By: Anthony Q. Jiffan, II
National Chairperson at the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL), Mrs. Frances Greaves has expressed fear that the country may returned to its dark days if President George Weah succeeds in the cancellation of tenure positions through the National Legislature.
Mrs. Greaves told reporters that she has followed the country’s Peace Process since the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord which created the five integrity institutions in Ghana on August 18, 2003, saying that cancelation of the tenures of these institution could return the country to its dark days and destroyed the gains made thus far.
She spoke to reporters at her offices in Monrovia recently, highlighting major issued that beclouded the country from the inception of the Weah-led government while noting the importance of the integrity institutions to the survival of the country.
Praise singing and dancing
“When people are praise singers and dancers, even if they go to implement the institutional framework because they do not want to hurt you they will hinder the performance of the institution and then we will be going back to those particular issues that were flagged during the Peace Accord as the problem that took country to war,“ the National Chairperson at the National Civil Society Council of Liberia indicated.
For instance, Mrs. Greaves pointed to “the issue of the 16 billion” which she said is yet to be resolved. “There are too many challenges and issues that are causing public irritation in the sequence, which must be of national concern than tempering with tenure integrity institutions,” she said.
When people are dissatisfied, the next thing is either to take up guns, he narrated, saying that Liberians don’t want those things happening in the country any more.
It may be recalled on October 29, President George Weah presented to the 54th Legislature a bill calling for the cancellation of tenured positions within the Executive Branch of Government.
Some of those tenured positions include NASSCORP, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), LEITI, amongst others.
The country could slip backward
Further reacting to the move by the President, the NCSCL chairperson expressed fear that the move could take the country on the path of dictatorship, saying that these tenure positions were created to have these integrity institutions operate without fear of being dismissed by the president on the basis of their decisions for the protection of the broad-based masses of the people.
Madam Greaves highlighted the Governance Commission, Independent Human Rights Commission, General Audit Commission (GAC), Liberia Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC) and Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) as being cardinal to the development and flourishing of Liberia’s fledgling democracy.
The Governance Commission, she indicated, was created because it was established at the peace dialogue that Liberia lacks good governance system which they described as a major contributing factor to the 14 years civil crisis.
Similarly, the governance committee is supposed to help develop strategies whereby good governance will be practiced to avoid the lapses in the government.
Mrs. Greaves pointed out the Independent Human Rights Commission (INCHR) was also established because the issue of human rights has been a major challenge even before the 14 years of unrest; saying, “The INCHR was established to be able to address those human rights issues to ensure that the rights of every human are respected so that the country cannot go back to its dark days.
In the same vein, the civic society actor averred that the General Audit Commission was part of the intuitions that were created in the Constitution of Liberia. Though she said it was earlier created by the constitution of Liberia, its affirmation at the peace conference in Accra was meant to re-enforced and ensure that government institutions are accountable and open to audit.
The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is an overflow of the peace Accord because the issue of corruption was a major problem in the country, and was also the justification for the 1980 coup that overthrew the True Whig Party regime.
Mrs. Graves further said the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) will also be affected by the decision of President Weah which could destroy the guidance provided in awarding contracts funded by the Liberian people’s money.
“Over the time, logistical issues and how government acquired assets has been a problem; this is why the PPCC was established to be able to check and maintain the assets of government. So for me, these five institutions are very important,” she noted.
Pres. Weah understands historical context
Mrs. Greaves who is also CEO & Founder of the Voice of the Voiceless further said while it is clear that President Weah joined the Senate in 2014 and met some of that law already enacted and was a member when some of them were passed, she deemed it important that Weah, as the sitting President, understands the historical context of how these institutions came to being.
“People who are encouraging the President to remove those tenure positions did so and are being challenged because they do not understand the historical context of the establishment of these institutions,” She said.
She maintained that those people were too young to remember when the peace dialogue took place and they are not following the dynamics which are necessary before taking decisions.”
Mrs. Greaves’ greatest fear as a Civil Society actor is that the country is at a major crossroad that all decisions and even passage of laws by the Legislature has to be carefully reviewed to protect the country from retrogressing.
“So I am appealing to president Weah to take a historical look at where we came from in the past 14 years of civil crisis,” she said; adding that if Weah succeeds in the cancellation of those tenure positions he will not have people holding his feet to the fire and the right thing will not be done.