Liberia: Elevate Image of Our Presidency


The song, “You know book, you na know book, I will vote for you,” is it a song that favors Ambassador George Weah or one that disfavors Ellen Johnson Sirleaf?  

Are the young people of Liberia singing this song in support of Weah or is it a song of embarrassment to President Sirleaf? 

The President claimed that her government is “committed to having an educated Liberian population.” 

But, after 12 years of her leadership, the word on the street is that Madam Sirleaf’s government failed the Liberian people, especially in the education sector.

What has Ellen done to the image of the Presidency of our Republic? 

From 1847 to 1980, it was rightfully perceived that to participate in mainstream government or any major corporation, you have to belong to a certain class with a last name that is not “country”. 

So, people changed their names to Johnsons and Coopers and Collins, and so on, just to fit the mode. 

At that time, the dignity of the Liberian Presidency was far above what many Liberians would imagine. 

Then came 1980, when a mere Master Sergeant of the Armed Forces of Liberia, ascended to the Presidency by means of coup d’état.

Within a few years, the perception of who can become President in Liberia has changed. 

Some thought that the way to become the President is to stage a coup d’état, but of course, we all now know that it is the very wrong way;  the absolute wrong way to assume power. 

Now, we converted to the ballot box (the right way) and have had successive democratic elections, electing President EJS twice.

But, what did Ellen do to the dignity of the Office that there is now a song in the streets, “You know book, you na know book…” 

Considering the President’s profile, background and exposure, in the mind of the Liberian people, did Ellen elevate the dignity of the Office or did she make a travesty of it? 

During Ellen’s term, what public perception did she create about the Presidency?

Do the Liberian people, now see the Presidency as an opportunity for the leader to decrease poverty and promote human flourishing or a seat that allows corruption to boom?

What did Ellen do to the image of the Liberian Presidency?

Does the Liberian public think that she promoted good governance or she was self-promoter?

How did Ellen affect the Liberian Presidency after 12 years? 

Did she dignify the image of the Office as a platform for economic growth and equitable income distribution?

What kind of perception is Ellen leaving of the Presidency after 12 years?

Is it a seat where you can treat public funds as if they were your private monies?

Does being President of Liberia mean that you can walk to any major government office and take any amount of money you want, while majority of the civil servants go without pay for several months?

What has Ellen done to the image of the Presidency? Did Her Excellency, Madam Sirleaf, the Iron Lady, elevate the dignity of the Office or did she lower it?

Dear Honorable next President of our Republic, your Excellency, as you now set your agenda to lead Liberia after your inauguration in January, may I add the following thoughts:

Please elevate the image of the Presidency, that it may be seen as a seat to create conditions conducive for the flourishing of our people.  

Please give Liberia back to Liberians that we will take the lead in enjoying the fruits of our native land, that we become the employers, not the employees, that we are the primary harvesters of the products of our mother land.

Mr. President, please emancipate us from the mental slavery that plagues citizens of our country.

Your Excellency, Liberians are running waiter markets while non-natives of our land are running supermarkets

Your honor, our people are running susu clubs, while people from outside our borders are running investments firms, including banks. 

I believe Liberia produces many millionaires each year but that the majority of those harvesting off our land to become millionaires are not Liberians.  Please change it. 

Dear Sir, please transform civil service into service for public good, not for self-enrichment and overbearing power.

All this can be done by self-sacrifice and good example (not just great speeches) from your office

Your Excellency, Honorable next President, I am praying for you that the Almighty will govern your heart and spirit during your term, so during your tenure, our nation will flourish to reduce the suffering in this country. May God bless you and continue to bless Liberia. 

Rev. Kenety S. Gee, MDiv, MSNM, MSGH,
Global Health Practitioner