13 November 2012

Liberia: Diaspora Group Formed in U.S.

After nine months of critical reflection and intense debate on the fate of democratic consolidation in Liberia, a group of Liberians in Liberia and the Diaspora has come together under the umbrella of the Liberia Institute for Public Integrity (LIPI).

LIPI is a non-partisan public policy think tank and advocacy group on Liberian issues. The group comprises several Liberians of diverse professional backgrounds.

According to a release, LIPI recognizes that there is a void in the political, economic and social discussions in Liberia, and there is a completely lack of alternative policy position in our public discourse.

Therefore, according to a release, LIPI seeks to fill that void by providing cogent and timely alternative policy positions based on sound research, empirical evidence, and cost-benefit analysis.

LIPI also recognizes that since 1847, each administration has managed to build some infrastructure, including health facilities and educational institutions. But it is irrefutable evidence that all administrations, including the current administration, have failed to tackle the key issues considered most responsible for the 14-year civil war and the continuing impoverishment of Liberians, in the midst of abundant resources.

According to the group, these issues are grand corruption, nepotism, impunity, waste and abuse of the Civil Service, among others.

The new civil society organization said Liberia's major challenge has been the lack of genuine and authentic leadership to promote good governance.

The group said U.S. President Barrack Obama was correct in asserting that election is just one aspect of democracy; governance after elections is as important.

The group believes that the eight issues have undermined good governance practice in Liberia since 1847 to date.

LIPI is dedicated to contributing original scholarly research in these eight areas and provide innovative ways to address these long standing issues.

The group indicated that these issues weaken private enterprise, stifle human development, undercut social service delivery, undermine the rule of law, and dwindle economic development and capital formation.

Without action-oriented efforts to address these issues, it is inconceivable to see how Liberia will lift itself from the bottom of the Human Development Index, and from the lowest ranking of the poorest countries in the world.

Further, LIPI said Liberia will not become a middle-income country by 2030 or be free from foreign aid unless these eight issues are resolved.

The organizing and coordinating members of LIPI include J. Aloysius Toe, former Director, Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FOHRD), Dan Saryee, former Director, Liberia Democratic Institute (LDI), Cllr. Jerome Verdier, Chairman, former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), John S. Morlu, II, former Auditor General, Republic of Liberia and Massa Washinton, Commissioner, former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Others include Ernest Maximore, Liberian Journalist, Charles K. Sunwabe, Sie Patrick Tuon, Julius Suku and J. Kerkula Foeday, former Student Leader, University of Liberia.

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