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Friday, July 19, 2024

Liberia: The President Promise of Inclusion, Reconciliation and Unity; Are the Building Block Being Utilized

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With more than 30 days in Office, the political climate of Liberia seems cloudier with less visibility of the direction the nation is taking as expectations are dwindling and pessimism is on the upsurge.

On January 22, 2024 President Joseph Nyumah Boakai clearly defined and laid out his government’s direction. The construction design was comprehended, but it appears that the construction approach is de-shaping the image of the design held in mind by Liberians.

President Boakai emphasized reconciliation, government of inclusion, and unity as key elements to achieving his rescue mission under the ARREST Agenda.

There should be no arguments that these three elements are the soul of nation building and Liberia is in dire need of them. But will the President succeed in gathering or utilizing the prescribed building blocks?

Senators Prince Yormie Johnson, Amara Konneh and Representative Yekeh Kolubah are already critical that the initial steps of the President don’t seem to suggest that these three elements will ever be achieved. But others think it is too early to judge the President’s direction.

What are the building blocks that are needed for the construction of a government of national inclusion? Expects believe they are the formation of the government and the geographic and political contents of appointments made by the President.

Though Article 54a gives exclusive constitutional privileges to the President to appoint at his will and pleasure, he needs to create a space for each county to be represented in cabinet and in junior cabinet positions.

The UP and the opposition family were very critical of President Weah’s regional approach which saw more southeasterners in cabinet. They vowed to make a change by ensuring that each county would be represented in the cabinet.

In other to achieve the doctrine of inclusion which produces a government of national unity and reconciliation, a winning party should avoid the temptation of winners takes it all and regional or county supremacies in setting up an administration.

Experts say the need to extend appointment opportunities to losers are building blocks for peace, reconciliation and unity.

It reduces the urge for conflict and crisis as the opposition sees themselves as part of the governing process and takes national responsibility to keep the peace, foster national unity, and ensure a strong and capable state.

As the formation of the Boakai’s government comes to a near close with the southeastern region boasting of one cabinet position and less visibility in other sectors, there are cries of victimization while other counties decry the large import of Lofa and Bomi into the structures of government.

The Boakai’s reconciliation and unity platforms seem to lack the prescribed blocks to build the superstructure that these indispensable programs should rest on. Political pundits believe that the anticipated change is being defaced to the wonderment of those who believed that business as usual would come to an end.

Senator Amara Konneh and Representative Yekeh Kolubah are uncomfortable and are openly challenging the commitment of the President to change. Senator Prince Yormie Johnson accuses the President of being tribal and sectional in the formation of his government.

However, his recent call on Nimbaians to assure them that the President will not be ungrateful seems to give hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel for him and his people.

Critics of the Senator say that he is not nationalistic as his only concern is for Nimba County and not the nation as a whole.

As regarding the opposition, not one person has been named. As it stands at the moment, inclusivity is off the table and might not ever be a part of the governance of the state under President Joseph Boakai which might leave the opposition with the only option and that is to resist and overheat the nation.

President Boakai is a leader with many years of experience and is sensitive to Liberian politics as he, in his life-time, experienced factors that led to the fall of the TWP and the NDPL.

While we might want to summon up all energies to indict the President of many missteps, we think President Boakai may be drawing from the NDPL and CDC fatal experiences of including opposition in government who undermined the successes of those governments through leaks of sensitive information and negative collaborations that wrecked constructive developmental agendas of those governments and brought an end to them.

If that is the thought and consideration of the current trend, then one may say that the platform of Rescue was only a spring board to power and may not be attainable. The UP needs to do internal scrutiny of its methods and quickly readjust to avoid broken promises and failed expectations.

There are discussions in circles that the UP is embarking on its infamous policy of downsizing and then later upsized. Over 700 persons at the Ministry of State may be victims of downsizing.

To make this a reality, payroll audits of all spending agencies and ministries are instituted to identify those who are not within the civil service categories. They will be downsized. Consultants and contractors are also in the fray. They might soon find themselves unable to fend for their families.

In his campaign promise, President Boakai told the nation that he will increase the salaries of government employees.

In other to do so, he must find alternative sourcing. The downsizing of thousands of Liberians might provide the needed funds. Salaries might be increased at the sacrifice of others on the altar.

Liberians and the opposition community who are working within this government should expect sad days ahead, except President Boakai becomes magnanimous as former President George Manneh Weah.



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