Open Letter To President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Dear Madame President:
No time in our history has any government been confronted with the enormity of such a crisis, which has all but undermined the normality of life and threatened our recovery efforts at such devastating pace. Madame President, your leadership is particularly being tested at this time in history. During this crisis you have tried within the limits of your experience in dealing with some issues, but you have failed in addressing others.
A number of times Madame President, your actions have been slow in responding in some areas but yet proactive in others. Honestly, you are clearly struggling to deal with an emergency no government in our country has ever seen or managed. There are errors here and learning there. The curve is steep, and the challenge overwhelming. And as you tick the wrong and right boxes, you are witnessing the rapid reversal of the gains you have made in the last nine years to reposition our country on the path of recovery and reconstruction.
With the economy seeing contraction in the past years, hopes for any rebound has been sadly extinguished by the exodus of investors and partners. Your allies in the sub-region and beyond have not only banned flights to your country, but also the entry of your citizens in their respective countries. You have been placed in virtual isolation and effective quarantine, right in the plain view of the watching world and the rest of humanity. I am playing through your thought process and have the sense that you feel, you and your people are alone in this madness. You have every right to feel this way.
While you will agree your tenure has seen mixed results and you would do better if given the chance to undo the hands of time, you have done some good to be proud, Madame President. Though you have wrestled with and in some ways losing the fight against corruption, your determination to invest in the institutions, systems and frameworks that would deal with corruption more permanently, have seen greater gains in transparency and accountability.
Though public opinion does not agree, empirical evidence is clear and the numbers do not lie. More audits have been conducted, more cases reported and more preventive measures instituted and less loss of government finances to corruption. You have yet to create all the jobs envisioned in your many plans and programs, but the enabling environment that has been created by the stability you have overseen and the investments you have attracted cannot go unnoticed.
In the midst of all the lows and highs, Madame President, your greatest test has arrived and the moment of leadership has fallen upon you. Unless you reverse and very soon, this looming threat, that is the Ebola epidemic, every single good you have done will be clouded in history.
That is why it is very important that you don’t pay heed to the voices calling for your resignation. Any person of reasonable intelligence would know that suggestion is a recipe for chaos. A General doesn’t abandon the troops in the middle of an intense battle. You can’t retreat, and you can’t surrender. You must lead this country and challenge those calling for your resignation with a sense of renewed commitment and energy in the fight against EBOLA. I have said before and saying again Madame President, you have a hall with so many people but few leaders, yet am confident you can prevail.
Remember Madame President, you inherited a very broken nation and most, if not all, of the so-called political and opinion leaders that rain tasteless criticism would have labored and even failed, taking this country to where you have placed it, howbeit, lower than expected. Wake up in the morning in devotion to God with only one thought in mind, saving more lives every passing day. Do what is right, take the actions necessary to reverse this crisis and lead the nation in the direction God has inspired you to. The vast majority of our people do not wish you ill-will, only a handful do.
Do not get distracted. Let your advisors and the people close to you understand that dissent exists everywhere and to tolerant every bit of rubbish that passes for “expert opinion” is not a sign of weakness. Madame President, let me conclude by reminding you that our country has seen worse, been there and has the inner resilience and mental strength to rise again.
When the dust shall have settled we will do the politicking and critique your handling of this crisis in greater depth but for the time being, stay put and let’s fight together till the very end!
In union strong success is sure!
Atty. Lawrence Togar Randall