The Governance Commission, its Mandate and Function

The general mandate or purpose of the commission shall be to:
• Promote good governance by advising, designing and formulating appropriate policies and institutional arrangements and frameworks required for achieving good governance, and
• Promoting integrity at all levels of society and within every public and private institution.
Duties and Functions
The Governance Commission was a creation of the 2003 Accra Peace Accord to attend to Liberia’s numerous problems occasioned by the 14 year civil war. As we all know, the years of civil war left behind a complete breakdown of democratic governance in Liberia. Rebel factions took over government functionaries, appointed senior government officials and on many occasions brought in their own “civil servants”. There are even political parties today that are offshoot s of rebel factions.  There was a complete breakdown of real democratic governance in Liberia.  We had rebel governments that were really not answerable to the Liberian people.

Therefore the Accra Peace Conference in 2003 agreed that a Governance Reform Commission be established to formulate policy recommendations and implementation strategies to ensure that government functions in ways that are accountable, transparent, participatory and responsive to the interest of the Liberian people in the provision of public goods and services.

The Governance Reform Commission was renamed Governance Commission by a National Legislative Act on October 9, 2007.  The Act mandated the Commission to design policies and recommend implementation strategies necessary to establish an inclusive, participatory, just, and accountable system of government: a system based on meritocracy that promotes and adheres to the rule of law, manages the people resources effectively and is capable of delivering basic services in a transparent manner. It includes the adaptation and adoption of internationally accepted best practices  in corporate governance the honorable discharge of public duties without any expectations of personal reward over and beyond that to which a public servant is lawfully entitled,  and the meaningful involvement of every citizen, irrespective of backgrounds in the formulation, implementation and or monitoring of national policies.

The Governance Commission, GC, therefore established five mandate areas to address the issue of governance which was seen as a real development challenge and poor governance had occasioned poverty, conflicts, corruption, and underdevelopment which led to instability….a circle of violence. Good governance prevents government breakdown which, if not avoided results in violent conflicts.

Much of the policy work of GC has been focused on the formulation of policies recommendations and implementation strategies in the areas of decentralization, public sector rationalization and reorganization, for the establishment of a national system of public integrity and for more efficacious involvement of ordinary Liberians through civil society and community based organizations to become partners with government in the production and ownership of public goods and services.

Important gains have been made in the promulgation of a national policy on decentralization and the crafting of a draft decentralization Act, the passage of the national Code of Conduct, the establishment of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, The Ministry of gender, Children Services and Social Welfare, and the Liberia Revenue Authority, and In previous years, the establishment of the Land Commission, and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. Some of these institutions and policies were established several years ago and have been functioning well.

The statute establishing the GC cedes to it the responsibility to monitor and evaluate the performance of governance institutions, examine the overall architecture of governance and the nature of the performance of the institutions which constitute the infrastructure of governance. While important steps have been taken in developing policy recommendation, implementation strategy and the establishment of institutions, the GC’s work in the monitoring and evaluation unit is gaining pace. One of the major responsibilities of the monitoring and evaluation unit of the GC is to lead efforts to produce the annual government performance report as required by Statute.

Our first initiative in producing an annual government performance report is called: GC Annual Government report 2013, Delivering Education and Health Services to the people” and as the first, we opted to cast our sight on two important service delivery institutions of government rather than the entire range of government ministries and agencies that are engaged in the delivery of public goods and services. Our assessment of the performance of the ministry of education and the ministry of health in the delivery of services of their mandate is essentially a pilot undertaking with the full support and involvement with these ministries, and is undertaken both to assist the Governance Commission improve its capacity and approach to undertaking performance evaluation. There is a mutuality of interest and we hope a mutuality of benefits to be derived.

The GC is an autonomous public entity Chaired by Dr. Amos Sawyer, and is structured around 5 mandate areas;

A) Political and Legal Reforms headed by Commissioner Yarsuo Weh Dorliae;

B) Public Sector Reform headed by Dr.  Dominic Tarpeh;

C) Civic Engagement and National Visioning headed by Commissioner Elizabeth Selli-Mulbah;

D) National Integrity Systems headed by Commissioner Ruth Jappa;

E) Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Publication headed by Commissioner Dr. Othello Gongar.
Consistent with and in furtherance of its general mandate to promote good governance, and advice, design, and formulate appropriate recommended policies and institutional arrangements and frameworks to the Liberian government for the attainment of good governance, the GC exercises the following duties and functions:

1. Promote awareness, acceptance and observance of good governance within both the public and private sectors through the conceptualization and design of policies and programs, in consultation and or collaboration  with other public and private institutions;

2. Identify and promote  understanding and  consensus on policies and programs aimed at strengthening democratic processes, interactions, and institutions, that promote an inclusive, participatory and just system of governance and decentralization of development;

3. Forster a sense on common national identity, shared national vision, and one democratic nation-hood by  identifying and advising on resolution of the social, cultural, economic and political factors that have hindered genuine national unity and precipitated  years of violence and wars;

4. Promote reforms, efficiency, and transparency in the Liberian public sector by recommending the rationalization of institutional mandates and structures; Coordination, capacity building initiatives, and the development of an appropriately designed  merit-based system;

5. Promote integrity in the public sector, drafts, advocates for, and advices  on the adoption, use and/or the amendment of codes of conduct; and carry out national public integrity surveys at such intervals as it may determine, provided that at least one public integrity survey is conducted every year;

6. Promote the awareness of the need for equality of opportunities as established by the Liberian constitution;

7. Develop policies and programs to promote civic education within the context of good governance including, but not limited  to the development of a policy framework to promote civic education and the nurturing of citizens, advocacy with NGOs, FBOs, and CSOs working on civic education, the coordination of capacity building initiatives to promote education so as to make the citizenry aware of their rights, responsibilities, and obligations as citizens; and the monitoring and evaluation of civic education interventions

8. Collaborate, cooperate, or coordinate with other agencies of government in designing programs to promote good governance and combat corruption,

9. Monitor and evaluate the contribution of good governance programs through research and publication including, but not limited to, the preparation of periodic reports and an annual governance report.