President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is cautioning Liberia’s over 20 presidential candidates that the job they are seeking is a hard one, suggesting that any emerging victorious at the polls on October 10th would need discipline to guide the level of free speech that her administration has tolerated over the years.
“Y’all know something? This president job [is] hard. Plenty people want it, but they will feel it,” Mrs. Sirleaf notes during an interactive farewell tour of Montserrado County, specifically Kingsville, Todee District on Thursday, 31 August.
Though none of the presidential candidates attended the interactive forum between the President and citizens, as she did in other counties before campaign began here, she however cautions that the president can’t do everything.
While acknowledging that government could not finish all the work in the country in 12 years, Mrs. Sirleaf says she will leave the score card with the young people to decide, noting that the work will take some time.
According to her, sometime the president just runs everything by telephone, by meeting or by letter because whatever the president wants to be done, somebody got to be on that road to implement it.
“If you’re engineer, you got to be there to fix it; if you’re doctor, you got to be there to cure people. If you’re in the legislature, you got to make the law,” she says.
Commenting on the level of free speech endures under her administration, Mrs. Sirleaf notes: that [what is said] in the morning on the radio would sometimes want to tempt you to answer badly [to certain things], but then you seek God’s help.
“But you know we did that one because we wanted people to feel free,” and adds, “all the cursing thing that has been done here, they now get to the place where they curse this time nobody listen to them anymore then the cursing will stop.”
While stressing the importance of freedom of speech, President Sirleaf however warns that it also means freedom has responsibility. She says if freedom will be exercised here, it must be done in such a way that recognizes that where someone’s right ends, other’s right begins.
“That’s why you got to be responsible when you exercise freedom. But we thank God we brought the change, people were not used to that before, but now we need discipline.”
“But I thank God that with your help we have come a long way, now the other person can take it further,” she says. Mrs Sirleaf notes that with citizens’ support, Liberia is now at a place where it is going to 15 years of peace. During the tour, she held town hall meeting with the people in Nyehn, Todee District and dedicated several projects.
-Story by Winston W. Parley