23 November 2012

Liberia: President On Progressive Agenda - Internal Affairs Minister

Amidst charges of nepotism and allegations of threading the path of past leaders, Internal Affairs Minister Blamo Nelson says President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is "implementing the progressive agenda.

"The Progressives are a political grouping who advocated for change, social-justice and a halt to nepotisms, cronyisms, among other social vices which many are today accusing the President of repeating.

"President Sirleaf is a progressive," Minister Nelson whose wife is the acting chairman of the National Elections Commission or NEC told journalists here Thursday when he spoke at the Ministry of Information's regular press briefing, highlighting the government's decentralization policy.

"We all know what happens in the past," Nelson said, adding, "If it were in the past the CDC (opposition Congress for Democratic Change) would not have existed by now."

He said Liberians should be glad that President Sirleaf is very tolerant and has enlisted in her administration key opposition figures that would not have formed part of any government in the past.

He made joke about Sinoe County Superintendent Milton Teajah, who was a vocal critic of President Sirleaf to a point where he said after the elections in 2005 that if Mrs. Sirleaf became president "hair should grow in my palm," as one of those who has been brought on board to work.

"When Teajah came before the Senate, we asked, this government (which you have branded)....He said I am in Government now." Nelson quoted Teajah as responding to that body.

He cited instances of several individuals, who were hard core critics of the President, but are now part of her government.

His statement won laughter and giggles from journalists at the briefing, apparently because the Nelson's host, Minister Lewis Brown is one of those who was a vocal critic of the President with famous statements like: "No president has ever desecrated the presidency than this president."

Mr. Brown was recruited and appointed Information Minister in February this year after he lost the Montserrado Senatorial race to Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, formerly of the CDC.

Meanwhile, Nelson highlighted some of the gains being made through the decentralization process as allotment of county development fund, with the empowerment of local leaders to choose their own development projects, among others as examples.

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