The Emerging Liberia: The Fight Against Corruption

By David K. Flomo


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 1, 2005

As we anticipate another elections in Liberia, I joined my fellow Liberians who have written well-meaning articles and opinions on corruption in Liberia. Over the years, the pledge of allegiance and the oath of corruption with impunity from the president to the least civil servant has criminalized government jobs and hurt foreign investments in Liberia. We need to put end to this ugly image of government institutions in our country.

To ensure the next Republic and its president will fight corruption and restore confidence and trust in government, the first bill I expect the president to sign into law in his/her first one hundred days in office, should be “The Anti-Corruption and Civil Servant Accountability Act of Liberia.” The anti-corruption and civil servant accountability act of Liberia must address serious government and private sectors reform, retirement/pension benefits, ministries/agencies modernization, downsizing, promoting efficiency in government, jail time for convicted corrupt officials, travel ban, confiscation of properties, and ban on employment in government and private sectors for ten to fifteen years.

The country has criminalized government through violence leading to illiterate and incompetent officials whose sole purpose is their “positions” and not accountability to the country and its citizens. But, there is tremendous opportunity to reverse this ugly trend in Liberia by placing emphasis on rewarding Liberians who have sacrificed for years to develop skills, careers, professions, and higher education to be appointed in government and the private sectors.

It’s about time for government to launch “The National Modernization of Government Ministries/Agencies Program.” The government ministries and agencies modernization must provide modern ministries/agencies and consolidate certain ministries and agencies to reflect its relevance. For example, there is a need to create the ministry of national security and consolidate the Bureau of Immigration, FBI, CID, NSA and other intelligence agencies in government. I understand the country is emerging from 14 years war; our ministries and agencies need new ministries and agencies to reflect the reality of modern work place environment. When government provides its civil servants with improved and modern ministries and agencies, its civil servants moral improves.

We must begin the next Republic and government with highest educational standard, experienced and diversity in government at all sectors. All ministers must be PhD holders in their field of study, deputy ministers and directors must be Masters holders, assistant ministers and deputy managing directors must be Bachelors holders, administrative assistants, assistant directors must be Associates holders and technical diplomats/certificates. Another area of serious concern is our regional administrators/superintendents for counties and territories, these officials must be Bachelors holders as well because these are officials who have tremendous responsibilities at the regional/county levels. We need to cultivate the atmosphere and sense of values for education and career initiatives so that the “illiteracy” and “ignorance” that have destroyed the fabric of our society will be controlled and minimized. When I was growing up, my poor parents encouraged me to be educated, get a well paying job, and past this legacy to my children. But today, our society has been destroyed by thugs, criminals, and greed by the few “so-called privilege” who have capitalized on the illiteracy and ignorance of the future generations of Liberia for their own self-fish desires, aims and motives.

There is a need to place value on education, on time salaries for civil servants, reward those who scarified and spent years to prepare for the future. Since the 80’s, young and promising Liberians feel whether you are educated or not you can become president, minister, director and whatever you want to be in government. As a result, the value and the importance of education have diminished and instead promote violence, intolerance, hatred, greed, illiteracy, ignorance and social ills have destroyed our country. These baked educated and promoters of violence and unqualified officials are the most dangerous elements in government who will do anything and everything to protect their “positions” with whatever it takes.

The government must seek funding and launch “The National Education and Employment Opportunity Program” for all Liberians at Cutting University and the University of Liberia to provide the needed manpower we need in Liberia. In order to train qualified agriculture technicians, teachers and health workers, government must seek funding and elevate KRTTI and TNIMA to Associate Degree program and re-opened the Rural Development Institute Associate Degree program at Cuttington University College. To encourage and motivate graduates from these institutions to obtain undergraduate degree, University of Liberia and Cuttington University College must designed attainable higher education program/system that will accept credits and graduates from KRTTI, TNIMA and Rural Development Institute to persuade a four-year degree.

The government must create a well managed and sustainable “National Retirement and Pension Benefit Program” for government employees with retirement and pension age limit at 75 years old. This program must be managed to ensure employees who reached retirement and pension age are retired/pensioned and provided their benefits as required by law and the government.

The people of Liberia must elect a credible, common sense, and forceful president to ensure credibility, transparency, and re-launched the unfinished war of ignorance, disease and poverty launched by the late William R. Tolbert, Jr.
The tougher punishments for all those convicted of corruption in government must include but not limited to travel restriction, jail time, property confiscation, and ban on employment in government and private sectors for ten to fifteen years to deter corruption with impunity in Liberia.

Author: David K. Flomo is a Liberian community activist with residence in Winton-Salem, North Carolina.