President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf promised free and compulsory education for Liberian children and vowed to jail parents who didn't send their children to school.
But now she can't even pay teachers a livable wage but wants to subcontract our school system to foreigners for over $60 million, money if paid to our teachers that could propel great changes for a "messy" education system where more students fail than pass each year taking the yearly West Africa Examination Council exams.
Then a few years ago, Liberia set a new world record when ALL high school students who sat for the University of Liberia entrance exams failed; the story made the news here in America. Heads of some of our public entities such as: Liberia Maritime Agency, Liberia Telecommunications Authority, Liberia Aviation & Airport Authority, National Investment Commission, National Port Authority, National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC), earn anywhere from $100,000.00 to $400,000.00 a year.
NOCAL paid her son Robert Sirleaf $360,000.00 as CEO a year and each NOCAL BOARD MEMBER earned $9,000.00 a month or $108,000.00 a year before they ran the company into the ground/bankruptcy. Ellen said of her predecessors William Tubman, William Tolbert, Samuel Doe, Gyude Bryant and Charles Taylor that Liberia is not a poor country but a country run poorly. Liberian Lawmakers each earn $185,000.00 yearly far more than their American counterparts in the US Congress who each earn $174,000.00.
But teachers who must prepare the future leaders and medical doctors who must save lives are relegated to the back of the bus with many earning less than $100.00 to $200.00 a month.
Now she is threatening to unleash the Police on protesting students and teachers. We all know the message that students signal when the end is near as it we saw with Tolbert and Doe.
Finally, the rampant corruption in government contributes greatly to the ravaging poverty in Liberia. And for a leader who declared "war on corruption," with 11 years wasted, President Sirleaf last told, -not Liberians who are impacted---world leaders at the United Nationals General Assembly in New York she will vigorously fight poverty in her last year in office. Tell this to the poor suffering people in Liberia.
Does she think world leaders care about fighting poverty in Liberia. Just do it for Liberia; seeing is believing.
As if to say we have not heard other unfulfilled promises before. How we can't wait to bid her farewell come January 2018, a red carpet farewell or a black carpet farewell. Bye bye Ma Ellen. We will miss you.
Please stay on and "Tubmanize" your presidential terms. We want Ellen! We want Ellen!! We want Ellen for 2017.
Jerry Wehtee Wion,
Journalist and Political Commentator