The President’s Challenge in the Next Thousand Days

first_imgSam Jackson, one of the nation’s leading economic and political thinkers, in his Op-ed piece in yesterday’s Daily Observer, has laid out the stark challenges facing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia approaches its next transition period in 2017.  That is when Liberians are scheduled to go to the polls to elect a new President.In his brilliant piece, Mr. Jackson presented the President with two stark choices: first, “Governing as a lame duck and biding her time would be disastrous with unfathomable social consequences.”  Second, Mr. Jackson postulated (suggested): “The President must govern as though she is running for reelection.  Too much is riding on her leadership and we’ve lost too much time to Ebola and political inertia (inactivity, sluggishness).  She must turn around the negative narrative that her administration has failed.  The President needs one memorable legacy project or two that will silence her critics and make her relevant in the blunt choices for 2017.”Mr. Jackson then gave this warning:  “If the President fails to be fully engaged in development over the next two years and gets distracted by politics as usual, Liberia runs the risk of falling back into conflict.”Every Liberian should read Mr. Jackson’s analytical thesis on the way forward in Liberia.  It requires the gripping and decisive attention of not the President only, but all of us—those close to her; those far from her; those for her and those against her; and even those who characteristically sit on the fence. Each of us is called to reflect soberly on what Jackson is saying and do EVERYTHING in our power to get the President to listen actively and follow his dispassionate and erudite advice.  In doing so, she would not only save her legacy, but far more important, save her country. IT MUST NOT BE SAID THAT AFTER ELLEN, AFRICA’S FIRST ELECTED FEMALE PRESIDENT, LIBERIA SLID BACK INTO CONFLICT.That would be tragic.  It would amount to the squandering of the immense resources God has given us; and to blatant ingratitude in the face of the outpouring of help we have received from the international community.What then, must Ellen do to cause Liberians to say, “She played well her part and left Liberia better than she met it?” Her remaining time is not too short to make a big difference in one of the fundamental problems Mr. Jackson touched on: the abject poverty in which Liberians continue to live, while a tiny minority is prospering.  To deal decisively with this problem, the President must seriously tackle agriculture, the sector in which a majority of Liberians work and subsist.  She must empower our farmers with training, tools, extension services, money and access to markets.  She must find the people who can make this happen with the same passion and boldness with which she garnered support to stamp out Ebola.Secondly, Ellen must rear within herself that same level of passion and “not on my watch” sternness to crush corruption in her government.  This will permit the resources of the country to flow  freely into the areas they are most needed—education, health,  empowering Liberians in business and reaching out to the teeming masses on the streets—men, women and children—helping them to attain hope and a brighter future.Here, the President should engage her Education people, including MVTC and the Booker Washington Institute and find ways to teach these street people trades that will give them marketable skills.The President must undergo serious self examination and STRIVE to use power prudently, so that she will be remembered as a leader who was evenhanded, fair, forthright and just.  Her political base, Unity Party, is currently in disarray, and she must do everything to fix it.  Why disarray?  She is said to have personally intervened to support particular candidates against the popular will.  Also, in the mind of the public, she is perceived to be feuding with the party’s Chairman, Counselor Varney Sherman.  That could sound a death knell to party unity.  How, then, will she be remembered as a partisan who benefitted so richly from this party—two terms as President?If we can get the hydro, paved roads to Harper, Vahun and Cape Mount, mini hydros and running water throughout the country, these, too, would enrich her legacy. Nothing, however, would be able to replace the spiritual foundation of her leadership—Ellen’s soul (character) as a leader.  That, more than anything else, could smooth the transition, and determine how she will be remembered.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Hyundai Motor Donates 21 Ambulances

first_imgAs Liberia strives to improve health care delivery across the country in the post-Ebola period, the Hyundai Motor Company (HMC), based in South Korea, has shown its full commitment to support health infrastructure progress in Liberia by donating 21 H-1- based city ambulances to the country.According to a release issued by HMC, the ambulances, equipped with respirators, oxygen tanks and other medical gears, will be delivered to the Government of Liberia through the United Nations in April.To learn more about the HMC donation, the Daily Observer Health Correspondent contacted Africa Motors (Liberia) Inc. whose offices are based in Sinkor, Monrovia and are the official agents for HMC in Liberia. It was confirmed by sources within that company that HMC is indeed contributing the ambulances which are expected to arrive in Liberia by the end of April this year and that a communication was sent by Africa Motors to the Executive Mansion to inform President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.In a communication addressed to Mr. GhassanBasma, Chairman of Africa Motors Liberia Incorporated, copy of which was provided to us by our sources, the Vice President and Head of the Africa and Middle East Regional Headquarters of Hyundai Motor, Tom Lee said, “I’m pleased to inform you that Hyundai Motor Company has taken the decision to contribute 21 units of fully fitted ambulances through the United Nations to the Government of Liberia to show our solidarity with the people of Liberia as well as Africa Motors (Liberia) Inc.”The Hyundai Motor Vice President also indicated that the ambulances are to aid not only the fight against Ebola but also support emergency response units catering to patients afflicted with other ailments.According to our source, Africa Motors Liberia Inc. last August brought to the attention of HMC the crisis emanating from the spread of the Ebola virus and the financial constraints on the Government of Liberia as well as the strain on the country’s already weak health infrastructure.Acknowledging the role of Africa Motors Liberia, Hyundai Motor stated that although its support is provided through the United Nations, that support may never have been realized if it were not for Africa Motors raising the urgency of the situation and the need for action and support by HMC to help Liberia strengthen its health care delivery capacity..Africa Motors Liberia Inc. is the sole representative of Hyundai Motor Company in Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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