OP-ED: The Core Of Corruption – Unlawful Presidential Appointments

The Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evils.” But Mark Twain said, “The lack of money is the root of all evils.” And at the root and core of all corrupt systems of governance across Africa exists sweeping unlawful presidential appointments.

The flawed Liberian constitution grants enormous presidential appointment powers. However, excluded are mayors, paramount, clan and town chiefs, who are to be elected by voters. The icon of the presidency, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, drowned in a sea of unlawful appointments and excessive salaries and benefits.

Without an amendment of the constitution or court action, all appointments of mayors and town chiefs are unlawful. That is why, in addition to our new president, Liberia also needs a new constitution and new system of governance. The Liberian people are still Hoping for Change!

We are glad Liberia has a new president who is committed to change and who is now appointing new faces in government. Now that we have a new president, Liberia urgently needs a new system of governance and complete dismantling of the 170-year-old corrupt, deadly, and broken system that was designed to trap citizens in poverty and turn politicians into millionaires. It’s time for a national conference for citizens to plot the course for the future by designing a new system of governance, launching national reconciliation, and drafting a new constitution.

We are deeply disappointed that President George Weah is following former President Sirleaf’s missteps in the unconstitutional appointment of mayors and other elective positions. This action must be discouraged and challenged in court. If high schools and colleges across Liberia are successfully electing their officers, there are no justifications for a president elected by the people to take on sweeping undemocratic actions such as the appointment of mayors and chiefs across the country. If there is money to fund the excessive salaries and benefits of lawmakers, surely there ought to be money for election of mayors.

The sinking of Sirleaf’s legacy in the sea of corruption began with the unjustifiable missteps of her appointment of elective officers, which eventually doomed her presidency. Imagine Trump appointing all mayors across America. Impossible!

But if President Weah does nothing in six years, a single act can set him apart from all African presidents past and present; a sovereign national conference where Liberian citizens would, for the first time ever, design a new system of governance, would be Weah’s best gift not only to Liberia but also the catalyst and turning point for the great continent of Africa from poverty to unlimited opportunities.

Africa’s problem is not a lack of patriotic leaders, talent or natural resources; what is driving countless Africans to drown in the sea, go into slavery in Libya, and fight endless wars, is simply the absence of systems of governance that guarantee security and equal opportunities.

When Africans seeking greener pastures run away from governments in Nigeria, Kenya, Guinea and Liberia, they do so because the systems of governance in African nations were designed to empower and enrich politicians and trap citizens in poverty. Therefore, citizens must demand a dismantling of the corrupt system as the first step of change.

Featured photo by Lloyd Massah

Torli Krua

A pastor and human rights activist, Torli was instrumental in lobbying with US congressmen and policymakers to increase the quota of refugees from Africa being allowed into the US. He has also worked tirelessly in the New England region and beyond to champion the rights of refugees and immigrants. His organization, Universal Human Rights International, worked with thousands of immigrants from 38 different countries over the span of 20 years. He has been honored by the National Peace Corps Association and the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

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