11 December 2012

Liberia: Opposition Political Parties' Heads Absent From Vision 2030 Confab in Bong County

Photo: Liberia Governmnet
Cross section of delegates at the conference.

Despite a close consultative meeting between President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and leaders of political parties ahead of the Vision 2030 National conference in Gbarnga, Bong County, all the heads of the opposition political parties were absent from the official opening of the of the Vision 2030 conference.

According to our reporter, who is attending the conference, there were, however, only few political parties that were represented by their members and not their leaders. Our reporter named the opposition Congress for Democratic (CDC) party as one of the opposition parties whose head was absent from the official opening of the of the Vision 2030 conference.

The CDC is the leading opposition political party in the country. The National Vision 2030, according to the draft document, is a non-partisan process by which Liberians will build a consensus on the future of the country or the formulation of a shared vision through a participatory process - setting the agenda to address the social, political and economic challenges that confront and may confront Liberia over the next 18 years and perhaps beyond and a development framework consistent with the long term vision.

"The formulation of a national vision is a broad participatory process. Vision 2030 will be for the people, by the people and of the people; setting and defining the parameters of - political, economic and social development - for building a reconciled and unified nation. A nation envisioned where citizens share a strong sense of national identity and community, commitment to ethical governance, and government partnership in pursuit of national development goals. The visioning exercise belongs to the Liberian people and as such, the people of Liberia will set the agenda," said the document.

As was also observed by our reporter, there was no set role for opposition heads in the entire program, but the planning committee said they (political party leaders) were invited. Up to press time, our reporter could not establish the reason why the heads of the opposition political parties stayed away from the much publicized program.

It can be recalled that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf last Monday held a meeting with political party leaders.

At the well-attended meeting, the Liberian leader welcomed the political party leaders, and used the occasion to introduce the National Vision 2030, an undertaking that began in 2010 and has now reached the stage where it is to be discussed at a National Conference.

"We've tried to put together where our country is today, and where we want it to be tomorrow," President Sirleaf said, adding that the whole exercise came out of a robust consultative process.

President Johnson-Sirleaf also informed the political party leaders that the National Vision 2030 is derived from a series of regional, district and Diaspora consultations, in addition to some technical underpinnings, to ensure that what is said is not about aspirations and expectations, but is grounded in professional studies from four different but interrelated perspectives, including the country's demography, economy, social structures and governance. "After these consultations, you are the first group that we are coming to discuss it with. The idea is to present this to the public shortly," the Liberian leader said.

The National Vision 2030 conference was not only "boycotted" by political heads alone, but several lawmakers as well.

Of the 103 members of the Legislature, only 11 were in attendance, our reporter said. Those in attendance from the House of Representative included: Representatives Josephine Francis George, George Mulbah, Adam Bill Corneh, Prince Moye, Corpu Barclay and Tokpa Mulbah.

Senators, who attended the conference are: Senators Gbazohngar Milton Findley, Sando Johnson, Edward Dagoseh and Isaac Nyenabo. The two Senators from host county Bong in persons of Jewel Howard-Taylor and Henry Willie Yalla were also absent from conference.

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