While President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was addressing the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, September 24, 2013, a group of Liberians in the United States, under the banner of Concerned Liberians Against Corruption and Impunity or CLACI, in collaboration with the Movement of Liberians Against Corruption or MOLAC staged a protest action just outside the UN Headquarters.
According to them, their protest was against the government’s failure to deal with rampant corruption, impunity, abject poverty, affordable healthcare for Liberians and the deplorable educational system, which she referred to as a “mess”. The protest was characterized by negative slogans directed at the president in the presence of Americans and nationals of other nations visiting the UN Headquarters to either meet their leaders and officials or witnessed the proceeding at the General Assembly.
Even though the action of our compatriots was in line with “democracy”, it was also extreme to the extent that the utterances of the protesters, as well as the negative slogans sung by them did not bespeak well of the kind of Liberia being spoken about the world-over for the past seven years.
Calls by some of our compatriots abroad and at home for the President’s resignation only because of her “administration’s failure to fight corruption” in such manner and form may not only be disservice to the very Liberians themselves, but the image of the entire country many have and continue to have at a very high esteem because of the qualities of the President, whose assiduous international efforts have got Liberia back among the comity of nations.
While the demonstration may have been good, a forum with the Liberian Leader to expressed whatever grievances would have also been far more better and imparting, in terms of redress. What many of us Liberians have continuously refused to accept is the reality that poverty is not only the result of the government’s inability to respond to the needs of its citizens at all levels, but also the failure of society and its leaders to deal with issues of corruption at all levels.
It is no doubt that corruption begins at the level of society, especially in our homes, community, organizations, as well as our relationships, among others, longer before entering government circles, and we if we can begin to tackle such at the very beginning, the would be no need to fight it in government because the discipline would have already been instilled in actors with the government. It is no secret that those accusing President Sirleaf and her government of corruption et al would even find it very difficult to “cast the first stone” when asked as to their involvement in community and organizational activities without any linkage with corruption.
Our challenge, generally, must not be to constructively engage not only President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as head of the Executive Branch of Government, but also the Speaker and members of the Liberian legislature, as well as the Chief Justice and the Judiciary in seeking redress to issues of corruption, poverty. Etc., etc. Unless we “change our minds and attitudes” not only towards our country’s leadership, but the nation as a whole, our problems will continue to be unresolved.
The more we place the” resignation and overthrow”, as well as demonstration/protest, among others as the means of transforming our nation, in terms of resolving issues of corruption, poverty, etc., etc.,, there more retrogressive we become in terms of growth and development amid all of the God-given natural resources. This is why, if we must borrow from former Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh, we must “change our minds and attitudes”