Liberian Journalist Writes President Sirleaf From New Delhi, India
Dear Madam President;
Compliment of the seasons and best wishes to you and the peace loving people of Liberia.
Madam President, please permit me to use this opportunity to commend you for the numerous progress your government has made thus far and also to remind you about some pronouncements you made in the past, so that as we enter the New Year you will retrospect those pronouncements and push forward in your endeavours.
Madam President, you are the leader and mother of the Republic of Liberia and as such you are to function in dual capacity. There should be time for you to be tough and time for you to love your children as mothers do. Few years back you declared the virus ‘corruption’ public enemy number one. As we usher into the year 2014, it is my hope that you will muster the courage to continue your government’s fight against corruption, a cankerworm that is fast permeating the very fabric of our society.
In 2006, during your inaugural address you said your victory of the election marks a celebration of change and dedication to our agenda for a socio-economic and political reordering; indeed, a national renewal.
Today, we see some significant efforts being made by your government on some of those issues you raised in your inaugural speech. We are witnessing significant infrastructural developments, freedom of speech, civil liberty, judicial reform, government and people relationship and so on, but the political will to fight corruption remains your government’s major challenge.
In 2006 you said and I quote, “We recognize that this change is not just for the sake of change, but a fundamental break with the past, thereby requiring that we take bold and decisive steps to address the problems that for decades have stunted our progress, undermined national unity, and kept old and new cleavages in ferment.”
As we embrace this new commitment to change, it is befitting that for the first time in our country’s 158-year history, the inauguration is being held on the Capitol Grounds, one of the three seats of Government. We pledge anew our commitment to transparency, open government, and participatory democracy for all of our citizens.
Yet, we are humbled and awed by the enormity of the challenges that lie ahead – to heal our nation’s wounds, redefine and strengthen its purpose, make democracy a living and effective experiment, promote economic growth, create jobs, revitalize our health and educational facilities and services, and quicken the pace of social progress and individual prosperity in this country.
Madam President, do not feel unenthusiastic on your campaign promise because a success story could leave an enviable legacy behind for the Sirleaf family. Let your desire to fight corruption go across the table and don’t be selective.
Your Government’s Promise On Corruption
“Fellow Liberians, we know that if we are to achieve our economic and income distribution goals, we must take on forcibly and effectively the debilitating cancer of corruption. Corruption erodes faith in government because of the mismanagement and misapplication of public resources. It weakens accountability, transparency and justice. Corruption in short changes and undermines key decision and policy making processes. It stifles private investments which create jobs and assures support from our partners. Corruption is a national cancer that creates hostility, distrust, and anger.
Throughout the campaign, I assured our people that, if elected, we would wage war against corruption regardless of where it exists, or by whom it is practiced. Today, I renew this pledge. Corruption, under my Administration, will be the major public enemy. We will confront it. We will fight it. Any member of my Administration who sees this affirmation as mere posturing, or yet another attempt by yet another Liberian leader to play to the gallery on this grave issue should think twice.
Anyone who desires to challenge us in this regard will do so at his or her personal disadvantage”.
In this regard and up to this date, I see no substantial efforts by this government to prosecute Madam Ellen Corkrum and her fellow indictees on the RIA corruption saga.
Madam President please be reminded that some members of the international community are watching in silence to see how your government will proceed with this issue. Even though Madam Cockrum is succeeding in a very tactical distractive mood by releasing several tapes on some high profile government officials with no relevance to her corruption case.
I see your government being more focused on those tapes than the real issue at bar; be wise Madam President before you lose the war on corruption. Go after those alleged corrupt officials and prosecute them before it is too late for your government. Suspect Cockrum is using her so called gossip tapes as a scapegoat to avoid being prosecuted for her corrupt practice. I now see that the entire country is being confused on this issue with the help of some media institutions that are giving more credence to the tape than the case at bar. Madam President, if you allow Madam Cockrum to succeed with her robust campaigns and malicious attitude and you go about dismissing your officials or urging them to resign; you will just be confirming Madam Cockrum’s position of your government.
To my media colleagues, I am urging you to be more professional on the issue at bar or else we might help to diffuse the process. We are all witnesses to Madam President’s position on corruption when she said corruption will be public enemy number one under her regime and her government will not tolerate corruption.
As media practitioners, we have a civil obligation to our country and we must begin to look in that direction. We should begin to put pressure on the United States Government so that they will help Madam President succeed on her campaign against corruption. Let the US government facilitate her Liberian counterpart in the prosecution of those corrupt officials that will run to the US after committing economic crime in Liberia. Just recently, in the US an Indian diplomat was arrested for bad labour practice. That can also be applied to Liberians who commit economic crimes in Liberia and flee to the US for federal protection.
Author: Charles B. Yates
Sr. Reporter INQUIRER Newspaper
Currently In New Delhi For Studies