14 December 2012

Liberia: Ellen's 2030 Vision Unveiled - What's in the Basket for Liberians - Harm or Good?

Some Liberians, depending their understanding of the issues that dragged their nation into backwardness for decades, will agree on the need for setting into motion a robust vision that drives Liberia out of the wood in order to redeem the years the locusts have eaten. What could be some of the issues: security, peace, reconciliation, and infrastructural development that encompass all sectors of the national fabric as well as economy? All of these fabrics have been undermined as a result of the years of war. There could be other emerging issues that need unbending attention and focus, too. It is perhaps against this background that the Ellen-led government is taking the bull by the horn, documenting what Liberia should be doing in the next seventeen years to come. So, what is in the vision? It is good or harmful? Can it better Liberia and re-right the wrongs are the boiling questions being asked by fear-stricken Liberians as the 2030 Vision Committee unscrambles its work today in Gbarnga, Bong County. The New Republic leafs through some of the issues already highlighted in advance.

Liberians, no matter what part of Liberia they find themselves, will be anxious to know the outcome of the work of the Committee put together sometimes ago by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to oversee the documentation of her government "Vision 2030" initiative which seeks to take stock and define for Liberia a new roadmap for national development and cohesion, taking into consideration some of the key and core issues that continue to defy the existence of the Liberian state and people.

Gbarnga, the provincial city of Bong County, was chosen as venue for the Vision 2030 Conference during which the much-talked about "Vision 2030," which explains what the administration wants to take Liberia and how to do it in the next seventeen years to come.

Gbarnga is at present glittered with the mammoth presence of government officials including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who according to information available to this paper is expected to deliver long-winding speech before or after the committee makes its work available to her.

A member of the Committee, Dr. Elwood Dunn who provided some tips on how they intend to proceed with the presentation of the vision last week said the committee would use the time to highlight some of the core issues noted in the vision before it is presented to the Liberian people through their leader, Madam Sirleaf.

Liberian leader will accept the report and make remarks in which she is expected to thank the committee headed by all-time politician and one-time Planning and Economic Minister, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh.

In order to make their work broad-based and a people-oriented, members of the committee with huge financial cost cascaded the country-side, going from town to town, village to village gauging the mood of Liberians, asking for their views and aspirations concerning where they want to see Liberia be and do about peace, reconciliation, national security, economic growth and social integration.

Some Core issues

Some of the core issues that form the nucleus of the vision are not yet being made public in details.

However, while addressing Ministry of Information regular press briefing last Thursday, committee member Dr. Elwood Dunn gave some tips of the thorny issues they took into consideration.

He placed emphasis on the fratricidal war that left the country and people so decimated as major reason that necessitated the need for Liberians to look at some of the issues that "continue to divide them and bring their existence into question."

"Vision 2030 is about taking stock," he said, and spoke well of the involvement of the people of Liberia, without whom the exercise could not have been possible.

Besides saying that it was about taking stock of the generational issues that continue to hunt Liberia, Dunn noted it was about "examining the knowledge generation process, coupled with consultations with the people.

"The vision is expression of the aspirations of the people that guide the nation," he said and indicated that it takes into account the issue of reconciliation outside of government; meaning the involvement and participation of all Liberians into reconciling one another.

He also talked about the issue of historical narratives, whether present symbols Liberia subscribes to are in line with the reality of the time.

Some of the symbols mentioned by the learned committee member include the seal, motto and many others which in his view need thorough review.

He talked the creation of a national curriculum to address Liberia's age-old educational system which is said to be the lowest in the West African region for now.

Harm or good

Liberians will get to know the specifics of these issues as outlined by the committee in the so-called Vision 2030 whether they will help the country or harm it.

There are already growing concerns in many quarters regarding some of the issues contained in the document, among them the alteration of the Liberian flag and many others. Whatever the case may be, it has be presented to Liberian people either through their representatives or whatever means so desirous to decide the fate of such vision.

Visions are not too new to Liberia.

As President of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, Charles Taylor came close to capturing the "lion" but got thwarted in the process as a result of the war that dealt him and his government an unforgettable blow.

Taylor's was vision 2024 and was about setting an agenda that would help in the advancement of national development. In it were some core issues such as peace and security, reconciliation and economic revitalization coupled with a timetable for achieving them.

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