29 January 2014

Liberia: 'Prosecute Corrupt Government Officials' Student Leader Urges

Monrovia — It was a moment of mixed reactions as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivered her 8th state of the nation address Monday.

Some heaped praises while others criticized the Liberian leader for several unfulfilled promises, including failure to fight corruption, amongst others.

While women from Bomi County were praising President Sirleaf for helping to pay tuition and fees for their children through a loan she provided them sometime ago, some citizens were expressing disenchantment over the president's ear.

Hardship is common in the various communities. Many Liberians cannot afford a day's meal least to think of the required three square meals. Albert S. Doe, a University student, blames President Sirleaf for the poor living standard of the majority of the population.

Doe, Co-Chairman Press and Propaganda of a university based student movement; the Student Integration Movement (SIM) says he will always blame the President for the way the government is being run as a regime for elite few whose actions are not impacting the lives of the common Liberians in a positive way.

Says Doe "anything the unit does the leader is responsible, so everything that is happening in the country she is responsible".

Even though Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has mapped fourteen communities to be electrified before June this year, Doe points out that electricity is one of the many things government officials are enjoying while many Liberians are still using candles, a situation that results in fire outbreak on a regular basis.

"I remembered Madam Sirleaf saying that small light today, big light tomorrow why should that not be equally distributed? The so called government officials are enjoying light as the common people are there burning candles which is not fair".

The LEC, he says, is planting light poles that are not durable with some falling causing death and injuries to pedestrians.

President Sirleaf's legacy at stake

Doe says if president Sirleaf wants a legacy she needs to prosecute corrupt government officials.

"Since time is no longer in madam Sirleaf's favor, let her be serious to try to prosecute corrupt government officials, those who are roaming here drinking liquor, let them be prosecuted then, at least that will be her legacy for Liberia" Doe believes.

"We remembered that madam Sirleaf says that corruption was her first public enemy. She felt that corruption was going to be minimized, but corruption is right under her sleeves, she is so embarrassed, so it becomes very difficult for her to prosecute those who are closer to her", he added.

When will papa come?

Richard Holder, a youth leader is also concerned that for close to 9-years now president Sirleaf's promised of job creation has not been fulfilled. In retrospect, Holder said "Madam Sirleaf said Papa was going to come home and the children will be happy because papa will bring something home but yet jobs are hard to find.

Many young people are graduating from Universities today, but many remain or are seen selling because they cannot find a job to do the twenty thousand jobs madam Sirleaf promised to the Liberian people each year is nowhere".

He recalled that president Sirleaf once told the Liberian people that parents were going to get jobs and return home with something for the children to celebrate. He added that most Liberians are now surviving on gambling, especially a sports betting company known as Winner.

"In various communities because there are no jobs, young people are busy playing Gambles while few people are enjoying the country's money. Madam Sirleaf had a platform, but where are they? No running water, no electricity, no good education. She is discussing failure not success", Holder observes.

Holder said that it was unfortunate that one had to be identified as a unity party member before being allowed into the Capitol Building where the President delivered her State of the nation address.

"I have been denied access to the Capitol Building premises by the organizers", the youth leader lamented.

In president Sirleaf's deliberation, she among several things, touched on corruption, stating that the Liberia Anti -corruption commission should be given prosecution power by the National Legislature.

The President also called for the establishment of criminal court 'F' to try corruption and corruption related cases, indicating that it requires commitment to fight corruption.

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