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A broken system

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh     broken government in Liberia


Somewhere in Monrovia, President Sirleaf is probably thinking about her next move.

Madam Sirleaf perhaps could be planning another foreign trip since she is known to constantly fly out of the country at a moment’s notice.

Madam Sirleaf could be thinking about distributing ‘development’ funds to her political cronies in the name of developing their part of Liberia. She could be thinking about appointing another family member or crony to an influential and lucrative government post.

That’s not all.

Sirleaf could be signing contracts with foreign companies to exploit the nation’s natural resources, without making the foreign companies build the processing plants, decent roads, clinics and schools in the part of Liberia the companies are excavating and exploiting.

Minimum wage in Liberia is now $6.40 a day. In a factory and mine? Slave wages! This is disgraceful and disgusting!

Sirleaf could also be thinking about appointing members of the elections commission, or she could be thinking about issuing presidential pardons for failing test takers at the University of Liberia.

These are few of the many roles Liberian presidents, including Ellen Johnson often shoulders, which is common in a country that allows its presidents to have absolute and dominant political power to be relevant.

As always the case in politics, such absolute presidential powers often leads to presidential overreach.

Because in most cases in Liberia, those decisions are made unilaterally and with naked arrogance by a sitting president who by now is smitten by the bug of power, authority, influence and money, which tends to corrupt the president.

Presidents can travel to foreign countries occasionally (when it is necessary) to attend to the nation’s affairs, but are not supposed to travel endlessly when there is a foreign minister, commerce minister, trade representative, ambassadors, et cetera, the way Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has traveled to foreign countries nearly every month since she became president. Again, where is legislative oversight and accountability?

Doling out development funds to county officials is not part of the president’s job description. Abolish that criminal practice now, since the practice is plagued by corruption, mismanagement, thievery and lack of work.

It is better to elect independent board members to work with development experts, contractors, and county officials to make the practice efficient, manageable and realistic.

The same is true with the National Elections Commission. Why should a sitting president appoint members of an Elections Commission to oversee elections that the incumbent and her party officials contests? Where is fairness?  Where is neutrality and independence?

Madam Sirleaf was an incumbent during the last elections that her appointed elections commission members coordinated and supposedly refereed. Talk about conflict of interests? This is another example.

Madam Sirleaf has redefined ‘nepotism’ to conveniently fit her selfish political and family agenda.

Instead of working with those spineless legislators in Monrovia to make laws that discourages elected officials, and especially a sitting president from hiring family members, this president has shamelessly endorsed the practice.

Her son, Robert Sirleaf recently resigned from NOCAL, the national oil company,  after worldwide criticism and condemnation from Diaspora activist groups and their international sympathizers. Son Charles Sirleaf is deputy head at the Central Bank, while Fumba Sirleaf heads the National Security Agency. Other Sirleaf clan members are scattered in other parts of the Liberian government.

Madam Sirleaf also influences and controls the judiciary. The president is the jury, the prosecutor and the judge in most cases. As a result, there is no fairness and independence in the judicial system.

There is no price control in the country, customer service is too damn poor in the country, and the price of rice, the nation’s staple, is now $75.00, from $50, in a country whose ‘legal tender’ notes supposed to be the worthless “Liberty.”

So if you are unemployed, how are you supposed to get US dollars to buy rice and other products in Liberia? Why have the ‘Liberty’ currency in the first place when business throughout the country is conducted in US dollars?

Where’s the ‘change’ she promised the Liberian people?

Instead of improving and funding the healthcare system in the country, Madam ‘frequent flyer’ Sirleaf and some government officials often travels to the U.S for medical care and their annual physicals.

When a president does not have confidence in his or her own hospitals and clinics, do you think others will have confidence in the healthcare system in that country? Of course, only the poor and politically powerless with no means to travel out of the country are the ones who are compelled to seek medical care there.

When these grievous offenses occur, the people obviously will dissent, as we have seen in Liberia and in the United States over and over and through out the years.

Madam Sirleaf obviously duped the Liberian people to be elected president. Other politicians and former warlords around her followed her lead. As a team, they continued to destroy Liberia.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is not a change agent. Where’s leadership and vision? What became of the TRC final report? Former warlords are now Senators and Representatives. Legislative tenure for these bozos are 7 and 9 years respectively for Senators and Representatives. Why?

Where is accountability and legislative oversight? The people are suffering. Garbage is littered throughout the country. Unemployment is sky high.

Education and healthcare are in shambles or too high to afford. There is no sensible transportation plan in all of Liberia. There is no emergency evacuation plan in all of Liberia. There is no erosion control for the beaches. The sea is destroying beaches and homes in coastal Liberia.

It is time for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to resign, be impeached or overthrown.


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