Liberia’s 167th Independence celebrations this year are truly destined for the Southeast in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties. The decentralization of the country’s Independence celebrations annually is the administration’s way of taking development to the people amid its over-app national development programs- thanks to the County and Social Development Funds introduced by the Government of Liberia.
Even though the process leading to these county celebrations may have been characterized by rivalries between county administrations and Legislators, success is always achieved at the end to the advantage of the entire citizenry. Just recently, ahead of this year’s celebrations, the Southeast “received its share of the pie” when the political rivalry ensued between Sinoe County Superintendent J. Milton Teahjay and Representative Matthew Zarzar may have amounted to a threat against the celebrations in the county in the absence of a speedy resolution.
A communication written by Representative Zarzar instructed the Finance Ministry not to release funds to the Sinoe County Administration until a forensic audit was executed against the entire Milton Teahjay Administration- the basis of which the Ministry reportedly reneged on disbursing funds to the county, thus “killing” the momentum within the workforce for all projects, including the construction of the Superintendent Compound, as well as the Sports Stadium, among others.
But again, there mere fact that President Ellen Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is currently on an assessment tour of Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties (since arriving on Sunday, March 16, 2014), we are of the strongest conviction that there may now be a common ground, through the President’s intervention.
While Lawmaker Matthew Zarzar may have a genuine concern regarding expenditure of the county’s funds, the President’s intervention (if at all she really did, even though her presence indicates that) only suggests to the Lawmaker and others that the action recommended to the Finance Ministry was untimely and against the interest of the nation.
President Sirleaf’s presence in Sinoe– the prime host of the 167th Independence Day celebrations, further suggests that for the Representative of the Sinoe people to institute such action because of his political rivalry with Teahjay amid the bureaucratic bottom-neck characterizing the accessing of county funds at the Ministry of Finance only show the lack of interest not only in Sinoeans, but Liberians in general.
Representative Zarzar’s action would have been wholeheartedly welcomed and appreciated in the interest of accountability and transparency either long before the selection of Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties for the July 26 celebrations or even following the events. But to raise such matter just four months to the events was only untimely, unfortunate and an attempt to deny the Sinoe people the net benefits of the Independence Day celebrations in their county.
As she has always done in counties which previously hosted the July 26 celebrations, President Sirleaf’s assessment tour of Sinoe and Grand Kru is obviously indicative of the fact that, indeed, “Southeast 2014” would be great. The entire citizenry of Sinoe and Grand Kru-no matter their locations, can only be urged to consider the decision by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Administration to celebrate this national event with them at home as a “way paver” for the over-all development of the two counties; and this would only and only if unity becomes the hall-mark of their leaderships.
The people of the Southeast, especially Sinoe County must and continue to understand that in UNITY, there STRENGTH; and the only way for them is unity. Sinoeans, including Representative Zarzar and Superintendent Teahjay, must see President Sirleaf’s current assessment visit as “diminishing the threats against this year’s July 26 Independence celebrations” in Sinoe County.