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Editorial: Inside the President’s Capitol Building Visit

Employees of and most members of the Liberian Senate may have been ‘caught unaware’ by the arrival of the President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the Capitol Building, the seat of the Legislature on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. While some may view it as not a surprise, it is also not normal for the President of Liberia to visit the Capitol Building unannounced in an un-ceremonial manner and fashion as she did on Tuesday.

Probably and undoubtedly, it may just be too difficult to divorce the President Pro-Temp of the Liberian Senate and Senate’s Committee Chairman on the Executive from such arrangements considering the political gimmicks which continue to characterize Liberian Government and politics. In accordance with a number of follow-ups made by the New Dawn-Liberia, two major issues which threatened President Sirleaf’s interests may have urgently attracted and kept her with members of the Liberian Senate for about four hours.

While her Press Secretary may have hidden behind the ongoing threatening security situation at the Liberian-Ivorian border in Grand Gedeh County in the Southeast of the country, as well as general budget matters to escape the actual issues, it is the reality that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had visit the Senate primarily to “beg” them to reconsider their ‘vote of no confidence’ in Acting Mayor Mary Broh, her best friend and also soften their critical and uncompromising position on the 2012/2013 National Budget submitted by the Minister of Finance a few weeks ago.

Senate Pro Temp Milton Findley and others condemned the draft national budget as lacking policy statement, describing it as “bundles of papers with huge figures with interpretations,” an impression of their dissatisfaction and resistance to an number of items in the document.

Initially, Mayor Broh had attempted taking the Senators for a ride by resisting their decision for her appearance, but the declaration of a vote of no confidence accompanied by an official letter to the President of Liberia may have compelled her to embark on an intensive lobby with her associates, including her best friend Madam President, to maintain her glamorous and lucrative City mayor job.

Because the two foregoing issues of paramount and personal interest to President Sirleaf, it was most important to scarify four of her official working hours on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 to “sit and eat” with the honorable men and women of the Senate as a way of expressing “remorse and begging for forgiveness” on behalf of the budget committee and Mayor |Broh.

Four hours of passionate interactions and probably, compromises with the “men and women” on the Capitol may have truly soften the ‘ground’ considering the practical politics enshrined in the operations of the Liberian Government. And in the shortest possible time, Mary Broh will once more be ‘on top of things in Monrovia without fear, while the draft budget will just be approved “like that” without considering the general interest of the people of Liberia, including increment in the salaries of nurses, mid-wives and other medical practitioners, as well as state security personnel.

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The fact that the budget committee led by the Minister of Finance deliberately disregarded the dignity and labor of civil servants by not adding on to the very little that they current earn, it was incumbent on the “people’s representatives (the Legislators)’ to restore such dignity while discussing the draft budget. It is hoped that ‘it will hold’.

In all sincerity, the fact that Liberia continues to have three separate, but coordinate branches of government, positive and selfless interactions-whether un-ceremonial or ceremonial or even unannounced, must always interplay not only in the interest of a particular group of government officials, but the general Liberian populace.

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