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Ellen speaks on 2017 transition

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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has told a panel of the African Peer Mechanism Review or APRM that Liberia’s political maturity will shortly be tested as the country heads for transition in 2017, challenging the Governing Council to “be our advocates” by working with stakeholders, and impressing upon them.

“… It’s an important period for Liberia too because Liberia will be going to a transition and our own political maturity will be tested in a very short period of time …” President Sirleaf said Wednesday, 24 February when she met with delegates and the Lead Panel member of the APRM, the Governing Council at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.

She pledged government’s commitment to work with the independent Governing Council which is the APRM’s secretariat in Liberia that has been formulated, including giving them the support that they need to carry on their work.

“We’re going to look to the Governing Council to be our advocates as they meet the stakeholders and work with them and impress upon them,” she concluded. President Sirleaf and APRM Lead Panel Member to Liberia Madam Brigitte Mabandla signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Finance Minister Amara Konneh and delegates.

She says even though it may be difficult now, government will work with the independent governing council that has been formulated by ensuring they receive the needed support to execute their work. “Again I’m glad that Liberia will be a part of that international effort having played an important role in the formation of the SGD,” she said, noting that the resurgence of APRM is coming at a time when the importance of the APRM is going to be at its … peak because of the SGDs.

She cited the coming changes in the secretariat, some reform programs and effort to install it into the African Union Commission as a bonafide body , among others. Mrs. Sirleaf said she was glad to hear that the APRM has worked with the Liberian team to reach the country to a point of progress, particularly stressing that their work has gone on well and “can be considered successful so far.”
She acknowledged that Liberia has been a bit slow in joining the APRM, being consumed with so many things including reconstruction, putting in the laws, policies and strategies to enable the country to have a governance structure.

President Sirleaf expressed confidence that the APRM will have a very important role to play in monitoring what the countries do in setting their targets and achieving them. The APRM Lead Panel Member Madam Brigitte Mabandla assured President Sirleaf that the organization is mindful of its commitment to sustainability and invigoration of its mechanisms.

She reported to President Sirleaf that Liberia’s work has so far been a success, having met with authorities of the Governing Council including the co-chair Mr. Micolm Joseph. “And I must say that the operational officials of the secretariat … has been working very hard,” Madam Mabandla told the President.

Madam Mabandla told journalists after the signing ceremony that the agreement allows countries under review to commit to allowing the process to proceed as it is expected, which calls for giving the

Governing Council the space to do its work.

The Governing Council Co-chair Mr. Micolm Joseph says his institution wants to hold the President to her commitment made that government will support the process, on grounds that the absence of support will leave a challenge.

“We need financial support, we need the moral support – we need all the necessary, technical support. We’ve gotten commitment from multilateral international organizations, but for example, they won’t

be able to support the secretariat,” he said.

By Winston W. Parley

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