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Ellen: Good governance requires fair share of resources

Former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf says good governance requires the proper management of public assets and resources through systems of transparency and accountability and a sharing of those benefits in manners that are fair, just and equitable.

Delivering a keynote address recently in Freetown, Sierra Leone at the Concord Times Summit 2021 on Good Governance and Post – Covid – 19 Inclusive Recovery, Mrs. Sirleaf said those who manage public space and enact public policies have a greater responsibility to ensure those who work in the private sector are equally assured of a predictable and business-friendly environment.

“A business-friendly environment will help enhance citizen participation in the proper management of both public and private assets and where possible promote good public-private partnership assure development, prosperity growth and greater wellbeing of the citizens,” she said.  

“There is more to good governance. Those who have agreed to be led also have responsibilities to remain engaged including through civil society organizations, contacts with their direct representatives, show respect for the rule of law, be civil in actions, demonstrate honesty and diligence as well as participate in and support developmental activities,” Mrs. Sirleaf added. 

She noted that for good governance to work, all must play their roles, and commit to playing it well.

According to her, the truth also is that national leaders have the added duty to be good exemplars of governing well because they have the authority of the State to act, noting that each action is best weighed against the efficacy of the rule of law and in the public’s best interests.

She noted that national leaders can take forceful actions guided by laws and public policies to produce results that can move a country up the ladder of governance.

“For example, the Constitution, statutory or policy initiatives such as quotas can be used to functionally address marginalization and exclusion and thereby bridge gender gaps as well as heal historic tensions and animosities in ethnicity and religion,” said Mrs. Sirleaf.

She commended Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio and the Government and people of Sierra Leone for enacting the Sexual Offender (Amendment) Act 2019 that stipulates a minimum sentence of 15 years for a rape conviction. 

Addressing the issue about the post-Covid-19 Inclusive Recovery, Mrs. Sirleaf noted that in any dialogue today on the state of the world, the COVID-19 Pandemic takes center stage. 

She said this brings to memory the terrible experiences of the Ebola epidemic which was a terrifying experience as the unknown enemy was being battled.

“COVID-19, now a raging Pandemic invariant such as Delta, has highlighted the deeply interconnected nature of our world, and the extent to which our own security is wholly dependent on the security of others,” she added. 

She suggested the need to start first with vaccine equity, the primary means of prevention, in responses that are ongoing.  

“It is simply wrong for the richer nations to vaccinate 80 – 100 percent of the population of their countries while the poorer nations such as those in Africa have vaccinated less than 5 percent of their population,” former President Sirleaf lamented.

She gave credit to the United States, the European Union, and other countries that have donated surplus vaccines but noted that this falls far short of the requirements of the 92 low- and middle-income countries.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Sirleaf congratulated the Concord Times Newspaper on its 29th Anniversary, and for its history and reputation for independent reporting focused on development journalism. 

She urged the paper to act at all times to jealously guard its reputation and honor the ethical responsibilities of the media profession.

“Across the government and civil society, the media and religious community, the valued presence of all of you is a demonstration of your faith in the challenges, progress, and potential of our two countries – Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have so much in common, from history to culture, and from tradition to fragility,” she said.

Mrs. Sirleaf also commended participating journalists, media practitioners, and the Concord Times family, as they took a break from their daily reporting assignments to organize the event whose goal is to stimulate conversations about the direction of national governance, global challenges, and the future of the region.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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