Liberian President Johnson Sirleaf Takes Executive Mansion ‘On the Road’

Monrovia, Liberia–(ENEWSPF)– Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has virtually taken the Executive Mansion “on the road,” as the implementation of development projects becomes more compelling, with the arrival of the dry season.

The President was, a little over a week ago, in Falie, Grand Cape Mount County, discussing with her direct representatives—the Superintendents—in the political sub-divisions of the country, their programs and challenges. A number of issues emerged at the forum which not surprisingly, included the administration of the County Development Funds (CDF). The exercise has, understandably, come under serious criticism, owing to what critics see as a lack of transparency in its administration. The President acknowledged that some of the accusations may not be true. “Some may be rumors; some may be misunderstanding, but in several cases, funds have been misused or misallocated. Your responsibility is to take charge of the CDF in such a way that the mandates given by our Constitution to the three branches of Government are fully respected. We are not going to do anything in a confrontational way; we are going to do it through consultations, through dialogue, through working with colleagues with one common objective in mind, an objective that is common to all the branches and to all the leaders and to all the citizens of the County, and that objective is: to bring development to the people. I am sure that in that spirit, we will be able to find a solution, to come up with new procedures that will enable us to get more results and have more effectiveness and efficiency in the implementation of our County Development Projects,” the Liberian leader reminded her officials, urging them to start a process of consultation to achieve the objective.

Too many times, she observed, leaders are removed from the people they serve. “Many times the People do not know; this is why sometimes the lack of information gives way to rumors and to wrong information. You are responsible to hold consultations with your citizens. You need to go into the districts, the communities, in the villages. Tell them what you are doing. Show them that the CDA comes out of a process in which they contributed. It’s their project. This is what has been done; these are the problems; this is our progress—so they can know. Because they are the ones that will defend you,” she urged the County Superintendents.

The consultations in Falie marked the beginning of the President’s campaign on the road, visiting communities—some never before visited by a sitting President—including PHP, where, earlier in the day, she dedicated several hand pumps, in response to an appeal by residents of the community. Walking between houses, in the overcrowded community, the President listened to the concerns of inhabitants of the areas, and assured them that Government would address those concerns, one at a time. One of the major concerns in the area is the need for a public toilet. The President has directed that a suitable site be identified for the construction of a public toilet for the residents of the area.

Over the next days, the President attended the opening of the Tubman High School Vocational Center; an Infrastructure Retreat in Paynesville; the launch of a National Leadership Institute; participated in the grand opening of the Independent Software Certification Inc.; toured communities in the New Georgia and Bardnersville Estates; addressed women’s groups at James Spriggs Payne Airfield; and dedicated a market building in Lakpazee.

Of equal significance was be the dedication on Friday, November 20th, of a Science Building at the University of Liberia, renovated by Firestone Liberia.

The building was destroyed during the country’s civil war. A discussion by the President with executives of Firestone, during a visit to the United States, on the need for its renovation, has resulted in a virtually brand new building.

The President praised Firestone for responding to one of Government’s key development objectives – to provide education to its citizens. She recounted the long history of collaboration between the world’s leading rubber processing giant and Liberia, pointing to the highs and lows, but said she was happy that, through the insistence of Government, Firestone had begun to fulfill some of its social responsibilities to the people of Liberia.

As the dry season sets in, the obvious has begun to emerge—that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will spend more time on the road, interacting with her people, understanding their needs, and, more importantly, examining first hand, what impact the programs Government has set in motion, is having on their daily lives.