Corruption in Liberia remains a serious problem in the country. What concrete steps that have been taken to fight it?
Will the Government consider establishing a Fast Track court mainly for corruption as the Anti Graft commission(LACC-Liberia Anti Corruption Commission) is proposing?
Read comments from Liberia on the special interview of Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at 19:GMT
You can read this blog anytime from 18:30GMT today. More to come later on in the day.
And You Too, Ellen?
It beats my imagination to some level, and even beyond some level to have listened to a statement from Africa’s first female president-Ellen Johnson down- playing statement made by her chief bodyguard, Othello Warrick.
Quite frankly and with no ounce of surprise, she is entitled to her opinion like any Liberian citizen on anything she wants to comment on, and how she chooses to comment. But what is more disturbingly of concern is her latest utterances regarding the media blackout imposed on her by the Press Union of Liberia in the wake of Warrick’s bullying statement: “If they like, they can go on with the black out for the rest of the year.”
What a statement, Ma Ellen! What a tongue-tied way to respond to such national issue that hinges on the security of another group of Liberians who are doing a piece of job as their conscience depicts!
I am afraid to say that it is too soon for you, Ma Ellen, to ignore the strength and contribution of the media of Liberia to the glory you are parading. Have you forgotten, in less than a decade that it is the very media that created the platform for you to sit at the helm of power, after years of struggling, smartly smashing the heads of others in the name of fighting societal ills?
Oh yes, Ma Ellen, please recollect. This is the media which made you known globally; this is the media which made your actions and works popularly known today. This is the media, when you were in opposition camp, many years ago; you relied on to propagate your messages and views.
This is the media that hailed you as the iron lady of Liberia; this is the media that announced to the world the progress you were making in the investment areas; this is the media that you took on Belleh Yalla road; this is the media you took to South East to showcase the efforts your Government has made; this is the media you once said needed to be strong.
And then, you too Ellen Today! It was the media that trumpeted your plight to the Liberian people and the world when you were incarcerated by the late Samuel K. Doe Government. If the media had not informed the world about your plight, who would be aware of it? This is the very media you are disparagingly speaking against? And you too Ellen?
I am not saying you should not criticize the media when it goes wrong. You have the right
and for that matter, anyone has the right to criticize the media if it is carrying our unprofessional activities. But this one, it was the media day that your Chief bodyguard was invited.
The media said, come dine and wine with us. And at the end, Warrick said, I will wine, but I will tell use adjectives on some of you. It makes me to think of this saying: your action is akin to a crippled man being carried shoulder high by his relative and is saying, “Your ambit is smelling.” Good! The media has played very important role in this country and has helped to promote your agenda of change and transformation.
The media did not go on its own to write anything it wanted when it was needed in 1980s to voice out your views. Again, the media could not go on its during the ear of ex-president William R. Tolbert to inform Liberians when you criticized that leadership.
At that time, the press was friendly and was important. And you too Ellen! When the late Samuel K. Doe’s regime was criticized by you and others, the press was a friend to you. When you and few opposition politicians told Liberians and the world that 1985 election were rigged, the press was not asked to go on doing its own work.
We do know that all those years, there was no one like Othello Warrick and there as no statement made like that. But tell me madam, what your actions would have been if you were in opposition when this statement was made by either Doe’s Chief bodyguard or Taylor’s chief bodyguard?
Oh dear, the airwaves of radio stations and television stations would be flooded with condemnation to the highest level.
Also statements from you would have been all in the papers of newspapers. Indeed, when I sit and contemplate on some the utterances made by Africa’s first female president and look at her today, at times, I tell myself, “politicians will always be politicians and journalists will always be journalist.”
In 1997, the first elections, which president Sirleaf took part in, I remember a senior security officer of former president, Charles Taylor told some journalists who had gone to the stadium to cover his
rally; “if some of you are not trained, we will teach you lesson.” That statement went out like wild fire. I remember very well that candidate Sirleaf at the time spoke out against it and called on the
press to remain resolute and steadfast.
Oh yeah! When it is in your favor, the press is the darling club, but when it is not in support of something, the press becomes your ‘devil head’. And you too Ellen! I still find it hard to believe that it is
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaking like this today.
This is just distasteful and embarrassing to a president who has, over the past years boasted of press freedom to take this stand. Let us all know this old saying: the rope that hangs a monkey, can also hang a bamboo.
And you too Ellen! What would have happened if such a statement had been made by a police officer or an army officer? What the reaction would have been. Is it that no action is being taken because of the
closeness of Warrick to you? Wait a minute.
What is at stake here? It is that you instructed or couched him to make sure statement or what? Well, I do not know how true is it that the lady Warrick married to is a relative to madam president. Is that true? And you too Ellen!
Madam, do not leave a bad legacy behind. To be honest, you might have brought some level of stability to this land and made huge investment to come in as well, but you need to be careful in speaking on some national issues like what the EPS boss said.
Remember it was this same media in Liberia that you frequently called its leaders to calm down some issues. The same media you have worked with closely in solving some critical national issues. The same media you are trying to insinuate to go on with the black out.
Well, let it be known that whatever the case is today, the media and will remain the media. Leaders will come and go, but the press will remain to inform, educate and entertain the society. So, madam,
everyone is watching you. No matter what you say or do, we all watching.
And so, we are here. Remember “it is not good to destroy the object you use to cross over because you may be in need of it
tomorrow.” And you too Ellen?
Many years ago, my late mother Ma Vonyee, told me one thing whenever I came from school-take your book to read. Do not go to play marble or football or go to night club. If you want to be a good man tomorrow, just read, read and read. When you read, you will learn new things that will help you improve.
She gave me the piece of advice because I used to love playing soccer, marble and at times, going to see people dance in clubs. After sometimes, I asked her this question: Why are there many drinking places more than reading places-libraries? She only answered: if no reading places, take your book to read.
Well, after many years, I have taken keen interest in this work and have decided to see if the story has changed.
But the plain Talk today is no. It has, in fact become bad. Take a look around the city to see how many public reading places are there. Not many.
This is sad. Are you telling me today that we are a nation that only promotes drinking centers more than reading centers?
First of all, any country that does not invest in education, its future stand to be bleak. There are several reasons why there is a need to foster learning process.
The fact is, it is the key to the development of any nation, society and family.
In any country, when citizens are educated, they will be able to solve their own problem, have better knowledge of issues as well as the creation of awareness on social issues such as corruption, racism etc.
Few months ago, I went around to inquire why there were many drinking places opening in the city as against public reading places?
Many respondents gave different answers and made recommendations to national government.
That alcoholic beverages were cheaper than some school materials and import tax levy on raw material were very cheap.
More to that, there was no set laws or guidelines in establishing drinking centers or entertainment centers in the country. For some, they think if some of these laws do exist, they need to be executed to the later.
Read this: Out of twenty drinking centers or entertainment centers counted, you will only, maybe see one reading center or at times none.
Tell me, has the Ministry of Education come out to conduct a survey on this-to know how many reading centers or libraries in the city?
As the saying goes at times, education is everything. How does a small country like Liberia run well to become wealthy if 75% or so of its citizens are illiterate? What is disgusting is, to see youths in these drinking centers drunk. The Plain Talk is, it beats my imagination! Where are we heading?
I think there is a need for the Education Ministry to come out hard on school authorities and seek help from the Government in addressing these things. Some of those who perform well on dancing floor at entertainment centers do not even know their subject verb agreement. Worse, to solve some simple mathematical equations beyond algebra.
Take a look at Japan today. A country that had almost the same GDP with Liberia in the 1960s and 1970s can move up fast. Not only that, but it is a country with (zero) natural resources, but a highly educated population and sophisticated county. Look, see they are today among nations in terms of wealth. They are second to the United States.
Oh Liberia. We have many resources, yet our people remain in darkness in terms of education. A shame that there are many drinking centers more than reading places. Where will the drinking centers do for this country? Simple answer. To help ruin our society.
In Liberia today, education remains a cardinal tool for development and is essential in order to achieve a stronger economy.
Also, Liberia needs a good educational system to produce its own doctors, lawyers, engineers, and professors. Drinking centers will not produce these people for us, but will rather help to destroy them. This will help Liberia by not importing professionals, the country will ultimately keep the money in its economy. For example, a Nigerian Doctor working for a Canadian mining company in Brazil contributes more to the Nigeria than Canadian economies than he or she does to the Brazilian economy.
See, Cuba, such a small country has many medical Doctors today. Some of them do not have jobs in their field of study but have to become taxi drivers or so.
The plain Talk is invest in Education today and help discourage the establishment of drinking centers in the country.
Let us help promote reading centers and not drinking centers.
Until then, I see you next week.