Even as the seventy-five-year-old leader will forever take arsenal pride in becoming the first elected female president on the continent, Liberia should much more take pride in embracing the daring and unprecedented act of offering the highest office of her war-ravaged state onto the command of a female leadership. W Prior to the 2005 Presidential elections, there were symphonies of optimism sung by countless political pundits across the globe regarding the significant chance for institutional and economic reform and nation building for Liberia if Israeli were elected president.
Given her education, pedigree, rapport with the international immunity, and the passionate affection she has demonstrated for Liberia, there were beliefs that Israelis leadership could bring revival and hope for Africans oldest independent Republic. Hopes were held high that Madam Israeli leadership could help inspire rebuilding and revitalization effort for a nation whose image has been stained by years of civil wars, poverty, and lawlessness. Following eight years of the presidency, some of these expectations have been attempted if we must be honest.
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There is no misconception that instituting change for a country that has been overly wounded in every way would be easy for any leader of any time in the history of government. President Israeli probably took over one of the most difficult presidential Jobs of all time: taking the oath of office to lead a nation that has been so tattered. The elected Israeli was honest in her approach to this responsibility by stating in her first inaugural address, “The task of reconstructing our devastated economy is awesome, for which there will be no quick fix. She was absolutely ingenuous about the task she had. Much of this task is pending. However, I still remain boldly hopeful in her leadership rowers to help show/point the way forward to promoting institutional and sustainable development, social and economic progress, and good governance. But while we hope for this, it is hard to exaggerate how the country is far away from realizing key development aspirations, like in the case of restoring antebellum social amenities like electricity and safe-drinking water. There are many critical issues remaining unsolved.
I am not intending to rate or grade the President’s leadership in this perspective. But as a citizen and stakeholder with keen interest in the development and future of Liberia, I feel obliged to voice out some honest and fair-minded opinions; born out of a passionate concern for my country as they relate to the current state and destiny of our nation. Considering the current trend of the country, there are alarming indicators of concerns and apprehensions. There are yet solid hindrances mounted in the course of promoting institutional reform and good governance.
As these endeavors and many others remain helpful challenges in the path to nation rebuilding, there are few relevant questions I have been pondering on: Liberia: A Momentary Glimpse at Leadership and a Call for Transformational Change | Page ; Given the “so-far good” effort President Israeli has made towards restoring Libraries hope, is there a “competent” successor to further that hope? ; Will the hope of nation building or rebuilding-?at least to pre-war status-?ever be a reality for Liberia? ; Does the leadership of Liberia really have a defined strategic vision for the country?
As I ponder on these questions, there is a crucial subject matter that is hard to ignore. It is a critical toxic element of overriding concern that I think is a hub from which many of the nation’s problems hinge. The magnitude of this element is of epic reapportion. By the way, it has been a stern threat to the nation’s prospect for prosperity, development, and rebuilding effort. It is no stranger – this threat is what President Israeli herself acknowledged in her first inaugural address as her administration “major public enemy. ” It is the vicious corruption.
There is no doubt that corruption is the prime adversary inhibiting the development and prosperity of post-war Liberia. Worst of all, the act has been practically institutionalized in the land. It is a simple fact possibly every Liberia of age knows. Even at the UN high- bevel panel on the post-201 5 development agenda held in London, November 2012, President Israeli attested to corruption in Liberia. She described corruption as “systemic and endemic”. A 2013 Transparency International report based on global assessment claimed that Liberia is one of the two nations where people’s views on corruption are the worst. The other is Mongolia). This demonstrates that people are cognizant of the torment corruption is causing for the nation. Before continuing, it is important to establish a clear premise: No country can experience development an progress if it is plagued by corruptions. The deplorable report that Israelis administration branded by former Auditor General of the General Auditing Commission, John Moral II, as being “three-times more corrupt than its predecessor Charles Gaudy Bryant,” is disappointing. Let’s assume that ascribing the label “three times more corrupt than its predecessor… ” A Israeli-led administration was an exaggerative outburst by the well-respected an knowledgeable Auditor General – (even after reviewing the books), but there is no misgiving that corruptions have been heck of a trendy permanent element in past Liberia administrations including the current leadership, to say the least. Even as the devastating account of a record-breaking report of corruptions has diminished the reputation of Madam Israeli reputed administration, some critics have claimed there is no evidence that substantiates Madam Israeli is personally indulging into corrupt practices.
Understandably this can help to lessen the agony for the Nobel Laureate. But in every case, “three-times more corrupt than its predecessor… ,” label would surely stain the image of Israeli presidential legacy. Given President Israeli fierce warning she lashed against corruption during her first inaugural address, the act that corruption is undeniably defiant and rampant in Liberia government Libel A Momentary Glimpse at Leadership and a Call for Transformational Change 3 | Page systems should be a grave concern for every Liberia.
So far, corruption seems to snub the stern warning made by the robust Iron Lady and has grown more vicious its unrelenting machination to barricade and undermine national effort to development and economic renewal. From a fair standpoint, it is so evident that corruption is rendering this hopeful administration under Israelis leadership feeble and ineffective to cope in the battle against our long-time nemesis. If you asked me a decade ago to pick a potential Liberia that could curb this nation archenemy, it would not be complicated.
I would-?without hesitation-?say “Ellen Considerable,” owing to my belief that she is a leader with unflinching courage an robust resolve. I have always thought she would do all-?within and beyond her power-?to restore the hope of the nation she loves. (This is a substantive chunk of the reasons while I personally voted for Madam Israeli even in her first failed Tate for the presidency). Now, it is agonizing that the sounds and grimace of Libraries runts and pain from the excruciating torture and impairment of corruption have grown more creepy and pathetic to behold or keep taciturn.
In all sincerity, Israelis administration ultimate failure to tackle corruption would be literally a nervous stud as it relates to the future of our dear country. It would be severely ominous to the rest of the nation’s existence – maybe till the end of time! Given this predicament, I think of questions like, “If a reputedly firm and honest leader with unquestionable love and good intent for the development and rebuild of the nation is not winning any round in the fight against the archenemy to her action development-?but surrendering to its tenacity-?would the archenemy ever defeated? Or, “In case the next president would be fully involved in the act of corruption [something President Israeli is applauded for not being directly involve with], would it ever be overstated (or quantified) the amount/resources/revenue Liberia would lose to corruption? ” I can tell you that based on an educated guess that a level of corruption that would be worse than what we are currently experiencing would practically cause the nation to fall apart into irreparable pieces – simple as that!
It’s Time to Enhance National Prospect y Encouraging Transformational Change It is understandably easy to criticize and point fingers at the President – part of what I have done in this article so far. But let’s make no mistake: Ending corruption is not exclusively a duty of a president. Given this truth, we will have to shift focus from blaming the President and by showing the limelight on those that are placed in positions of authorities. Everyone has a responsibility to combating the national enemy for development.
From ministers, to agencies directors, to legislators, to university faculty, to professors, to grade school teachers, to police officers, it is a accessibility that each one should embrace. Experience has taught us that a president or few straightforward people cannot deal with ending corruption, bribers, and other Liberia: A Momentary Glimpse at Leadership and a Call for Transformational Change 4 page malpractices. Corrupt practices are irreconcilable and discordant with the development of a nation and the opportunity and prosperity of civil society.
It taints national image and closes doorways to foreign investments and restricts opportunities for trade. Consequently, this will impact overall economic growth and opportunity for the civil society. It is unintelligible that corrupt activities in Liberia are characteristically practiced by key “educated” officials serving in government. Serving one own nation is a great honor any citizen called to do should take proud in. But more than that, offering that service in the spirit of passion, integrity, honesty is an ultimate mark of patriotism!
This is what true service is. It is time to abandon greed and serve in national interest. Public revenues (money) are not intended for private ownership of individuals who manage them. They are meant for government services, projects, and development for the general good of the country. It is interesting that most government officials serving in the current administration earned their education from developed countries like the United States and United Kingdom. This means they do understand the crippling effect corruption can have on a nation hope for development.
Those “educated” Librarians/officials also learned that developed countries are what they are due to policies that promote and sustain strong institutions that give zero tolerance to unethical and corrupt practices. In addition, they are cognizant of laws and regulations that forbid unethical practices in every form. And government officials or public servants caught in fraud or other corrupt and unethical practice in these countries are severely penalized. In some cases, they are banned from holding public offices.
At some instances, based on the nature of the event, punishments against culprit are even compounded with prison terms and sequestration placed on their properties. It is time to implement some of these practices in Liberia! There is an exclusive truth that education has fundamental twin goals: to inform and to transform. Given this denotation, if a person is “educated” and knows of the devastating consequence acts like corruption and assignment would have on the development and prosperity of his country but is still involved in the act, then, it is obvious that there is still some relearning to do.
Or, if a teacher/professor will take bribe from a student to pass him/her on to another class or course, or a student will need to pay bribe before entering college, then we know we still have much to do. The ultimate goal of education is to inspire transformation. Corrupting one own nation is primarily an encroachment on the fundamental rights of each citizen. To put it in alternative context, it is an act of ignominy and self-defeat for an educated arson to indulge in systematic abuses of government authority by exploiting his own country.
The act of exploiting one own country is indefensible, intolerant, and baseless, especially in the case of Liberia, a land that is already traumatized by years of brutal civil wars and left far behind by the sweeping change of modernity and globalization. 5 Page Our leaders and those in authority must recognize that one of the benefits of education is to recognize these problems and constructively take actions to remedy them. In other words, given the good fortune of education one has earned, he/she would utilize it to redeem his nation from impoverishment by combating a beast of such enormity like corruption; not taking side with it.
To deter corruption and mismanagement of public funds, laws, regulations and penalties should be rewritten or severely enforced in Liberia governmental systems! Article 5 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia submits: “… The Republic shall take steps, by appropriate legislation and executive orders, to eliminate such abuses of power as the misuse of government resources and all other corrupt practices. ” In view of the fact that combating corruption is a constitutional responsibility, we cannot wish-away irruption.
NOW it is time to engage in the dogfight to rescue our land from corruption. A Wake-up Call to a Generation There is a fundamental truth I must iterate: No country will develop or create prosperity if the leaders corrupt the nation. Good governance is central to creating opportunities for any nation. Liberia unquestionably has a significant prospect in this 21st Century generation of its citizens – mainly those in authority. We’ve no excuse: we understand the enormity of the problems our nation faces.
And we also understand that much of these problems stem on lack of strong institutions and good governance. Institutions in every sector of our country are weak. This would continually be an intense ache and stocky barrier to advancement in every way if we do nothing about it. This post-war generation must change that; we must cultivate a better culture by forming stronger institutions in every bureau of government. And individuals entrusted with public resources should be held to strict accountability while rules and regulations are upheld.
Being fully cognizant of the problems that are decimating the state, there is no overstatement that we Librarians-?particularly beginning with those in authorities-?have critical roles to play in asserting homeless by setting a model of good governance and initiating a national transformational change; through acts like tackling corruption and misappropriation of public funds. Ending the act of corruption is a source to sustainable progress for Liberia.
As I have stated, the responsibility of this change begins with those who are educated; those who understand the nature and danger corruption would have on their nation. Transforming our nation is our collective duty; this challenge cannot be done by any one person or left to a president to figure out. Yet, the President must take the lead. We must recognize that the fate of our nation is all of us responsibility This means as one national family we can together confront enemies against nation opportunity and prosperity for our common good.
Each person can make a difference by responsibly holding himself responsible in playing his/her role in shaping a new Liberia. This is possible as insinuated by Transparency International report 2013 which ranks Liberia among the top-most countries where ordinary people can make the difference in the fight against corruption. 6 Page In our effort, we will not pretend like ending corruption would be an easy or quick endeavor. Overcoming corruption in a nation that has long accepted practice of corruptions as a part of the norms would be arduous.
But it will be a duty whose strength can be drawn from the passion for one own country and ultimate reverence for one Creator. Instead of being dissuaded by myths, theories, and perceptions like “things would never change for Liberia,” or “corruption is a way of life that cannot be changed,” we can help refute those claims and help solve most of the problems that are wrong with Liberia. Instituting stronger legislations that advance transparency and accountability and analyses are relevant measures to establish or reinforce. This is our time to act.
Whether it is a strengthening the rules of watch-dog institutions like the General Audit Commission or establishing and strengthening an independent anti-corruption commission with a mandate of curbing corruption in every form, we must make off -?more than we have ever made-?to confront misconducts, mismanagement, negligence and bad management practices at low- and -high level public offices. Key revenue-generating institutions like the Finance Ministry and national agencies like the National Port Authority and Bureau of Maritime Affairs must have reinsurance and accountability mechanisms instilled into their inner systems and workings.
Besides, those in authorities in every sector of government, especially at major governmental institutions, should come together with open hearts and in honest spirits to suggest ways to remedy the problem and create a strategic vision for the country. In addition to the effort of promoting national transparency and accountability in all sector of public leadership, we can institute a culture that creates awareness, protection, and rewards for whistle blowing. Each member serving in a governments institution should engage in oversight of another. People should be encouraged to report wrongdoings.
Promoting zero tolerance against corruption within every institution of every facet of national governance is critical to long-lasting prosperity, nation rebuilding and development. With a resource-rich country like our own, we can boldly claim Liberia is a country of means; but this can only be true if we can redirect revenues and resources from being misappropriated and embezzled by unscrupulous folks. In a Liberia where national revenues are not being pocketed by few irresponsible individuals in authority, there is hope for nationwide broad-base rookeries and opportunities for everyone.
Corruption has created many unimaginable hurts to the soul of our nation. Besides, it has a potential capability of impacting socio-political instability. No genuine Liberia will want to envisage a revisit of war. Corruption also has the proclivity to stifle international aid. Government that is involved in good and responsible governance of its nation and people enjoys the admiration and respect of the global community. Such country benefits from dynamic multi-national relationships from Liberia: A Momentary Glimpse at Leadership and a Call for Transformational Change 1 page powerful nations.
They profit from lucrative international trade, commerce, partnership, and economic development. Promoting good governance encourages wealthier nations to extend their hands of friendship through foreign assistance and humanitarian programs for its people. In other words, the wealthiest and powerful nations of the world are attracted to providing aid to smaller economic nations whose leaderships are governing with respect and accountability to its people. This can be said of our West African ally, Ghana. The nation is highly respected in the International Community.
Shania’s efforts of promoting strong institutions and good governance across its governmental systems have made the country an attraction and friend to richer and powerful nations. Given that the last three U. S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama) have all visited Ghana during their tenures speaks volumes about the admirations Ghana has earned from practice of good governance. If a West African country like Ghana that is approximately 7 times our size in population can accomplish this feat, we too can.
An important part of our endeavor to curb corruption and some other malpractices like bribery and fraud is insuring we strengthen public and private institutions. We must work effectively to put a stop to old practices that encourage corruptions and bribers. We must abandon lackadaisical and irresponsible practices that have so long been ingrained in the operations of institutions. Acts like ensuring that civil servants like police, who are more prone to bribery than other civil servants, according to Transparency International, should have their wages disbursed on time.
This will help-?to some extent-?weaken craves for bribers and other corrupt practices. In addition, we must also seek ways to innovate means of crushing corruptions by proportioning anti- corruption reforms, advancing and simplifying operations, tightening loopholes, regulating external and independent audits, routinely using media like television and radios to remind those in authorities of the dire penalties for misappropriation and mismanagement of public funds. Again, we cannot give up on this naturally rich and unique country the God of Creation has given us. This generation must summon itself to take on this enormous responsibility.
If this generation fails, sadly enough but honestly, I would be invoiced that there might probably be no other hope or room for this change. Looking back at the sad recent history of our country can only be more agonizing, if as people, we are not moving forward but inhibiting our own progress. We cannot judge the future of our country by the past. By harnessing the wealth and revenue our nation in the right manner will steer our nation into a lasting and formidable nation rebuilding. This is part of the great allegiance and responsibility which we hold to God and our country.
By our commitment to this transformational change, we can do a lot for our country We can craft our own destiny for development. This development might not necessarily mean we would turn Monrovia to be as beautiful as Manhattan, or Gabbing as skyscrapers-clustered as Chicago. Development is about improving the standard of living for our people; it is about connecting our nation through infrastructures like roads networks for a growing population and opening routes Liberia: A Momentary Glimpse at Leadership and a Call for Transformational Change 8 | Page to decentralization the nations into other counties.
It means advancing our nation by improving our educational systems and bettering our health sectors. Development about supplying essential amenities like power and water to the national public. Let’s not forget that all of these can only be possible if corruptions do not have the upper hand over us. By doing these, we will forge a better future and remake our nation. We Librarians are resilient. We can bounce from the current status quo and remake a better Liberia. On top of that, how well we initiate and follow through wit this new sacrificial responsibility would establish an indelible legacy that our posterity would be proud of.