Weh-Dorliae Challenges Weah -Gets GC Appointment

In a society where cowardice and incompetence is fast eroding public service, Dr. Yarsuo Weh- Dorliea, a foremost activist and public sector expert shocked  President George Manneh Weah with his stoic posture he when eloquently dissected the problems besetting  the Governance Commission, an institution that once elevated the governance system of the country through creating, designing , formulating and suggesting workable policies to advance the cause of good governance, rule of law and entrenching popular democracy in the country.

Dr. Weh-Dorliae who formerly worked at GC as a commissioner during the tenure of Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer,  displayed his depth of knowledge of what it takes for such an important government set up to deliver the services for the state and provide the dividend of democracy for the citizens to benefit. He said one of the main reasons why the GC was created was to address the imbalance in development and participation in government, as a result of a centralized form of government where the central government makes decisions and imposes on the rest of the country without their input.

Speaking at the one day symposium organized by family, friends and associates to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer, former President of the Interim Government of National Unity , Weh-Dorliae said the creation of the GC was borne out of several recommendations from the Accra Peace Talks that effectively ended the 14 years of civil war and paved the way for the holding of post war general elections in 2005.

“Finally, Mr. President since September when you signed the local government Act, this is my second time meeting you, So I want to take this time to tell you why Sawyer wanted for the government to implement the local government act.

“Since 1847, the governance system was made after the colonial model of a centralized totalitarian system of government. So we have a system of government that colonized ourselves, the government was so centralized that less than five persons in government decided to do everything for the country. So Sawyer fought to unravel this participatory government called Decentralization”, he said.

Attributing the 14 years of civil war to the centralized form of the government, he said the participants of the Accra Peace Accord which included the warring factions and the international development partners proposed for the establishment of the Good Governance Reform Commission which was transitioned to the Governance Commission (GC) and Dr. Sawyer became its first chairman.

“So we started the whole process of public sector modernization, changing things in the country to make our institutions effective, to make our government participatory, so people up interior will receive service from the government”, he said.

He said one of the outcomes of most of the modernization process was the establishment of service centers in the 15 counties beginning with Buchanan, Gbarnga and Zwedru, effectively providing services to the people.

He told the President that it was high time for the government to fast track and pass the Local Government Act and the Gender Sensitivity Bill so as to accelerate the pace of development in the country.

“You can elect your President , you can elect your senator, but if you don’t change your system of government you will have the same results”, he said amid standing ovation, challenging the government that if prioritizing the local government act will be a campaign message for any government to remain in power he was willing to support it.

President Weah , apparently stunned that he could see someone challenging him to take a decision on correcting  the pitfalls at GC and hearing such from a well knowledgeable person, never hesitated to appoint him to the position so as to restore and sustain the tempo of the entity as was demonstrated in the past when it propounded solutions to governance issues in the country through research, workshop, policy crafting and implementation and leading the reform of the public sector in the country.

The public announcement of the offer from President Weah was greeted with huge reception from the numerous participants at the well attended occasion, with some saying that the GC will now have a sigh of relief after a protracted period of time without a substantive chairperson. There is currently a leadership crisis there between the Acting Officer in Charge(OIC), Madam Elizabeth Dorkin and fellow commissioner George Howe.

Dr. Sawyer in one of the few interviews he granted media institutions had also lamented how the GC has fallen in bad times and the system he left in place eroded so quickly in such a short time. He had said that it was not meant to be a place where people seek jobs or favor was awarded to friends and family but a serious government entity that is meant to guide the government on what to do properly.

Interestingly, in her eulogy over the remains of Dr. Sawyer, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf having praised him for the work he did at the GC which she said she was proud of and looking back to see what the commission was turned into, said aptly, “But where is the Governance Commission?”

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