One down four to go…
John Morlu, former Auditor General of Liberia, is a fearless advocate for accountability since he came to the public eye about ten years ago and has since not relented in his desire to push for austerity, with a keen displeasure for official public corruption and his track record evident when he served as Liberia’s Auditor General. It would be nicer, had Liberians taken into account the pedigree of personalities running for office in 2017, and consider men like Mr. Morlu who served the public good as he scored high! Morlu recent speech is reminiscent of a politician whose aspirations are noted, having constructively criticized the Sirleaf administration’s 10 years in office when he recently spoke to the press. He is young and seems eager to reform the post-Sirleaf administration, which by all accounts has been labeled a failed regime, even by some who supported her earlier and those not so keen on governmental affairs, Morlu has the quality and energy and has proven his competence and professionalism.
John Morlu came to the media limelight through an European Union recruitment efforts in 2006, when he joined the government of Liberia, the post, having been advertised in about 150 countries for Liberians and non Liberians alike, with Morlu being selected with high marks. In his first public remarks which drew praised and condemnation he accused the Sirleaf administration of being “ten times more corrupt,” than its predecessors. The statement was highly controversial. Sirleaf was a newly elected president and Africa’s first female head of state [so she had defenders and sympathy then] and, this, coming on the heels of the Gyude Bryant interim leadership which was by all accounts a reckless looting enterprise. But give Morlu credit, Sirleaf has not live up to billing [he was closer to the seat of power so he probably knew what he was talking about] Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government is one of the most corrupt and inept govts Liberians have seen in modern times, her critics have said, while her supporters have said she deserves credit for rebranding Liberia’s image especially after Taylor’s brutal reign, as Liberia was considered a pariah state, Sirleaf has tried her best to attract investment. She also recommended, reports say, John Morlu for the job.
John Morlu, have managed United States projects in 24 countries including former Soviet Republics. He possesses an hands on approach to management, reports say, and the guts to being bold and upfront, but it’s his temperament it seems which needs to be tamed, and which is what has been questioned again and again, and for this, if he surrounds himself with good advisers and qualify individuals and listen to, and seek pertinent advises on the major issues before speaking and acting, he can succeed.
Under Morlu’s leadership, the General Auditing Commission proves its independence and worth for the first time in Liberia’s history and became one of the most powerful and probably a-one of handful efficient governmental bureaus—and his fights with Sirleaf were well noted and publicized, he thought her incompetent and weak, while she thought he was brash and undiplomatic, but he however, work with the Sirleaf administration and together they achieved the so-called highly rated HIPC regime which saw Liberia’s debts waived by multilateral and bilateral bodies, in the tone of almost 4billion.
Morlu also commissioned about 50 high profile audits, indicted bunch of high ranking officials, sadly none of them prosecuted under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Iron Lady! Sirleaf blames the judiciary for not moving her cases, yet the executive which she heads has not been able to enforced the laws either. For example, the Liberian police can not investigate cases, and can not police itself, yet while she maintains the same director the last several years. Because of this inaction, Liberia is in peril as unmil departs and the security sector reform which so much donor funds was/is being spent on has yielded zero results.
Take these three cases:
a] a high ranking presidential security guard [in Sirleaf’s official detail] was found to be carrying drugs about two years ago in the president’s official convoy and a govt vehicle for trafficking, in which she was riding! imagine that happening in an Obama or John Magufuli’s convoy! While the news story primarily centered on the security incompetence and indiscipline, it actually was a verdict on the Liberian president and her inaction to effectuate anything of substance in Liberia including security!
b] Nobody is yet to be held accountable for Keith Jubah’s death, a principal Sirleaf aide who was gunned down in the streets in Liberia in his drive to fight corruption as he headed the PPCC-the public procurement; it has been over eight years now and other cases…
c] Several reports on the Liberian security apparatus say we are in deep deep trouble—the one area where all the indicators should have been high, given Liberia’s brush with violence the past two decades, as UN departs and just this week, as the president’s security was fighting openly in the streets with the police director, in a childish play, just to get close to the president. It was all about egos and nothing to do with security, or the Liberian interest. For that you dmamged a 30-50thousand dollars car, how many hungry stomachs could feed on that!? Unless there were credible intelligence reports and facts that Col. Massaquoi was intending to assassinate the president, he should not have been humiliated, he is of a much higher rank, but again he has not been a competent police director! The Liberian Police are engaged in arm robbery, and is yet to arrest anyone, also, for ritualistic killings, both issues which have made international headlines, yet Sirleaf is oblivion to these issues!
John Sembe Morlu, II, is a Liberian financial expert, and many say will be well-placed to reverse Liberia’s fortunes and bring sanity to Liberia’s messy educational, health, and financial woes, as is evident in his advocacy for prudent fiscal and austerity stands, and esp in an era of Mohammedu Buhari and John Magufuli!. He hails from Lofa County.
The former Liberia Auditor General would come to the Executive Mansion with a wealth of experience given his record. He has been described as brilliant, and astute in his field. Of the five candidates profiled here for the Executive Mansion, Morlu it seems one of the most assertive, a quality Liberia needs in the next leader to succeed Johnson Sirleaf, given the passivity with which she governed Liberia during her decade long years in office, probably Liberia’s weakest president given the opportunity she has had to strengthened the rule law, ultimately, which she also squandered.
In Sirleaf’s Liberia, it is jungle justice, the system doesn’t work, in fact, some have said nothing works at all, you have to pay bribes everywhere you go, and this is how bad our country have degenerated under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf!
John Morlu his fans say is ripe and just the kind of young leaders that Liberia needs in a new era. There will be a groundswell of support from many quarters if he decides to run. But leading up to the elections Morlu will have to decide what strategy must be his winning ticket or make a case why Liberians should vote for him by using Sirleaf and oldman Joseph Boikai as an example of the kind of leaders he will not be, but more than that, his supporters say, he could boast of an enviable record that he has been fighting Liberia’s cause against all odds, especially “the aged-old corruption endemic with courage and distinction,” opines the New Dispensation;this he must stress and remind a frustrated war-weary electorate, that have not seen their lots improve.
Morlu holds a MBA in Finance from John Hopkins, a Master in International Commerce and Policy from John Mason, and double bachelors in Economics and International Relations from Thomas Jefferson University in Virginia.
What must he do to win: Leading up to 2017, he must give more public policy speeches on his vision for Liberia and win the argument on/in the streets with the young people and women of Liberia who constitute the bulk of the electorate. his recent Press Union of Liberia [PUL] speech in Buchanan is an excellent fore-runner, [a very good speech by all accounts] by drawing these contrasts to the Sirleaf administration and the waste, abuse and impunity which has attended her rule, he reminds Liberians of all stripes that Liberians— regretful and let down as they are about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will put the past behind them and look forward to brighter future where accountability and the rule of law reigns supreme—Morlu must also show respect and humility for his opponents when need be, true politics can be dirty but he need not repeat the fiasco of a REALLY BAD LETTER he wrote Sirleaf years ago in which he called her friends ‘Dogs!” If he draws these contrasts and shows the heart and passion to lead Liberia; he could well be sitting in the Executive Mansion come 2017!
Pic John Morlu former GAC boss