The Constitution of the Republic of Liberia requires of all Presidents, including Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to address the National Legislature on the fourth working Monday in January of each.
On Monday, January 25, 2010, President Sirleaf (Pictured), in consonance with the foregoing, delivered her annual message to the 52nd Legislature, outlining her government’s successes and challenges during the year 2009, as well as the way forward.
Concluding the message, the Liberian Leader announced her intention to run again for the Presidency come 2011 at which time there would be elections in Liberia.
The President’s declaration was greeted by cheers from a number of Legislators, cabinet ministers and supporters of the ruling Unity Party, most especially when she emphasized repeatedly that “she would a formidable candidate.”
Of course, at the end of her address, two political opposition leaders from the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Liberty Party (LP) immediately described the declaration as unconstitutional, in that such pronouncement was improper, and something I beg to differ with.
Looking through the Liberian Constitution, there is no provision pointing to a particular place, time or condition under which one should announce intention for political positions in government.
Probably, because they wanted to have been the first to be heard taking Madam President to task , not being cognizant of the maturity which should characterize such reactions, they decided to attack themselves to the microphones as usual. Be that as it may, the real issue in my mind has to do with expediency on the part of the Liberian Chief Executive.
It was not expedient at all for her to have allowed such an address comprising what her administration has done in the interest of the Liberian people and those things it failed to do, to be overshadowed by mere expression of interest to be President.
The annual address was just the annual address, and nothing more should have been added as Madam President did. Such action only subjected all of the good things she said to that expression of interest for the Presidency, thus sparking unnecessary debates “all over the place” when we should be making analysis of the contents of the address, which in my mind, was excellent.
Many well-meaning Liberians will share the view that as a woman of substance and prominence, she would have “stolen the show” either in the same Capitol Building on a different occasion or anywhere else after the annual address to the National Legislature–she would have still made HEADLINES.
Whoever gave such advice to the President did not do justice to her and her second-term bid. And Madam President will have to be very careful with her political surroundings, as there may be other individuals who have Presidential interest and may want to introduce suggestions that are inimical to her success.