-MICAT boss replies Kofi Woods
Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe has strongly condemned claims by former Public Works Minister Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods that Liberia’s problem is due to leadership failure and brokenness.
Attorney Woods, addressing the installation of officers of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia recently in Monrovia said, the country is experiencing economic difficulties due to bad decisions by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and diaspora Liberians who came here under the guise of contributing and leaving lucrative positions abroad, are now exiting Liberia during these difficult moments.
But Minister Nagbe has rejected the assertion by the ex-Public Works Minister, who also served as Minister of Labour in the Sirleaf Administration. Nagbe told the MICAT regular press briefing Tuesday, 19 April at the ministry on Capitol Hill that if the government will fail,it is due to those officials of government who turned down their positions, or resigned their posts just to satisfy their political desire, saying “I don’t pay much attention to statement that cannot be proven by people who once held lucrative positions in cabinet; what sense does it make for an ex-official of government to say negative things about the government that he first worked for and held series of lucrative positions?”, he asked.
“Lets us stop throwing cheap shouts that this government lacks leadership ability, and has done nothing to improve the living condition of its citizens”,Minister Nagberesponded. He described the assertions against the President and the government at large as “senseless and unfair”, arguing if for any reason you resigned your post, there is no need for badmouthing the government which you once worked for; it makes no sense.”
Attorney Woods: “We are at the perils of your bad decisions. We are broke. True leaders must remain and endure the difficult times just as we lavished in the good times. We must remain here and share in the agony and pains of ordinary people. This is the kind of leadership we demand! While our coffers bleed and some of us flee.”
The one time rights advocate said Liberia suffers a Leadership deficit, which he explained, is more than the Presidency, adding “It includes all institutions, organizations and social structures of our society: Be it religious, social, political, cultural, etc. This virus is eating our country and wrecking our institutions.”
According to him, Liberian leaders want to be idolized and adored. They see themselves as gods to be worshipped. They want to be served rather than serve. They don’t have a humble heart. Rather than practice self-denial, they demand entitlements.
On the contrary, he stressed that good leaders must summon the courage to change policies, laws and procedures deemed draconian rather than use them against perceived enemies, challenging the elected leaders of AFELL, “Your leadership must not succumb to the trappings of nepotism, patronage, revenge and exclusion. It must seek to include all female lawyers in spite of age, background, religion, etc. You must reach out to all.”
But Minister Nagbe says if the Government of Liberia were broke as the ex-minister claims, the why it is not hutting its developmental agenda, including stopping of building roads, stopping civil servant salaries, providing good and quality education, among others,noting that when ex-officials start to make comments like these it sends a negative impression about the country.
It may be recalled that Minister Nagbe appearing on state radio few months ago, argued the path that Liberia took to 14 years of civil conflict held the country in a complete coma, because there were nothing to point to but the coming of Madam Sirleaf has brought many achievements.
“During past leaderships, this country was like a dying child in coma who cannot walk or even say something but her [President Sirleaf] stewardship has rescued us from comma.” In an analogy, he said if a child were in coma and couldn’t say something or talk to his or her parents, it means the parents should contact a professional doctor, adding if the doctor came and provided medical treatment to the child and the child starts to show sign of recovery by walking or talking then you have others who will say but what cause this child to walk the way he or she does, forgetting that the child did not had any means of talking before.
He urged Liberians to look where Madam Sirleaf took the country from; saying with all the difficulties and challenges, her leadership is being criticized for doing nothing. “What wrong with you boasting of achievements; is that repetition?”
Since quitting government, Atty. Woods has been very critical of the Sirleaf Administration, claiming lack of accountability, but the President threw the challenge back to him when she asked him to equally account for work done at the Ministry of Public Works.
By Lewis S. Teh- Editing by Jonathan Browne