12 December 2012

Liberia: Absenteeism Is Bad Omen for Vision 2030

Despite sustained encouragement by the government for citizens of all walks of life to take ownership of Vision 2030, it remains difficult to surmise reasons for the mass absenteeism of lawmakers when the conference launching vision 2030 opened Monday in Gbarnga.

It was reported that 92 out of the 103 members of the bicameral legislature were conspicuously absent, while four senators including President Pro Temp Gbezohngar Findley and seven members of the lower house were present at the program which attracted Acting Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, other top government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and citizens of all walks of life.

The absence of Speaker Alex Tyler as well as Bong County Senators Jewel Howard-Taylor and Henry Yallah was conspicuous, though a member of Vision 2030 program committee told reporters in Gbarnga that invitations for the program were sent to all lawmakers.

Most astonishing was the absence of the heads of all opposition parties at the program though the President ensured close consultations with opposition leaders ahead of the Vision 2030 national conference in Gbarnga.

However, members of few political parties and not their leaders attended the opening session.

Specifically, it is difficult to image why the leader of the main opposition party, Congress for Democratic Change, would fail to attend make an input into the formulation of a shared non-partisan national policy process, targeting 2030.

Decisions that would form Vision 2030 for implementation cover a burning debate on many cardinal historical issues that have shaken the foundation of the nation, and no Liberian who desires future leadership must have any excuse preventing them from attending such a conference.

The unfortunate phenomenon in our country for succeeding leaders to condemn and quash national policies charted by their predecessors has retarded progress in our nation over the years, and therefore, we hope that political parties having apparent indifference to vision 2030 harbor no sinister motive against this mantra in case they win political power before 2030.

Delegates in Gbarnga are discussing, among many cardinal national issues, ways to cement unity, reconciliation, peace, love and nationalism, as well as whether or not to retain all of our national symbols including our flag, court of arms, decorations and anthem, or modify some to reflect realities of the second millennium.

It is imperative that Liberians see Vision 2030, which will set the agenda to address the social, political and economic challenges anticipated by the citizens in the next 18 years and beyond, as a mantra or mission statement for the nation.

Fearing that some future government could neglect and quash Vision 2030, many participants have called for enacting laws to enforce its implementation.

But the President has a different view when she rejected such calls in order to avoid litigation against government for failure to implement minute details of Vision 2030 in its entireties.

"For instance, if we state here that government must educate every youth and then you fall short, and then one of them decided to sue you for not providing the education as a result of the lack of resources, you would lose the case," she noted.

"We can't take the whole vision policy and enact it into law. But those aspects of the national vision policy that require legislation would be enacted into law," she told the conference plenary Tuesday in Gbarnga.

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