When Liberia made history in 2005 by electing the first female President in sub-Saharan Africa, the nation was over-joyed and the world embraced Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her new role and for her bold promise to restore our country’s image. Our traditional allies, the United States and other countries in Europe and in Africa, stepped forward to provide support to the Sirleaf Administration in rebuilding war-torn Liberia and to restore hope to the nation’s four million people.
However, after nearly 10 years of hoping that Madam Sirleaf will make good on her promises, Liberians continue to linger in poverty, amid massive corruption and abuse of power by a few elites.
Recurring missteps by Madam Sirleaf and her penchant to condone corrupt behavior amongst her cronies have reached a level never before seen in the history of the country. It is now evident that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Administration dabbles in corruption at every level of government.
Global Witness, in a recent report, exposed the machinations of back-door wheeling and dealings in the Sirleaf Government, fraudulently changing the laws of Liberia, while short-changing ordinary people of development programs that are badly needed across all 15 county political sub-divisions.
Madam Sirleaf has shown time and again her unwillingness and indifference to prosecute government officials and cronies who have been implicated in corrupt practices, despite overwhelming evidence from audit reports and sometimes from the very task forces she sets up whenever acts of corruption are discovered happening right under her nose.
Madam Sirleaf has also consistently undermined the normal functioning of government and oversight agencies. She has shown great ingenuity by creating oversight agencies without real authority, like the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), etc., and later on usurping the functions of the very oversight agencies by creating new ad-hoc commissions and task forces on the fly to appease public outrage.
There are several reports from these ad-hoc Commissions she setup. Madam Sirleaf has yet to act after reviewing the reports. Examples include the Dunn Report indicting her brother-in-law, Estrada Bernard in a corruption scheme; the Tipoteh/Rice Commission; the Taiwon Gongloe Report on the unlawful killing of civilians; the Negbalee Warner Report which indicated former Finance & Planning Minister Amara Konneh and others of corruption.
After Global Witness exposed the chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Varney Sherman, of being the mastermind behind the brides and back-door dealings and other top officials who took bribes, the Madam has, yet again, swiftly setup another ad-hoc task force to investigate. The task force is headed by ex-convict, Fonati Koffa, a disgraced lawyer who is barred from practicing law in the US.
Dozens of audit reports implicating senior government officials and cronies of President Sirleaf in corruption scandals, nepotism, and abuse of power remained untouched, licking dust in Madam Sirleaf’s offices in Monrovia.
Minus a few development projects and other projects of convenience undertaken by the Sirleaf administration, Madam Sirleaf seemed to be indifferent to corruption and has demonstrated her inability to bring about lasting development programs to the people of Liberia, who continue to linger in poverty, generation after generation, for more than one and a half century since independence.
We the citizens of Liberia and friends of Liberia worldwide no longer trust the failed policies and corrupt penchants of President Sirleaf. To quote Albert Einstein, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” As long as “We the People” do nothing about it, the “Sirleaf Dynasty of dishonesty” will continue with their wicked ways and corrupt practices.
We have the power as a people to call on Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to tender her resignation as President of the Republic of Liberia for failing our people, her blatant disregard for the constitution she swore to uphold, for nepotism, and for rampant acts of corruption.
We must unite – civil society, political parties, and youths of Liberia. We urge all peace-living citizens and friends of Liberia, the world over, to begin calling their respective representatives of government in their counties, cities and states to ask for their support in pressuring Madam Sirleaf to do the honorable thing – to resign now – and spare Liberia another implosion.
Our failure to act against a “corrupt” regime is not only unethical; it is a shame on all of us.
Remind your government representative that if ordinary Liberian Citizens are forced into the streets to demonstrate or to undertake other forms of civil disobedience, which could result in violence, then their inaction and failure to exert pressure on Madam Sirleaf shall result into more deaths of innocent civilians, including mothers and children of Liberia as acts of corruption by “the Sirleaf Dynasty of dishonesty” continue to deprive ordinary people of our nation’s resources.
For the lives we save today may be our own or those of loved ones in villages and towns across Liberia, people who yearn for a day they too can have a safety net and be able to lead decent lives.
Tamba D. Aghailas,