Taking off from this vantage point, it is envisaged
that the president will remain strong-willed in instituting
the necessary reforms that will turn Liberia toward
the path of socio-economic progress. That is very
much the mandate so overwhelmingly given to her by
the Liberian masses. After having virtually been to
hell and back in the last two and half decades of
our national existence (starting from the Samuel Doe
era to the maiming Charles Taylor years), Liberians
have robustly broken loose from all sorts of servitude,
and have wielded enormous political clout and ingenuity
by electing, this time, a leadership on the substantive
basis of qualification rather than on the basis of
popularity or apprehension. We cannot ask anything
more of our people, at least, not just yet. The challenge
now falls to President Johnson-Sirleaf and her government
to do their part: instituting sweeping anti-corruption
reforms, ensuring national security, promoting human
and infrastructure development all of which must be
strategically balanced against the respect for the
organic laws of the land.
This is a somewhat difficult but necessary condition to forge the burgeoning democracy that we expect to see flourish in Liberia. The administration must balance its zest to wipe out corruption with the respect for due process as called for by our constitution. Anything short of this will not only taint the achievements of the government, but will as well, defeat the purpose for which Liberians so unselfishly voted for the President. I am not pointing accusing fingers at the very young government, at least not yet. What I am pointing out is that the administration must lawfully go about the business of cleaning up the rotten culture of insurrections and corruption from the fabric of Liberia’s nationhood.
Recent reports of arrests and searches without warrants in Monrovia are disturbing. Alleged mass firings at the Ministry of Defense and the Bureau of Immigration without first exhausting the necessary mechanisms laid down in the labor laws of the country deserve our attention. If there are any merits to these reports, President Johnson-Sirleaf must act to ensure that such telltale signs of abuse of power will not be allowed to fester. Our government’s ability to take anti-corruption and anti-insurrection initiatives on the one hand, and the respect for the laws of the land on the other, as interwoven issues that should be used to complement and reinforce each other while not allowing neither to down play the other is pivotal to the development of our democratic institutions.
I am impressed by the charm, charisma, and the lengthy educational and experiential track record of President Johnson-Sirleaf. I wish her nothing but the utmost best as she attempts to steer our country out of the turbulent waters of war and defilement to development and respectability. Something deep within tells me she is up to the task at hand. I cannot, therefore, be asking too much of her. In fact, the seeming pressure for this administration to deliver on its political agenda should not be overwhelming, not at all.
There is resounding impetus in favor of the Johnson-Sirleaf government. The international community is anxious to assist based on the president’s credibility and steadfast determination to succeed at her job. The Liberian intelligentsia and technocrats are in her corner as well. Take Dr. J. Christopher Toe, for example, who left his University Presidency in the United States of America to serve in the Johnson-Sirleaf led government as Agriculture Minister. This speaks volumes of the respect the President enjoys in both local and international circles. Exploiting this huge network of internal and external assets in her continuous bid to foster the cause of the Liberian populace will be the telling confirmation of her natural acumen for political leadership.
True, my demands are not a cakewalk. Liberia is in a deep mess. As a matter of fact, we are attempting to climb out of an abyss. For the last three decades, almost all Liberian children have been born into an environment lacking opportunities and, threatened by war and its attendant menaces. But that is why providence gave us President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Madame President, we look to you to cultivate within our national psyche the ideal that selfless determination pursued in the just cause of personal convictions and national concerns can uproot even the most formidable barrier to social justice and sustainable human development. When you lead us in nurturing these values into a unique and forceful campaign, we will, together, succeed in lifting our beleaguered country out of the ashes of deprivation—devoid of insurrections and corruption and filled with the undying respect for the rule of law.
About the Author: Momoh Sekou Dudu lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.