13 December 2012

Liberia: Mass Action Demanded

Vowing to implement the ideals of the National Vision 2030, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for mass action in its execution so that it will not end up in the shelves just as another vision paper.

She urged Liberians to take ownership of the document that calls for a middle class economic status for Liberians by 2030, saying the people expect tangible action from Gbarnga, Bong County, where the document was carved out.

Accepting the adopted document Tuesday night, the president

said the government, along with youth groups, civil society organizations and others will begin implementing actionable recommendations almost immediately.

"As we conclude this phase of the National Vision 2030, it is imperative that the outcome of this process takes the form of actionable recommendations to ensure implementation as represented by the aspirations of the people of this country - the aspirations of our young people who spent all those months in 156 districts, 5 regions, the Diaspora, and in focus groups talking about the future they want for their country," the president told the delegates at the Gbarnga gathering.

According to her, the outcome of the conference would depend on "action making recommendation to ensure implementation as represented by the aspiration of the people of this country."

Pointing out that the implementation of the Vision 2030 was not the responsibility of the government thing alone, the president pointed out that "It belongs to the civil society organizations, non-government organizations and so all of us must work on it."

The Vision Statement, which expressed faith in the future of the country, love for country and a commitment to mobilize resources to achieve the aspirations of the people, also stressed the need for Liberians to be "One People, One Nation, United for Peace and Sustainable Development."

The Statement advanced several recommendations, including a clear strategy for disseminating the Vision throughout the country and the Diaspora; a clear strategy for operationalizing that includes a clear alignment or realignment of the Agenda for Transformation and the National Reconciliation Roadmap with the National Vision; and the development of a clear implementation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation mechanism that supports the achievement of the Vision.

To demonstrate government's commitment to the implementation of the document, the president said it will take the lead in getting things moving faster and called on Liberia's development for support.

"We would also make sure that the legislators are fully a part of it," she said. The president also emphasized that an ad-hoc committee would be formed to address the issue of the national symbol and a comprehensive national curriculum to deal with the issue of "our common dialect or language."

"When you go to other countries, if the people are discussing and they don't want you to understand, they will leave the English and go to their dialect. We want to do a similar thing here too," she said.

The president admonished the constitutional review committee to speed up with it work in reviewing the country's organic law.

"If the Constitution is not changed, we will not be able to do those things because we are bound by the Constitution until you have the amendment to accommodate those recommendations. So we ask them to please hurry up."

According to an Executive Mansion release, the President mandated the Ministry of Education to undertake, in close collaboration with relevant CSOs, a comprehensive National Curriculum Review to include issues of a National Language. She urged the already established Constitution Review Committee to speedily conclude its work, since many things in the National Vision 2030 require constitutional change.

President Sirleaf recognized a National History Writing Imperative, and hoped CSOs will also take on that responsibility. She recognized, with appreciation, the association that has worked on the Declaration of Arts and Culture. She also tasked the National Archives and the Museum with the responsibility to lead the effort on "Memorialization."

Continuing, President Sirleaf said, "We can't change our past, no matter what we do; whether it was good or bad, we can't change it. What we can do is to set the future that we want, and that is what this document attempts to do."

The President again reminded Liberians that the Vision does not belong to any government, individual, organization, party or group. She said: "This is the Vision we have adopted tonight for the Liberian people to change course in what we do, how we think, what we say, how we work, how we collaborate, how we show our commitment to the country, how we build a new Liberia, not so much for us, but for you, the youth, because this country belongs to you."

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