During her remarks at Liberia’s Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 26 at the centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf named a National Task Force on Ebola. The primary objective of the Task Force is to ensure national coordination in the entire battle against the spread of the deadly Ebola disease in Liberia. Among major measures instituted by the Government of Liberia to fast-track the fight against Ebola was the declaration of a State of Emergency in consonance with Article 86 of the Constitution of Liberia. Since the enforcement of these measures, there continue to be calls from both within and outside of the government for a reconstitution of the National Task Force on Ebola.
While some believe that public officials, including President Sirleaf, must have their hands off the Task Force and only play a monitoring role, others, especially some members of the Liberian Legislature also harbor the belief that “huge sums of money” are being received by the Government of Liberia for the Ebola crisis by the international community without any impact. While we may understand both concerns on the reconstitution of the National Task Force on Ebola to be placed in the hands of international medical relief organizations operating in Liberia, we also absolutely disagree with members of the Liberian Legislature on the justification that “huge sums of money” were being received by the government for the Ebola crisis without positive impact.
Unfortunately, the Senators and Representatives of Liberia are harboring this perception have failed to research how monies contributed by international/multilateral organizations/institutions and friendly governments are expended or utilized. It must be made clear that funds/monetary contributions announced by the World Bank group, United States Agency for International Development or USAID, European Union/Community, African Union, ECOWAS, as well as the United States, Peoples republic of China, among others are mostly directed toward capacity-building for health workers, medical equipment and drugs to the Health Ministry and other medical institutions involved with the fight against Ebola.
Moreover, the funds are also channeled through international implementing partners (International NGO’s like MSF-Belgium, Save-the-Children, etc., etc.), working in the country. Except wherein these international donors direct such funds to budgetary support to the Government of Liberia, issues/concerns can be raised against the government. But for some our Lawmakers to jump into conclusion that the Liberian Government was receiving “huge sums of money” to fight Ebola, is absolutely a show of complete ignorance of the facts.
We had even thought the Senators and Representatives would have justified the reconstitution of the National Task Force on Ebola by alluding to the fact that the government cannot be the Task force and at the same time, planning and monitoring its activities and at the same time, reporting to itself- that could have been a convincing justification for the call for a reconstitution of the task force. But to think and conclude that the government is “receiving all of the funds” being contributed by international/multilateral institutions and governments is not befitting of people considered members of the House of Elders, i.e, individuals with wisdom.
We actually beg to differ with the ‘honorable.