16 November 2012

Liberia: Pres. Sirleaf-Legislature Tête-à-tête Commendable


It has been reported by the media that President Sirleaf on Wednesday met with members of the Liberian Senate, and perhaps House of Representatives, at the Capitol Building. Though the meeting was held behind closed doors, many pundits conjecture that discussions between leaders of the two Branches of Government centered on standoff between them over fiscal issues. The last four or more weeks witnessed an uproar between President Sirleaf and lawmakers on both wings of the Legislature; an uproar triggered by statements attributed to the President criticizing the lawmakers for downplaying the deep-rooted interests and aspirations of ordinary Liberians for their personal interests.

When the media reported that President Sirleaf, while speaking to a USA-based audience during her visit to that country last month, badmouthed lawmakers for relegating the interest of Liberians to their own interests. The President's statement was made when Government came under stern criticism from the public for failing to increase the salaries of civil servants. The statement infuriated the lawmakers to also lambast the President. Besides the row between the Senate and the President, the Lower House has also had strained relations with the Executive Mansion over alleged attempts by the President to instigate the removal of Speaker Alex Tyler.

Apparently uncomfortable with the strained relations with the First Branch of Government, President Sirleaf paid an unannounced visit at the Capitol to calm the rift. Unfortunately, the meeting was not open to the media but there reports that President Sirleaf and the Senate ironed out their differences and pledged mutual commitment to work together.

We commend the President for taking up her time to visit the Capitol and pursue harmonious relations with the Legislature. And we also hail the lawmakers for hosting the meeting. Both Branches of Government, by this meeting, have proven there is strength in diversity and that ultimate national harmony is the pillar of sustainable peace and development. It is a demonstration of maturity and leadership; it is in pursuit of unity and national healing.

It is however our hope that politics was out of the dialogue; and that whatever the participants must have said and promised to do would go a long way in pursuing the national agenda first and fast.

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