Following the submission of a bill to the National Legislature aimed at scrapping all tenure positions including the National Elections Commission (NEC), the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC). Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and other antigraph organizations, the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has seriously taken exception to the President’s bill.
The INCHR said the decision by President George Weah to cancel these antigraph organizations that are supposed to be independent institutions serving in the interest of the Liberian people is not healthy for the country’s democracy, and therefore called on the Liberian leader to rethink his decision and recall the bill.
Prior to the INCHR call on the President to recall his bill to the National Legislature on the cancellation of all tenure positions in the government, some Liberians have been condemning the decision of the President wondering as to what give rise to the President’s decision.
The bill titled “An act prohibiting the tenure of all public officials within the executive branch of government” was placed on the agenda of the House’s plenary for discussion during the first day sitting of the legislature for its extraordinary session on Tuesday, October 30.
Following the adoption of day’s agenda, the lawmakers voted to go into executive session, thus preventing observers and journalists from following their discussions. Reason for the decision of the house to revert to executive session was not disclosed.
Currently, officials serving in tenure positions such as the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Executive Director of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission and Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority cannot be dismissed by the president, except for specific causes relating to their ability to perform their duties or failure to adhere to specific ethical guidelines. Other tenure positions are the heads of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation; Liberia Telecommunications Authority; Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and National Elections Commission, among others.
The act explains that although legislative actions taken in the last few years provided security of tenure, it has become necessary that the provision of tenure granted appointed officials of government to be removed by appropriate legislation upon careful consideration of benefits and downside of security of tenure.
The president believes that tenure personnel in the government would likely impede, obstruct or materially or adversely affect the development agenda of the president.
Meanwhile, passing the act submitted by Weah means tenure officials would only serve at the will and pleasure of the president, as provided for by Article 56 of the 1986 constitution.
The bill provides that the president will have and exercise all powers necessary and convenient for the effective administration of the executive branch of government.
“Except otherwise provided in the constitution of the Republic of Liberia all statutory provisions of laws providing for tenure of office, terms of office, tenure, or anything that provide security of tenure of all public officials appointed by the president under the Executive Branch of Government are hereby repealed,” section one of the bill states.