Liberia: Senator Sando Johnson Urges Pres. Weah to Use Constitutional Powers to Fight Corruption
TUBMANBURG – Bomi County Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson has called on President George Manneh Weah to appoint or maintain in his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government committed, honest and professional officials to guarantee socio-economic and infrastructural growth and developments for Liberia and its citizens.
Senator Johnson observed that the influx of unpatriotic and dishonest public officials, particularly in the Executive branch, remain one of the contributing factors for the high level of economic challenges confronting Liberians, and the backwardness of the country.
He noted that the Liberian Chief Executive should not hesitate to remove and replace with competent citizens, government officials who are not carrying on their assigned tasks and responsibilities with patriotism, honesty and commitment.
He made these assertions in an interview with FrontPage Africa via telephone recently.
“President Weah should make sure that people who are tasked with responsibilities are honest enough to ensure that they do their works professionally and with honesty”.
Senator Johnson noted that President Weah should desist from exercising his constitutional powers based on friendship or partisanship and take actions in the interest of the nation.
He maintained that the Liberian leader should not see Liberia as a political party, but a nation which its citizens should equally benefit from the country’s wealth and resources.
He claimed that most of those appointed government officials are not committed to fulfilling their statutory responsibilities, and as such, the situation is negatively contributing to the slow pace of development and the improvement of the livelihood of citizens.
“President Weah has all of those powers; and we believe that those powers should be used in the right direction and making sure that decisions are taken in the interest of the country, and not necessarily a political institution. The government is bigger than a political party and he has to look at Liberia in that direction now. Liberia is not a political party”.
He said the Liberian leader should abide by the rule of law and ensure that the Liberian constitution is upheld.
When this is done, he added, that public officials appointed by the Liberian Chief Executive will also follow suit.
Partisanship and cronyism
Speaking further, Senator Johnson observed that the prioritizing of “partisanship and cronyism” over love for country, remains visible under the CDC led government, especially the Executive branch.
According to him, the present situation is also “creeping” within the Legislative and Judicial branches.
He underscored the need for members of the opposition, human rights actors and others to come together and ensure that the rule of law is upheld.
Thieves in government
Senator Johnson pointed out that shady deals and corrupt activities remain prevalent in the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government of President George Manneh Weah.
He claimed that “lots of naked acts” are being allegedly carried out by “people in high places”.
He noted that the situation which he described as “disturbing” is hampering the growth and development of Liberia and its citizens.
“It is a reality that too many thieves are in government. There are lots of people that are involved in criminal acts. It is written all over the walls; there are lots of corrupt and unconstitutional things taking place or happening. Lots of wicked acts are being carried out by people in high places. It’s really disturbing and worrisome to be honest”.
Senator Johnson stated that political will remains lacking to prosecute or hold accountable public officials accused or found liable for graft or acts of corruption.
He maintained that President Weah should not allow himself to be “pushed around” over making decisions to move Liberia and its citizens forward.
He added that the Liberian leader will be held liable if he sits supinely and allow those he appointed to engage into, or carry on acts intended to impose more hardship on the Liberian people.
“Government needs to stand and do something. The President is sound enough; the President went to school; he should not allow himself to be railroad. The President knows actually what is happening; he has a clear understanding of what is happening in the country. He needs to take decisions. If he sees anything wrong and he is not taking action to correct it, we will blame him”.
Where is the money?
For nearly two weeks now, the exchange rate between the US and Liberian dollars has declined drastically, but the prices of basic commodities have not been affected greatly.
The unstable exchange rate has greatly affected commercial activities, including the sale and purchasing of basic goods and services.
On the Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia, the exchange rate stands at US$1 to 150 ( or L$750), while in Central Monrovia, Sinkor and other areas, the exchange rate is US$1 to L$140 or L$145 (L$700 or L$725).
Last month, the exchange rate between the two currencies experienced stability and stood between US$1 to 180 or 190LD (900LD to 200LD) in other places, but the condition dramatically changed following the scarcity of the local currency at various commercial banks operating in the country.
But Senator Johnson termed as “unimaginable” the surreptitious disappearance of the Liberian bank notes on the local market barely few months after the printing of L$4billion by the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
“This is unimaginable that the Legislature will allow the Central Bank to print L$4 billion dollars. Nobody know whether the money came in the country, or whether it has vanished; we don’t know. All we know that the money was printed. The question now is where the money is?”
“This is causing tage of the Liberian dollars is causing economic and social hardship for our people because the US rate is low, and things prices are still high. Our people are suffering”.
Senator Johnson blamed the situation on the failure of the Executive to ensure that those responsible carry on their assigned tasks and responsibilities in an effective and efficient manner to alleviate the growing wave of hardship on the citizenry.
He claimed that the continuous silence of the Executive to act and take actions is giving rise to officials executing their responsibilities in a lackadaisical manner and form.
“It is the responsibility of the Executive branch to come out and inform the Liberia, but no one is speaking as to what is happening They are not doing anything tangible to address this situation”.
Eroding gains made
Senator Johnson indicated that gains made by Liberia over the years would be eroded if steps are not taken to combat against corruption and other vices that have the proclivity to strangulate the country’s growth and the improvement of the living conditions of citizens.
“We have made some gains but if we are not careful in making sure that those gains we made over the last few years are maintained and improved on, all of those gains will be dashed down or go into the gutter”.
Meanwhile, Senator Johnson has called on Liberians to “take courage” in the wake of the numerous challenges.
He urged citizens to partake in the ensuing December 8 senatorial elections across Liberia for the sake of them and their children’s future.