Just six short years ago, the world knew Liberia variously as "Taylor Inc", "pariah state", "failed state", and even Africa's "problem child". The nation earned these labels because for more than a decade, its misguided sons and daughters waged systematic campaign of death and destruction upon its territory and people. Though still a "fragile state" today, there is consensus within the international community and amongst Liberians, that Liberia is a respectable member of the comity of nations, having waved "goodbye" to violence and decadence. The question that comes naturally to analysts, then, is, "How did the turn for the better come about within so short a time?" For some critics of government, it is the tenacity of the Liberian people minus the input of the government. For many, however, it is the resolve of the people guided by the commitment of the government for recovery and development. Amongst these rave reviewers of the government is Rufus D. Neufville. The Analyst presents his view on what he called the "restoration of hope".
"We must honor our president for promoting free speech in a country whose history is replete with killings and imprisonments. Her administration has permitted the widest degree of latitude for individual expression since the founding of Liberia in 1822.
"I can say here with scientific precision that the international acceptability and credibility of the Liberian leader is the major reason for these consistent foreign commitments.
"She took our homeland from the ashes of economic retrogression and socio- political decadence to a land of peace and flourishing democratic values."
These were the core perspectives of Mr. Rufus Neufville's rave review of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's 7-plus-year administration tiled, "Restoration of Hope: a synopsis of the gains of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf", which he released to this paper over the weekend.
The former Montserrado County lawmaker, who calls himself "political essayist", recalled that prior to the administration of President Sirleaf, Liberia staggered under a 3.7 billion foreign debt while its GDP plummeted from US $1269 in 1980 to US $163 in 2005.
Reportedly relying on the statistics of the United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO) West African Team, Neufville said during the same time, Liberia had no functioning public utilities and that the vast majority had no access to electricity, water and basic sanitation facilities, or healthcare.
Besides, access roads and bridges were in need of dire repair therefore stifling travel, job creation, and social services delivery.
Worst, he recalled further, health and educational institutions were dilapidated "with a dearth of qualified teachers and available resources to rehabilitate school buildings".
"Liberia has no effective functioning judicial system; outside of the capital Monrovia, most courts have been destroyed and trial-by-ordeal is not unheard of. During the civil war, the country's human resources suffered from 'brain drain' and crisis related death…At the end of the crisis there were 314,000 registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country," he recalled.
Today, Mr. Neufville seems convinced, "the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has made tremendous progress on all fronts to rebuild our war- ravaged country and restore its image amongst the comity of nations".
Regrettably, according to him, a few vocal political critics of the administration do not only see nothing good to the administration's credit, they also believe it is just another "failed regime".
"This belief was bordered on the psychology of a population suffering from the delirium tremens or aftereffects of the misrule of successive administrative flunkies. Others based their pessimism on the bad image of the country at that time and the 'apparent impracticability' of fast recovery process," he contends in the "Restoration of Hope: a synopsis of the gains of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf".
He was quick to note that while the criticism were gaining on the administration, there should be no doubt amongst sincere Liberians that the criticisms are not only based on "erroneous evaluation of the unwavering determination of the first female president on the continent of Africa", but also that lack truth and patriotic drives.
Mr. Neufville did not say in what way Liberians should honor President Sirleaf for performing the state duties for which she took oaths of office in 2005 and again in 2012 upon her reelection, but some observers say the how should in no wise negate the need.