Yes, the government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is extremely corrupt. The citizens are aware of it. Transparency International is aware. In fact, they have reported on it many times. The United States Government is also aware of the rampantly corrupt nature of the Sirleaf-led government. In the United States Human Right Report of 2008, for example, it was reported that corruption in President Sirleaf's government was at MOST levels.
In its 2009 report, the United States Government indicated that corruption was at ALL levels. In 2010, the report indicated that corruption permeated the Silrleaf government with impunity. Former Auditor-General John Morlu indicated that the Ellen government was three times more corrupt than its predecessor. Yes, we are aware of President Sirleaf's government's corrupt nature.
Yes, we are aware that many people have accused President Sirleaf of practicing nepotism in her government, citing her children and other relatives occupying important jobs and positions. Yes, we are aware of President Sirleaf's nepotistic practice.
Yes, we are aware of people's remark that President Sirleaf is treating true reconciliation cosmetically, irrespective of the fact that she set up a reconciliation commission. In a divisive election overcrowded with scores of presidential candidates and political parties, leading to a second round in which the only other political party boycotted, many had thought that the President would have truly begun the process of genuine reconciliation by appointing leading members of the opposition in her second-term government; instead, she chose to do otherwise. Indeed, we are aware of all this.
Yes, we are aware that the road conditions of our nation are terribly bad. Streets and roads in Monrovia and its environs are terrible, with some looking as if the government does not know about their existence. Surely, we know that terrible road conditions are destroying our vehicles and also causing the lives of our people, besides bring shame to us.
Indeed, we are aware that the Ellen government is slow in restoring electricity to the nation, especially to its capital and adjacent areas. The sounds of generators deafen our ears besides these machines polluting our environment. Parts of Central Monrovia are dark. Sinkor, Duport Road, Old Road, Pipeline, Air Field, Fiamah, Congo Town, Gardnersville, Barnersville, and numerous other places remain as dark as they were during the war brought or supported by Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and others. Yes, we know of all this.
Yes, we are aware that the price of a bag of rice keeps climbing under the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. We are paying more than we used to pay under President Charles Taylor and far beyond what we used to pay under President Samuel Doe. We are aware of all this.
But the million-dollar question is whether all the presidential candidates that participated in the 2011 elections would have done a better job than President Sirleaf is doing. We also wonder whether those causing noise now would be any different if they were the president, or they are doing it because they reason it provides them an opportunity to cause noise and project themselves as the right people. Who are the would-have-been-better-than-Ellen politicians out there?
Would they have been better in causing the international community to waive Liberia's more than four billion United States dollars of debt? Who are the would-have-been-better-than Ellen politicians out there?
Would they have been able to provide electricity to the entire country and, if not the entire country, would they have been able to restore electricity to the capital city and its environs by now? Who are the would-have-been-better-than-Ellen politicians out there?
Would they have had a corrupt-free government? Would they have been more serious on the fight against corruption in order to minimize the practice, if not to eradicate it? Would they have punished or prosecuted their relatives and friends involved in corruption or indicted by the audit reports released by the General Auditing Commission (GAC)? Would they have discouraged back-door dealings? Would they have discouraged signing concession agreements based on golden handshakes? Who are the would-have-been-better-than-Ellen politicians out there?
Would they have not employed their relatives and friends in government? Would they have truly followed the merit system and would have gone out for qualified Liberians, irrespective of their political orientation? Would they have publicly and privately encouraged their relatives to forget about government jobs and enter the private sector? Who are the would-have-been-better-than-Ellen politicians out there?
Would they have given us more freedom of expression and of the press than President Sirleaf has done? This is not to say that all is well under her administration, as we are aware that the President does not like stories and articles that pinpoint her weaknesses and mistakes. She has personally and directly complained about some of the critical articles and commentaries we have written about her or about her government. But the fact is that the free speech that we enjoy today is unprecedented. Who would have done better than she is doing? Who are the would-have-been-better-than-Ellen politicians out there?
To be continued...
Believe me, my people. We will never stop following the issues.