Liberia: Senator Teajay Warns WASH Commission of Partisan Appointments
Monrovia – A member of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Legislative Caucus is warning the Liberian National Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Commission (LNWASH) to not turn itself into a political employment agency.
Report by Mustapha Emile Kommeh, Contributor
Senator J. Milton Teajay said key actors and partners of the WASH Sector will back off if the WASH Commission begins to incorporate people on the basis of partisanship and not competence because it will undermine the purpose of the entity.
Senator Teajay’ statement came out of a Legislative WASH Caucus Secretariat meeting, held in the conference room of the Senate on Capitol Hill Tuesday. It brought together members of the Legislative WASH Caucus; the Liberia National Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Commission; members of WASH Civil Society Organizations; Water Aid; Oxfam Liberia, among others.
The intent of the meeting was to bring together the National WASH Commission, Partners and some members of the Legislature in discovering ways to narrow WASH activities to the constituted WASH Commission.
The Sinoe County Lawmaker did not voice out what prompted the warning, but said the Commission is a professional technical commission. “It should take people on the basis of necessary expertise and backgrounds to enhance the workings of that body. I am afraid, if it starts to hire people on the basis of political favor, it will lose the technical character of the commission and start going political”.
Sen. Teajay wants people hired who will contribute to the growth of the commission and expand the integrity of the entity.
The Senator’s statement was greeted with overwhelming buttresses from across the table.
Chuchu Selma, Country Director of Water Aid, a key partner to the Liberia WASH Sector, said partners rely on the LNWASH Commission to be the Technical arm which provides professional leadership and services in the WASH Sector.
“Once that changes and the Commission turns it into a political organization the purpose will not be served. That’s what we’re afraid of and hope the leadership of the commission takes that very seriously,” Selma said.
Liberia National Water Sanitation & Hygiene Commission Executive Director Salia Kamara took due notes of the warnings from the WASH Legislative Caucus and partners.
Mr. Kamara thanked the government of Liberia for setting up the WASH Commission for the first time in the country’s history.
He indicated that there are issues with LNWASH Commission missing out on coordination from other government entities carrying on WASH activities.
Kamara wants the WASH Legislative Caucus, through legal means, work to empower the commission in regards to its mandates. “We were established to regulate, coordinate and govern the WASH Sector because for too long the sector had been fragmented with several government entities such as Ministries of Public Works, Education, Environmental Protection Agency ect., carrying on WASH activities.
During the meeting, among several things the WASH Sector actors have agreed to empower the WASH Legislative Secretariat to begin to research ways to narrow WASH Sector regulatory and governance to the LNWASH Commission.
It will mean that the Legislative WASH Secretariat which comprises of staffers of legislators making up the WASH Legislative Caucus, will research to amend laws which gave rights to other government entities to carry on WASH functions.