President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says if her former Finance Minister Amara Konneh were to tell the story of past elections here, he would confirm that “elections are not won by boisterous crowd or baseless criticisms …”
Mrs. Sirleaf won two successive presidential terms in 2005 and 2011 – first against ex-football legend Sen. George Weah and then Cllr. Winston Tubman which suggests that elections are won by pulling, planning, strategizing, collaborations and commitment by simple and honest hard work.
Paying tributes to Mr. Konneh, who resigned as Finance Minister for a new job with the World Bank in Kenya, she said on Thursday, April 28 that the effort required [for winning elections] is sometimes sacrificial, as she reflected on his support to her presidential bid and subsequent work in government.
“In the past … years in the several positions he has held, Amara has demonstrated the intelligence, the competence of a professional; the commitment of a patriot and the loyalty of a friend,” she said. Mr. Konneh repeatedly wept at the investiture ceremony yesterday as President Sirleaf lavished praises on him for his services, commitment and loyalty demonstrated while working in her government.
The President described former Minister Konneh’s performance as going far beyond the shores of Liberia, as preparedness, efficiency and articulations won him place in all international forums in which he participated.
She said his ability to advocate for support to Liberia made her government to win the largest [recipient] of grants and budget supports, while at the same time, demonstrating that discipline was a bridge between goals and accomplishment.
“Amara and I have not always agreed, and there were times I was supposed to be demanding in support of those priorities I considered important to speed up our structural transformation. In many cases, he served as a shock absorber in the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature,” President Sirleaf noted.
In response, Mr. Konneh expressed gratitude to President Sirleaf for giving him the opportunity to serve, as well as his cabinet colleagues with whom he has worked, saying together under the administration of President Sirleaf, the government has taken major strides on the long journey toward economic and human development.
“We have paved some of the thorough fares that take Liberians from home to work, and from farm to market; we have made significant headway in building our electricity generation, transmission and distribution capacity; we have laid the legal and structural groundwork for public financial management reform and results oriented budgeting,” he said.
He said through the medium term expenditure framework, the government has taken tough decisions together to spend its limited resources on what Liberians need most – key projects such as the Mt. Coffee Hydroelectric Plant that will deliver cheap electricity to a private sector desperately in need of that growth promoting resource.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen