8 November 2012

Liberia: We Call for Calm in Govt

Photo: James M. Garresen, II/Executive Mansion
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on an oil rig.


For A Month, the country has been faced with series of rivalries between officials of the Executive and Legislative Branches of government. The contention has been dragging for some time now, and it appears that the bickering between the two branches of government has become personal, with officials frequently engaged in a visible display of verbal attacks against one another.

The Political Clamor started when President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was in the United States of America last September to attend the United Nations General Assembly. At one of her town hall meetings, she told a US Congressional Committee that the Legislature was increasing their budget without her consent...that "they took it, I did not give it to them" was a comment alleged to have been made by the President which prompted the current uproar.

Following The President's statement in the United States, House Speaker J. Alex Tyler held a press conference requesting President Johnson-Sirleaf to retract her statement, a retraction that is yet to be made. In the wake of that, reports filtered from the corridor of the Legislature that a plot to remove House Speaker J. Alex Tyler has been foiled. Accusing fingers were pointed at the Executive branch, but Presidential Press Secretary Jerelimick Piah rebuffed the allegation and said that the Executive Mansion has no interest in removing House Speaker Tyler.

At the same time, confusion emerged between Speaker Tyler and Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson following allegation by Mr. Johnson the Speaker is "mobilizing political forces" to remove President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf from office. However, the Speaker's office denied the allegation and said Mr. Tyler has never, and will never contemplate on such a devilish and wishful thinking of Mr. Johnson.

Additionally, About A week ago, Montserrado County Representative Edwin Snowe also held a news conference where he made barrage of allegations against the Board Chairman of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), Robert Sirleaf, on the acquisition of oil blocks, dual citizenship, among other issues.

Mr. Robert Sirleaf, son of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, provided his side of the argument at his press conference held on Tuesday. The bickering between the Legislative and Executive branches of government is disturbing and totally harmful to the sustenance of peace and stability, not only in our country, but also in the subregion.

We View These accusations and counter-accusations between and amongst government officials as totally redundant and a bad signal for the country's reconciliation and development programs.

By Entertaining Confrontation among themselves suggests that this government is certainly losing focus and its vision for the nation and people has been directed towards eccentric agenda, rather than doing what the people expect them to do. Honestly, government officials were not elected or appointed to fuss over issue such as oil blocks or whose interest should be prioritized.

The Liberian People expect more of this government, however, they feel disappointed when policymakers and those in the Executive Branch of government are pursuing personal agenda rather than putting the country's interest first. Lawmakers were elected by the people to formulate policies, laws and fast track the process of reconciliation, healing and job provision.

The Government Needs to be forceful in addressing key priorities - some of which are deteriorating - that are strategic to the development and economic success of the country. The confusion in government is stalling progress and undermines the support of our international partners who are prepared to see Liberia become a success story. Having unnecessary confusion will take this country nowhere but only tell the world and ordinary Liberians that the election of this government was a wrong decision. Those who enjoy the public trust must be prepared to work and desist from engaging in ventures that will retard progress.

We Believe That calm between the Executive and Legislative Branches of government is paramount for Liberia's development program to move forward. Therefore, it is the expectation of the Liberian people that a truce will be observed between the Legislative and Executive Branches of government, and that those cleavages that sparked the contention would be dissolved in order to unite for our common patrimony, Liberia.

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