New Democrat (Monrovia)

3 January 2013

Liberia: Serious Challenges Await Liberians in 2013

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There is undeniable foreboding that 2012 left most Liberians economically weakened and physically insecure, rendering them unable to share Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year with next-door neighbours.

Therefore, with the ushering in of 2013, we need to reinforce our faith in Almighty God, never allowing despair to diminish our resolve, no matter how precarious our situation. Mind you, this is a call for sustained hard work and not to be lazy thinking that God is the provider of all your needs and wants.

We share the joy of our fellow Liberians as they bid farewell to 2012 and welcome 2013; but we beg to advise against boisterous activities that would dull our senses against the critical political and socio-economic challenges that assail our nation today even as we move into the New Year.

We should spare a thought for the lives already lost during the year under review; let us be vigilant and give whatever assistance we can offer our national authorities. Above all, our faith in God must not waver, for, with a strong faith in God, we can face potential odds with fortitude.

Because God is not seen physically interceding for the welfare of every soul, He delegates that task to leaders who should be His eyes and ears. They are therefore expected to be god-fearing, caring and strong.

Regrettably, many of our leaders have failed to well acquit themselves, individually or collectively, before God and their fellow Liberians. There is nauseating corruption in high places and immorality is eating up the land. To paraphrase the Holy Scripture, Liberians today are like sheep without a shepherd; ours is a nation adrift. The Christmas and New Year seasons, therefore, must offer an opportunity for all Liberians to renew their faith in God and, in particular, our leaders to recommit service to the motherland as never before.

Words are cheap. No wonder people use them without considering their impact or consequences in case of reneging on them as promises made.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who freshly completed the first year of her second term, added a more general promise "things will be better" in the remaining years of her mandate that she had been given to serve the people when she was campaigning again in 2011. While the unfulfilled promises of 20o5 were specific though unfulfilled, Liberians cannot be sure what a better 2013 means.

Surely, 2013 would be more challenging than 2012, which by every index is a tough year. Here are some of the challenges that await Liberians as we enter 2013:

- We will continue to live without running water and electricity in 2013 despite assurances that plans are underway.

- Rural poverty (which would also affect urban dwellers) would rise. The impacts of the devastation from the civil war would reflect more in 2013 if the roads remain in deplorable condition, denying rural dwellers of total benefits of their produce and means of livelihood.

- The infrastructure deficit would increase. The uncurbed decay of infrastructure has resulted in stretching the few that work. Without meaningful plans, things would get worse.

· Security is a revolving concern. The crisis in neighboring Cote d'Ivoire will continue to pose threats and there are no signs that local criminals are letting go of their prized portion of Liberia.

Unemployment has been addressed with words for long. There are people who leave school uneducated, unemployable, and remain for years. When organizations want candidates with relevant experience, it is difficult to find them. The coming year bears no indications of tackling mass unemployment, particularly among the youth.

It therefore goes without saying that mere promises are empty. It is the action behind them that makes the difference. Too many promises have been made to Liberians, making more new promises useless.

We realize the fact that nobody expects the President to work miracles, considering the enormity of the challenges she inherited. However, if she decides to compound the situation through promises she would not keep, then she should expect no understanding of the public, which has been at the receiving end of dashed hopes and expectations.

Economic indicators coupled with unabated corruption in the country do not flash signs of a healthy environment with the resources to fulfill the President's promises. The most reasonable thing now is to keep Liberians abreast with the challenges and tackle them. Anything to the contrary is considered unacceptable.

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