Renovate The Executive Mansion

 

By Martin K. N. Kollie
Youth Activist



The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
April 27, 2015

                  



 
 
 
 
The Executive Mansion

The Executive Mansion is the official home of the Liberian Presidency. It was built in 1964 under the administration of President William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman by 2,000 workers and 150 foreign technicians. The eight-storey Executive Mansion building, which costs US$20 million, has an atomic-bomb shelter, an underground swimming pool, a private chapel, a trophy room, a cinema, an emergency power plant, water supply and sewage system, among others.

This constitutional palace of the Liberian presidency went into flames on July 26, 2006 while four West African leaders were guests of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during Liberia’s 159th Independence Day celebration. It was exactly seven months ten days following her inauguration on January 16, 2006 when this unfortunate fire invasion took place.

According to South African Forensic Scientists, the fire eruption at the Executive Mansion was caused as a result of electrical fault. Due to this incident, President Sirleaf has been unable to perform State functions at her official office for almost 9 years now. Is this not a blatant violation of our law especially when resources have been made available since 2008 to refurbish this same Mansion?

Interestingly, our President feels very complacent about administering State functions at an unofficial location. The Foreign Ministry is not meant to discharge Presidential duties. Barrack Obama cannot perform his statutory mandate as President of America out of the White House for more than 9 years. Even though, we claim to model our system of governance after America, but most often we exhibit undemocratic actions that do not even conform to existing realities.

What does it take to renovate our Executive Mansion? This government made a public announcement on August 4, 2008 to begin renovation under the supervision of a local construction group, Milton and Richards Architecture Film, which in turn sub-leased certain aspects of the renovation work to other local construction companies including the Liberian-owned W. R. Maintenance & Janitorial Services located in Sinkor.

The estimated cost to renovate the Executive Mansion in 2008 was USD$7 million. The total amount of USD$3 million was allocated in the 2008-2009 national budget to fund phase one of this project. We are very concern about the safety and security of our President, but again she cannot continue to overtly contravene statutory guidelines which are in compliance with democratic due diligence.

Furthermore, it is the right of our people to know some basic facts surrounding appropriations made to revamp our Executive since it was gutted by fire in 2006. Under the Public Sector Investment Plan and Technical Services budget of the Ministry of State for President Affairs, the total of US$14,933,334 has been allocated for the renovation of the Executive Mansion. This is a succinct fiscal breakdown per annum:

Even though, these huge amounts have been disbursed to revamp the official home of President Sirleaf, but the Mansion is a palace of ghosts up-to-date. This means someone must account for these public resources? In 2008, the cost of renovating the Mansion was US$7 million. Today, there are huge public concerns about the completion of this Mansion even though more than US$14,933,334 has been spent.

Is this not corruption? How does this regime intend to end corruption? Is this not public dishonesty and mistrust of authority? How will corruption not be a vampire? We demand an immediate investigate into this matter. State actors must exercise transparency and accountability at all times. The Ministry of State for President Affairs must give a comprehensive account of this US$14,933,334.

For too long we have sat and witnessed the unbending refusal of this Chief Executive to relocate from an unauthorized residence to her legitimate habitat. This inconsistent and unjustifiable display by Madam Sirleaf is offensive to good governance and international best practices. The President must put an end to this unorthodox occurrence now, before it hunts her legacy further.

The Executive Mansion can never become a safe environment until this government makes it what it ought to be. If this regime was serious about ensuring President Sirleaf relocates to her legitimate duty-station, our Executive Mansion would have been fully renovated by now. Unfortunately, it is not a priority to some unpatriotic public servants who are in control of State resources. Nine (9) years is too sufficient to give our Executive Mansion a conclusive face-lift. There should be no ground for unnecessary excuse(s) especially when adequate funds were made available to complete this national project.

Any Leader who leads by example will always receive standing ovations from his/her people. In accordance with Article one of the 1986 Constitution, the good people of Liberia are mandating Madam President to return to her official home from now to the end of this year. If our President abides by this popular mandate, it would contribute to restoring democratic sanctity to the Presidency. We cannot live in a country with a homeless President. The recurrent denial of our President to occupy her real domicile is alarming and this issue must provoke public interest.

We will not accept any further dislodgment of President Sirleaf after January 01, 2016. This is an ultimatum that must seek the immediate attention of our President. If Madam Sirleaf fails to abide by our directive, we shall utilize all legal means to ensure she returns to the Executive Mansion.

Above all interests, Liberia is Supreme.

About the Author: Martin K. N. Kollie is a Liberian youth activist, and student leader.  He is currently a student at the University of Liberia reading Economics and a member of the Student Unification Party (SUP). Martin K. N. Kollie can be reached at: martinkerkula1989@yahoo.com

sylvester krah
comrade kollie thanks so much again for arousing our minds on such a crucial national topic. everyone will certainly allude to the fact that the executive mansion is the legitimate residence of the presidency but this legal reality is on the contrary today under the administration of president.

your consolidated analysis with respect to the executive mansion renovation covering those fiscal periods expenditures on the so-called executive mansion renovation is quite accurate. one of the major fiscal in-disciplines faced by this regime is its inability to to identify macroeconomic priorities.

Due to the consistent budgetary deficit,the president sirleaf government instituted an austerity measure, in order to rapidly mitigate some unnecessary recurrent expenditures. well it is quite interesting to know that this so-called austerity approach is just another myth.

Here is a classical example of how this regime has proven to institute common macroeconomic priority.

According to the second quarter two report for the fiscal periods 2014/15- financial statements of the consolidated fund account - the approved budgetary appropriation for the Liberian economy is US$635.24 equivalent to LD$ 53,359.82B.

Under this budget period the MTEF has eleven sectors. out of these eleven sectors this regime was able to make huge budgetary appropriation for the less economical and most corrupt sectors like the public administration $USD237,799 comprising 37.43% of the approved budget, security and the rule of law $USD83,682 comprising 13.17 % of the approved budget, and then allocating nominal percentage to significant sectors like education USD$65,617 WHICH IS 10.33% OF THE APPROVED BUDGET and agriculture USD$5,926 equal to 0.93% of the approved budget.

Given the deplorable condition of both our health and education sectors, one needs not to be an economist or budget pundit to determine that these sectors need to be prioritize in the national budget. Instead, this regime has decided to selfishly appropriate funding for the executive mansion that has no economic significance over health and education.

Now is the appropriate time for this government to provide a comprehensive expenditure report on the 14M wrongly given for executive mansion renovation.
simple economic. renovating the executive mansion and the purchasing of drugs for deserving Liberians who are hopelessly laying in the various hospitals, which one should be prioritize? Any elementary student who does not have a single understanding in economics and budgeting will certainly say the purchasing of drugs.
this government needs to be very meticulous in the expenditure of tax payers money. if this government refuse to provide the public with a comprehensive expenditure report on the US$ 14m appropriated for the renovation of the executive mansion we ensure ensure all legal means for full compliance.

failure to provide this renovation report might spark up turmoil and further exacerbate the the anger of the masses. sylvester nenneh geebarh bogue clabadee krah,
sylvester krah at 05:29AM, 2015/04/27.
James Mcgill
What a paper that gives such great insights on one of Liberia’s iconic structures, the executive mansion, and the roles that it plays in the national life of the country. The author, Mr. Martin K.N. Kollie, expresses with passion money that was allocated for its renovation, but the job was not done. Worst, the amount has not been accounted for, and moreover Ellen had continued to discharge her official duties in an “unorthodox” manner according to him.

If one was to explore today the state of the nation’s capital city, Monrovia, he would discover that polluted air, unsanitary sewage system, deplorable water quality, a city with a disappearing shoreline, high crime rates as the result of joblessness, are visible everywhere.

I do not intend to ignore the symbols of our national pride, but notwithstanding a question of how we set our national priorities is in the spotlight here. Our policy makers should place more emphasis on the issues of health, education, job growth, agriculture, and so forth. Investment should be made in ventures that that will boost the national economy; create jobs and improve the quality of life for the average Liberian.

I do not ignore the symbols of our national pride, but the gutted executive mansion has remained in that condition for over 9 years now, and Ellen has still conducted her duties. So, how will the equation change were she to move from one building to another?

We must stop the denial. Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia is unlivable. It is a human time bomb waiting for more Ebola-like disasters to occur before our leaders can wake-up and do something. If only the amounts that were earmarked for the reconstruction of the executive mansion can be traced, it could be diverted to the improvement of our human resources and the planning of a new capital city instead of the renovation of an old dilapidated building which stands in the midst of an infested and doomed city.

What is the urgency of now? An improvement in our standard of living, or investing in some old historic relic?

James Mcgill at 01:43PM, 2015/04/28.
Patrick Samolu
Mr. James McGill: It is understandable that there are pressing issues that President Sirleaf needs to pay attention to. Nevertheless, it still does not justify why she has not utilized the executive services provided at the Executive Mansion, when the c constitution allows it. So, even though your point is well taken concerning other issues, it distracts from the message that Mr. Kollie is sending.

Last Mr. Kollie did issue an ultimatum to President Sirleaf in the end of his essay. He said, “We will not accept any further dislodgment of President Sirleaf after January 01, 2016. This is an ultimatum that must seek the immediate attention of our President. If Madam Sirleaf fails to abide by our directive, we shall utilize all legal means to ensure she returns to the Executive Mansion.

Well, rather than issuing an ultimatum to President Sirleaf, are there not other choices available? An ultimatum sounds like an either-or-statement, and it therefore creates a false dilemma. Have all the avenues to get the true concerning this matter including an alleged misappropriation of the money for renovation being exhausted?
Patrick Samolu at 07:47AM, 2015/05/01.
Wilfred Winn
"That f-----up building up the hill must have been an important hotel or something," a fellow U.S. Soldier remarked as we passed the ruins of the Mansion during our ebola mission in Liberia, my native land. He did not know the building was an iconic one. I told him, " You've just ruined my day; that building you are looking at is our equivalence of the White House." He quickly apologized to me. Not only is this a national embarrassment, the mess around the center of government, to include the stationary sewage water outside the BTC gate (literally on the door step of the Temple of Justice, the Capitol Building, the Executive Mansion and the Foreign Affairs) is unacceptable. Politicians are truly shameless.
Wilfred Winn at 03:28PM, 2015/05/24.
Volusion Custom Development at 03:09AM, 2017/09/12.

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