reversed, to avoid rendering the already dormant and underperforming Governance Commission unworthy of the trust and confidence of the public and development partners whose engagements and partnerships with the Commission are indispensable to her success.

“We are, therefore, not only astonished by the latest decision of which undermines [the] own government’s anti-corruption and good governance agenda but are also dismayed at the acceptance of the appointment by the said official,” CENTAL Say. 

“For a government underperforming at all levels on key governance indicators, especially Liberia’s 26 score and gross underperformance on the 2022 Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International, it should endeavor to win the trust and confidence of the public and development partners,” it added. 

Yalue's public displays of support for Weah's political ambitions have sparked a heated debate across the country. 

Critics argue that his actions compromise the commission's ability to provide unbiased recommendations and oversight on matters of governance. 

In a mid-July Facebook post, Yalue conveyed his endorsement of Weah's bid for re-election and his commitment to rallying Liberians behind such a cause.

“I am personally endorsing President George M. Weah for re-election, and I will actively work to persuade my constituents to support him as well,” he posted.  “However, it is essential that we adhere to the rules of fair play in our political endeavors. Baseless accusations against me will not serve any constructive purpose.”

Weah's supporters have defended Yalue's right to engage in political activities, citing his individual freedom as a citizen. 

However, critics argue that as the head of a key governance oversight body, Yalue should uphold a higher standard of neutrality and refrain from engaging in partisan politics.