Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Best Prospect

Former Defense Minister labels President Sirleaf as the Only Formula for Sustainable Peace, As He Throws Hat in Senatorial Race….

Daniel Chea, former Defense Chief during the regime of jailed Liberian President Charles Taylor says President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf represents the best formula for peace in Liberia.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa in Buchanan Grand Bassa County, Mr. Chea noted that it is important for Liberians to create a common understanding to move the country forward.  “I’ve said this repeatedly to my supporters in and around the county that no matter which side of the political divide you find yourself, it will be expedient to give Madam Sirleaf an opportunity to steer the affairs of our state for another six years,” Says Chea.
The former National Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwart believes the president has done extremely well in pushing Liberia’s post-war reconstruction agenda forward. “Only a blind person wouldn’t see, and you have to base your assessment on where we were yesterday, where we are and where we could potentially be tomorrow.”
Speaking on the question on how he rates the regime of his former boss Mr. Taylor, Mr. Chea indicated that is a comparison that no one will want to make as those are two uniquely different situations.
Says Chea:” Charles Taylor as President of this country was in a very unique and difficult situation and again you have to give him some credit because he was under a lot of pressure, enormous pressure from a lot of areas and he did what he had to do.”
With his intention declared for a senatorial slot in the pending general and presidential elections, the Grand Bassa stalwart says the only commonality between Charles Taylor and Pres. Sirleaf is the fact that they had the same title ‘President’. He said that President Sirleaf has brought a wealth of experience to the table.

Shooting For the Senate
According to Mr. Chea, the time is ripe to render his services to his people: “We must make changes periodically. Changes to reflect the moment, changes to reflect the future and that is why we are calling on our people to give us their support so that we can come in and work with the next administration, so that we can move the development agenda of this nation so many steps ahead.”
The tough-talking Bassa citizen stressed that the time has come for a critical look at the decentralization of the Liberian economy. “The reasons for which all our economies in this country were centralized in Monrovia, I don’t see those reasons any longer. There was uniqueness also to that era; it was under one party rule, but today we are now practicing pluralistic democracy. There is a wider participation of our people from every walk of life,” Says Chea.
He noted that in-order to move the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) forward in a more expedient way, there is a need to start discussing issues regarding the decentralization of Liberia’s resources. “A typical example, the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), which has operated in Grand Bassa for a little over half a century to my knowledge, pays about US$4.9million per annum. I don’t see the reason of moving all the resources out of the county or the district in which the company is situated to Monrovia, while the people are lacking in some basic infrastructure and basic social implements and other things. I think we must begin to expend some of the resources directly.”

UN Travel Ban
The former Defense strongman declared that his name has long been removed from the UN-Imposed travel ban on associates of former president Charles Taylor. The travel ban was placed on Mr. Taylor and key officials of his government due to what the United Nations referred to then as the provision of financial or military support to armed rebel groups in Liberia or in countries in the region.
Chea asserted that Liberia is in transition and needs all of its human resources, as it is time to take a critical look at the UN travel ban. “We will be asking Madam President to use her influence with the international community to begin realistically addressing the issue of travel ban on Liberians.”
Though Mr. Chea still have ties with the NPP, he has indicated that he is running as an independent candidate for the senatorial race while at the same time supporting the second term bid of Pres. Sirleaf. As in his words she has done ‘remarkably well’.