Boakai’s Governance Performance Scrutinized By: Yassah J. Wright

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High power delegations from the European Union in Liberia on  Wednesday, July 3  plaid a courtesy visitation to renowned Human Rights Lawyer, Cllr. Taiwan Saye Gongloe, aimed at soliciting his view on the governance performance of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai. The three diplomats’ delegation was headed by the head of the European Union delegation to Liberia and Ambassador of the European Union to Liberia, Nona Deprez.  During the conversation, Cllr. Gongloe shared his perspective on the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court, systematic corruption, organized crimes, salary disparities between the government and civil servants and ordinary Liberians as well as disorganized information dissemination by the government. Furthermore, he provided recommendations to the government to improve governance and regain public trust and confidence.  The closed-door meeting which last for over an hour, was held at the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) political leader law firm in Central Monrovia, the Gongloe and Associates, Inc. However, following the conclusion of the conversation which climaxed with a photo, and subsequent departure of the diplomatic mission, Cllr. Gongloe briefed the press regarding the meat of the conversation.  Explaining the intent of the visit, Cllr. Gongloe said  the team visited his office in order to solicit his view on the governance process of the country by the United Party administration.  According to him, he was asked how does he sees the governance of the country, adding that in his sincere response, he told them that there are lots to do in order to regain the public trust in the Unity Party government. He said  there is peace in Liberia but, the peace can only be sustained when the War and Economic Crime Court process goes to civil society, adding that he strongly believes that the President should have the highest consultation in the appointment of the individual to head the country. Cllr. Gongloe urged that the government provides information to the public and publish in newspapers and broadcast on radio stations the Term of Reference of the Executive Director of the War and Economic Crimes Court to avoid protest and speculation. He described the head of the War and Economic Crimes Court, Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi, as a good lawyer and should not be deprived from heading the court because he represented people against the state. The renowned human rights lawyer said representing someone should not take away a person merits.  They are consulting about how do I see the country and the state governance. I told them that there is peace but it will be sustained if the War and Economic Crime Court process goes to the support of the civil society and the Liberian National Bar Association. The President should still meet with the LNBA leadership and civil society because they have a lot of information and the victims trust them. Many of them are seen by the victims as people who care for them,” he noted.  Cllr. Gongloe pointed out that with that, the process cannot succeed without the support of the Bar and civil society therefore, they should not feel ignored. Also, during the conversation, he also made mentioned about systematic corruption in Liberia in terms of how a few people in the government make so much salary compared to civil servants. “The President Pro-Tempo of the Liberian Senate makes two hundred and fifty four thousand dollars a year as salary besides benefits while the President Pro-Tempo of the United States makes one hundred ninety three thousand a year. That type of salary disparity in one of the ten poorest countries in the world and the riches country in the world is in my view scandalous, “he added. Cllr. Gongloe said he also waved in on the separation of powers, for which he believes that the separation of power between the legislature and the executive is broad.  He added that the legislature is involved in spending therefore, it undermines their oversight responsibilities and functions, stressing that if the executive and the legislature are engaged into spending as it is done now, who going to monitor who?  “The legislature has initiated something in the budget called legislative project which they said will be implemented by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment in the amount of US$13 m. However that will be done with the direct authority of specific lawmakers in his constituency. This undermines our democracy” Cllr. Gongloe noted. He also mentioned an organized crime across the country with law enforcement officers now surrounding their duties and responsibilities to criminals. “When your things are stolen and you go to the police, they asked you what was stolen and as you mentioned, they tell you the person who stole it and location because there is an organized crime. They also tell you to corporate with the criminal to get your things. We have to look at that,” he concluded.

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