President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has asked politicians here to refrain from politicking with her administration’s determination to deliver social services to the people, reminding that the next election is two years away in 2017.
In a nationwide address delivered Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, President Sirleaf said as Liberians approach the impending 2017 electoral cycle, there are many who are set to put everything in political context and begin the process of assigning blame and scoring political points at the expense of moving the country in the right direction.
“Like the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Ms. Christine Lagarde, reminded us when she visited a few months ago, there will be plenty of time for politics and to score political points. But at this crucial period in our development process, it is time to remain collectively engaged on delivering for our people and our country”, she pleaded.
The President said the time for Liberians to make their case for election is still ahead and there will be more than enough time to score political points but such period is still two years away, stressing “Let’s remain focused on achieving more for our people. Let us remember, all of you remember, that what we achieve today will be your inheritance tomorrow.”
President Sirleaf: “I make this plea not only to members of my government, but our fellow citizens in the private sector and ordinary individuals interested in seeking political office, that we must all prepare to work harder for our beloved country and people.”
She made the plea amidst huge criticisms here against the government’s failure to fight corruption and graft, and deliver on elections’ promises. At the same time President Sirleaf has boasted that her government instituted a number of institutional and governance reforms leading to transparency, increased voice and accountability, responsiveness; enhanced freedom, among others.
“The result”, she notes, “we have now some 56 newspapers, 35 radio stations and five television stations enjoying the fullest of freedom, sometimes without recognition of the constitutional responsibilities and other times undermine the economic potential and the stability of our country.”
The President urged the local media to be more investigative and less sensational in its reportage. But the leader of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) Simeon Freeman has been quoted as criticizing the President’s speech, noting that Madam Sirleaf said nothing new in Thursday’s address.
On the President’s call for politicians to wait for 2017 to engage in active politics, Mr. Freeman reportedly reminded that Madam Sirleaf had used her Annual Message to the Legislature in 2010 to announce her second term bid when in fact, the polls were one year away.
By Jonathan Browne