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Sawyer advises Weah

Former interim president and chairperson of the Governance Commission or GC Dr. Amos C. Sawyer is cautioning President-elect George M. Weah to manage expectations of his followers, if he is to succeed as President.

“When somebody, who had been so determined to get into position gets that position, his follower have every right to have expectations”, says but notes expectation that things should happen quickly needs to be addressed by the President-elect, because changes don’t come overnight.
Dr. Sawyer, also former professor of Political Science, gave the caution on Friday, 5 January while speaking to state radio ELBC in Paynesville outside Monrovia.

He says Liberia is where it is now because of tremendous efforts made in recent times, adding that in those days when the court failed, everything across the country broke down, but today, things have changed.

“I will caution that there is a need to manage expectation, because if people expect that there will be more jobs, things prices will come down then, there should be a program in place to meet those expectations other than that, such expectations wouldn’t be met.”

Dr. Sawyer applauds the peaceful conduct of the 26 December 2017 presidential runoff election, noting that the process went well, because the law took its course, stressing, “The greatest thing is that the Liberian people support the legitimacy of the court.”

“I think all of the candidates did what they were allowed under the law to do; what we need now is reforms of the electoral laws, the timelines there are number of things that need to [be] considered; when you do all of those the assumption is that people will fit in everything.”

He recommends that one of those things that need to be done is to have a reform program of the electoral laws, which his institution has already been working on.

According to the Liberian statesman, to avoid problem on election matters, there is a need for a constitutional court, citing that in some countries, there are constitutional courts that help in quickly resolving election cases.

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He points out that the elections commission had not in a way reversed a hearing officer, whatever the hearing officer says is final. “But I think it is important to take response from other institutions that are not connected to the elections commission in hearing election cases.

Asked whether he was satisfied with the court ruling, he said when you look at the court in 2005, and now you can see a difference, noting “I think we must not press the court to act much faster next time, but we should address schedule for the time of inauguration and adequate voter’s education, among others.”

The GC boss also stresses that it is the responsibility of every political party to have a trained representative at a polling station, who is knowledgeable, and training should be organized by the elections commission, inviting all pool watchers to attend.

On the outcome of the elections results, Dr. Sawyer says the results spoke of the enthusiasm and involvement of the Liberian people in the electoral process, “the number of people that came up to vote I think is commending; I welcome it as a major accomplishment for us.”
He continues that with this process, he feels so pride being a Liberian, and adds that the GC has been preparing for the transition and other processes two years ago.

Dr. emphasizes that it is very important that the outgoing President, and the newly elected President to sit and chart on few areas, including security, foreign relations, new opportunities that are in the pipeline just to have smooth takeover instead of hostile takeover.

on the issue of reconciliation, he observes that President-elect Weah is uniquely placed to reconcile the people, saying “Let’s go back to the palava hut, let strengthen the human rights commission, among other things.”

Dr. Sawyer headed the Interim Government of National Unity or IGNU formed in Banju, The Gambia under the authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS during the early 90s to stop ex-rebel leader Charles Taylor from forcibly taking state power.

The government was brought to Monrovia under the protection of the regional military group, ECOMOG and forcibly installed despite heavy resistance from Taylor’s NPFL rebels.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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