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UNITARY STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT, THE MAJOR PUBLIC POLICY: SOURCE OF ALL FLAWS, DEFECTS & DISHONESTY IN GOVERNMENT

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In several, recent articles, we have written consistently, persistently, reasonably and precisely that structure influences behavior; that is, the structure of an organization, especially and particularly, with respect to the performance behavior of individuals in organization. This phenomenon is based on proven hypothesis of the Theory of Organizations and years of public service at high levels of government.

Similarly, the prevailing Unitary Structure of the Liberian Government, an organization, influenced, continues to influence, the performance behavior of executive functionaries and all other employees in government, characterized by rampant, public dishonesty. This condition obtains or follows, reasonably, becausethe rules, regulations, bye-laws or constitutions of a given organization define the functions and hierarchical, reporting/accountability relationships of individuals in organization.

Now, in the case of Liberia, our country, this major, all-inclusive, far-reaching, cover-it-all, public policy– the Unitary Structure of government –had been duly enshrined in the Constitution and utilized during the 169-year history of the Nation since 1847. In fact and in deed, socio-economic, administrative and political power had been vested, rests in and exercised by an Imperial Presidency, rigidly centralized and dispensed from the Executive Mansion in far-away Monrovia, without reasonable consultation with and input by the overwhelming majority of the Nation’s population. 

onference 2024 About eighteen (18) years ago, the Liberian Government of President Charles Taylor convened and sponsored the National Conference vision 2024 on the-then present, future goals and direction of Liberia, held at the Unity Conference Center, Virginia, Liberia, on July 19, 1998. The Conference brought together officials of government, professional technocrats, political Leaders and scholars to reflect upon, analyze Liberia’s turbulent past and recent socio-economic and political history as the frame of reference to prescribe and recommend reforms for social, economic and political transformation, necessary for the well-being and progress of the nation and its people.

A Paper, based on socio-cultural, ethnic/tribal, rural-life, with Traditional Society background, years of civil service and painful experience/information of recent nightmare of the civil war tragedy, was submitted to the Conference. This Paper re-visited and re-introduced the ideas of political, economic and administrative decentralization, entitled “Decentralization of Political Power: A Framework for Regional Empowerment& Participation in National Decision-making”, was submitted to the Conference as a viable, socio-economic and political alternative for the future of our nation. It identified, proposed and outlined institutional reforms – re-structure and re-organization of our government and its functions and amalgamation/re-division,with demarcation of the political sub-divisions, designed to introduce and implement fundamental, comprehensive, socio-economic and political transformation, necessary to ensure modern, democratic practice and local governance, in the effort to facilitate, among many others, national reconciliation, healing, peace, unity and national security, after the brutal, civil war.

The President’s Pledge & Governance Commission On January 6, 2006, in her first Inaugural Speech delivered to the nation, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, as President of Liberia, demonstrated foresight, vision, profound courage with encouragement for the future of our country, when she declared “. . . I pledge to bring the government closer to the people. The days of the imperial presidency . . . are over in Liberia . . . The Executive Mansion and ‘Monrovia’ will, no longer, be the only center of power . . . The people and their interests, as defined by them, will be at the very heart of our new dispensation of decentralization and the devolution of power” (Vol. 1 No. 1, Governance Commission Decentralization Bulletin, March 31, 2011).

Indeed, these pledges are, in fact, two of the major themes of the Paper on Decentralization. It is, also, a pleasing encouragement to note that the President followed that pledge with the formation and establishment of the national Governance Commission in 2011, a government “Think Tank”, so to speak, on “Decentralization for Public Sector Reform”. For, this action affirms decentralization as a compelling, social, economic and political need in our country at this point in time. Accordingly, the Preamble to the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance provides that:

a) “. . .Since 1847 and throughout the history of Liberia, governance and public administration have remained highly centralized in Monrovia and controlled mainly by institutions and structures of the central state which have not allowed adequate legal opportunities for the establishment of a system of participatory local governance”. 

b) “. . . The highly centralized system of governance has impeded popular participation and local initiative, especially in the provision of public goods and services, and has contributed to the need for greater accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs and led to the gap in economic growth and development, equal access to social and economic opportunities and human well-being between Monrovia and the rest of Liberia”. 

c) “. . . These conditions have slowed down Liberia’s overall economic growth and development and democratization process, leading to underinvestment in human resources and human wellbeing throughout the Republic.”

d) “. . . The Government of Liberia (therefore) realizes the need to ensure (and ensures, hereby) greater participation of the Liberian people in their own development process and for equitable distribution of the nation’s resources so as to ensure a more wholesome process of development and democratic governance”.

But, following the foregoing, four-point (a to d) analysis which identifies, pointedly, the Unitary Structure of government as the all-powerful, all-inclusive, major public policy since 1847 and throughout Liberian history, governed the nation; that public administration remained highly, rigidly centralized political, economic and administrative power duly dispensed from Monrovia; that did not allow/permit opportunities for establishment of participation and local governance; prevented, and prevents, today, accountability and transparency in government; openly contributed, and continues to contribute public dishonesty, thievery, poverty, hunger, disease, hopelessness, dual citizenship and stealing of public resources and escaping to foreign countries; and that the Unitary Structure is the major source of lack/absence of patriotism, loyalty and allegiance to the Republic and the people, and permits/allows dual citizens to hold sensitive, national security positions, including the National Legislature in flagrant violation of Article 30 of the Constitution. 

Despite the foregoing, the Governance Commission, the powerful public policy theorist/advisor, decided to retain and hold on to Unitary structure against its own analysis and says that: “Liberia shall remain a Unitary State with a system of local government and administration which shall be decentralized with the county as the principal focus of the devolution of power and authority”(Section 1.0, page 2, National Policy on Decentralization & Local Governance, January 2011). This conclusion is, in fact, a profound contradiction.

Just a Few Days Ago We wrote, elsewhere, and reminded reading Liberians that all declared candidates for president of Liberia are so busy posturing for “chopping money”, apparently unconcerned about the future and survival of the nation (including their children, grands, great grands) but planning for the “2017 Jomboree Destination”. Most of these “politicians” are foreign citizens with Liberian passports and concealed foreign passports. Importantly, some ministers of state, state-owned enterprise executives placed in lucrative positions are, now, planning and stealing to jump ship before 2018, while protected under the mighty Unitary Structure, with state-owned enterprises as enclaves for dual citizens.

In fact, the issues and problem of dual citizenship and dishonesty (corruption) have become so embarrassing, disgraceful and wide-spread in the corridors of state power that competing, political candidates for public, elective offices, mostly dual citizens, do not challenge opponents, let alone bring up the issue of dual citizenship, although it is patently illegal. It is interesting, as well as deeply troubling, to note that the need to strengthen the laws against dual citizenship is not included in the Constitution Review Commission’s recommended referendum, apparently, because the CRC membership is dominated by dual citizens.

Proponents of dual citizenship argue that amendments/repeals of laws are a basic, compelling responsibility/requirement that goes, inevitably, hand-in-hand with law-making. We agree and admit. However, amendments/repeals are based on the reasonable argument that laws are made to be, are amended/repealed in the event that the basic reason(s) – acts of commission/omission for which a given law is or laws were made – is or are not, any longer, valid or do not obtain. But that is not the case here. For, the basic reasons for which the Alien &Nationality Law and Article 28 of the Constitution came into being against dual citizenship – lies, deceit, thievery, disloyalty, etc. – are as valid and obtain today as they were when the laws were passed.

The courts – judges, lawyers, jurors and staff – are having a field day with dishonesty, corruption of jury-tempering during trials of high-profiled, alleged thieves, while the lawyers of the Ministry of Justice, Police, NSA and others have their share of dishonesty charges, not to mention the National Elections Commission and the traditional lucrative agencies known for thievery – the now Liberia Revenue Agency (LRA) and theSuper Ministry of Finance & Development Planning MFDP (just what do these guys, over-paid, over-staffed and dual citizens, plan?)

The Declared Candidate for President Finally, regarding the relevance of the major public policy of the Unitary Structure, here is the critical, revealing argument. In a recent article, we held that “All declared candidates for President of Liberia premised policy and operation of their governments, if elected, on the 169-year old assumptions of the Unitary Structure of government. That is, that they will ‘stay the course’, locked in the ‘System’ and continue the century-old, failed policy, with obligations to some hustlers, con men & women, rebel honorables, dual citizens &Corruption, Inc., thieves, killers and bandits, now in some government offices and parading the Liberian nation and the international community as ‘honorables’”.

Finally, dual citizenship, dishonesty and corruption are sub-sets of the prevailing Unitary Structure of the Liberian Government, the major, all governing, inclusive public policy utilized during the 169-year history of the Liberian Nation, with disastrous results of the “failed State”.

“Is it not reasonable, therefore, that any trained, experienced and reasonable political leader-politician would seek change, reforms and transformation of theUnitary Structure, in the light of doing the same thing for more than a century with disastrous results, we asked? We think so!!

 

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