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Politics

Dysfunctional country

-Laymah Gbowee

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Madam Laymah Gbowee, one of Liberia’s 2011 co-winners of the Nobel Laureate says Liberia is a dysfunctional country under President George Manneh Weah who doesn’t show leadership during a global pandemic and has lawmakers who sign documents without reading them.

“We have a dysfunctional country. I’m sorry. Liberia is not functioning the way she should function,” she said during a live talk show via mobile on local broadcaster OK FM Wednesday, 22 July.

Madam Gbowee whose 2019 speech as National Orator for Liberia’s 172nd Independence Day celebration shoke almost every sector of the society, criticizes lawmakers here for signing documents without first reading to make informed decisions before signing those documents.

“I mean, let me go to the House first, for example. Who signs documents, pass a bill and then when the actual spending starts happening they go on social media to say we didn’t know that’s how this money business was going to be? Do they read at all?” she asks.

While she makes no specific reference to occasions at which these lawmakers signed documents without reading, her comment comes at a time Liberians still bear fresh memory of legislators’ controversial signing of a recast budget that contained US$25m as government’s contribution toward a US$30m for coronavirus food package.

Some of the lawmakers later began criticizing the very document after it had been passed. She wonders if lawmakers here are just concerned about “what we are going to get out of this particular thing,” because she sees Liberia still functions in a way that “nobody understands what the hell is happening.”

“The executive is at loggerhead with the legislative and those in opposition …, and you know it says that a house divided against itself will never stand,” she notes.

Madam Gbowee rules out any plan right now to contest the 2020 senatorial race due to love for doing what she is doing, but adds that when that time comes she will step into the politics of Liberia.

According to Madam Gbowee, there’s a serious global pandemic happening, under which a civil society group just did a survey that reported that about 40 percent of health institutions in Liberia lack personal protective equipment (PPEs).

Viewing such a report, Madam Gbowee says it leaves her thinking that God is on extra watch for Liberia because everyone here is just going by the mercy of God.

“There is no leadership. How many times have we heard the president’s voice since this corona crisis?” she wonders.

In a time of global pandemic, Madam Gbowee argues, every citizen needs to hear from the head of the country, saying his voice portrays the leadership even if what he says will be written by someone else.

“Where is that voice? During the Ebola crisis, and I’m not comparing good or bad. I’m just saying President Sirleaf was consistent in talking to the people. If you watch the global news that presidents and leaders out there talking in different countries of the world,” she continues.

“Where is President Weah’s voice? Leadership matters in these times,” Madam Gbowee says, adding that you as the father needs to get up and show authority, the one that she says Liberians do not see.

She believes that in ending the State of Emergency and ordering the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to return to their barracks, there was a need for President Weah to come back, address Liberians and update them on how far the country has come in battling the virus.

The military has been helping the Joint Security Force here in enforcing measures imposed by authorities to control the spread of the virus.

President Weah on Tuesday ordered the men and women of the Armed Forces of Liberia to return to barracks effective 12 midnight on 21 July.

However, cases of the virus are now far higher in the country than they were initially when Mr. Weah first declared the State State of Emergency in early April which had the country placed under a lockdown.

As at Wednesday, 22 July, Liberia’s total confirmed active cases had dropped to 433, down from 452 total active confirmed coronavirus cases as reported earlier on Tuesday, 21 July.

And that’s because the health authorities here had reported by 10:00PM on Wednesday, 22 July that there were 21 new recoveries while the death toll had risen to 71.

In all, Liberia has had 1,117 total confirmed cases since the coronavirus crisis started here and the country has also reported a total recovered cases of 613 throughout the crisis, that’s according to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) statistics.

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