In consonance with Article 58 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on Monday, January 25, 2016, delivered her Annual Message to the Joint Session of Liberia’s 53rd Legislature.
According to Article 58, “the President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s Legislative program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic the report shall cover expenditure, as well as income”.
And in fulfillment of such foregoing Constitutional obligation, the President’s engagement with the Joint Session of Liberia’s 53rd Legislature on Monday, January 25, 2016 – also monitored live on the local radio network across the country by most citizens, highlighted every facet of the nation’s socio-economic and political existence for the past year, as well as achievements and challenges characterizing its state of affairs and prospects for national renewal and progress.
In so doing, the Liberian Chief Executive extensively discussed issues relative to the troubling state of the Liberian economy since her last Annual Message in January 2015, now occasioning the current budget shortfall (of US$70m) hunting the administration, as well as National Security as it relates to the ability and capacity of the administration, in terms of its preparedness, to assume total national security at all levels of the country’s existence following the June draw-down of the United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL.
The President’s Annual Message also captured national issues such as health, education, infrastructure, international relations, as well as media relations (free press and free speech), among others.
Whether or not ‘ingredients’ of this year’s Annual Message may have been to the realities of the day, we can only admonish all us to constructively engage the issues as per the Address, devoid of whatever perception(s) and sentiment(s) that may characterize our own analysis and criticisms of the aforementioned.
How the Annual Address is handled by us must also be in consonance with the socio-economic and political realities, also being very cognizant of whatever achievements, challenges or behavior/attitudes that may have characterized the state of affairs as delivered by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the past one year.