Dr. Amos C. Sawyer
Chairman, Governance Commission
Dear Dr. Sawyer:
It is my distinguished honor to present greetings and compliments, and to seek your wisdom regarding the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) amendment passed, recently, by the National Legislature.
During your reported (FrontPageAfricaonline & Analyst Liberia, February 26, 2014) appearance before the House Committee on Governance & Judiciary, you are reported to have said that “. . . in the news last week (there) was a report that the Legislature has passed into law, at lightning speed, a Bill amending the Act Establishing the Central Bank of Liberia. This development has sparked concerns in many quarters – financial, legal (and) political as well as among many ordinary citizens. To many, aspects of the Bill seem reminiscent of the Mandela Laws of the Apartheid era in South Africa, where laws of exclusion and discrimination were individually targeted to control the actions of a single individual, in that case Nelson Mandela. Such laws are typically designed to be retroactive in their effects. They also carry grave implications for the functioning of governance institutions and for creating uncertainties for office holders even after the expiration of their tenures”.
Therefore, in conclusion, you opined that “In my view, the passage of the Code of Conduct (now before the House and for which you appeared and testified) with provisions of general applicability is a far better, ethical, legal and democratic way of addressing concerns regarding unfair, electoral advantages” (than the CBL amendment). Obviously, you are opposed to passage of the amendment, a right available to all citizens, including citizen Amos Sawyer . . ., but Dr. Sawyer is “obligated” to provide the foundation of this position, for:
Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer is not only Chairman of the Governance Commission, but also the Eminent, Liberian Social Scientist and scholar, former professor of political science, author, Father of the nation’s current Constitution (as Chairman of the Commission that wrote that Constitution) and former head of state and Interim President of the Nation. Therefore, whenever or wherever Dr. Sawyer speaks publicly on critical, public policy issues, the Liberian people listen, wishing and hoping to learn, because Dr. Sawyer is the proverbial “Alligator from whose mouth comes the ‘cold, pure water’”.
You proclaimed that (1), “This development (of the CBL amendment), passed in law at lightning speed, sparked financial, legal, and political concerns; that (2), “Aspects of the (amended) Bill seem reminiscent of the Mandela Laws of the Apartheid era in South Africa, . . . laws of exclusion and discrimination, individually targeted to control the actions of a single individual”; that (3), “Such laws are typically designed to be retroactive . . . carry grave implications for the functioning of governance institutions” and that (4), Addressing, in a democratic way, concerns such as ethical, legal, unfair, electoral advantages and provisions of general applicability, the proposed Code of Conduct “is far better than the CBL amendment”.
As your students and concerned citizens, who inherited the quest for knowledge from you as the role model, especially, knowledge concerned with the enduring “human condition” in our, Liberian context, desire explanations/answers to the following questions from the “Alligator’s mouth”:
1. What are the “financial, legal and political concerns” and their specific impact resulting from passage of the CBL amendment, including socio-cultural and moral considerations?
2. What are the “aspects” of the amendment “reminiscent of the South African era” similar and relevant to the Liberian experience, the amendment with specific relevance to “discrimination and exclusion, and the control of the actions of single individuals”?
3. What or where is the retroactive element of the CBL amendment “with grave implications for the functioning of governance institutions”?
4. Kindly explain to us, your students, eager to learn, the comparative advantages/disadvantages of both, the proposed Code of Conduct and the CBL Amendment, in terms of “provisions of general applicability, ethical, legal and in a democratic way of addressing concerns such as unfair, electoral advantage”.
We write, therefore, to request that you kindly explain your opposition to the amendment, in terms of the areas that you indicated and, upon which, our questions are based. This is important, for obvious reasons.
Bai M. Gbala, Sr