Monday, 2 May 2011

Envelope Saga an ‘Awkward Moment’ for President

The Editor,
We say in Liberia, when bad luck calls your name, even a banana will crush your teeth. Pushing an envelope containing money to a head of state of a country, especially a country like Liberia that is waging a hopeless war on corruption is indeed bad luck. The perception alone from the weary public will be news for days.
I know the manager of the Palm Bay Company had the chance to make remarks. He should have used that time to tell the president and those gathered at that ceremony that he was happy, on behalf of his company, to present to the president of Liberia, $25,000 as his company’s contribution to her pet project, the construction of market buildings. Such a simple remark would have elated the market women present and that would have made their day.
But God works in mysterious ways. I heard that the president was furious when that envelope was slid on the table to her. It was an awkward moment, but it was good for the entire country. We all need to get vex whether money in an envelope is given in the public or under the table in a dark room in the capital building. The president, who I will support for the next six years, needs to get really, really mad at the constant news that every branch of her government is corrupt and that nearly every government office in Monrovia is buried in corrupt activities.
It is embarrassing to hear an echo of what John Morlu said a few years. The government of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should have debunked the assertion that her government was three times more corrupt than the previous one. How? How do you debunk this? Well, you start off by not moving those accused of corrupt activities from one office to another; from one ministry to another. Once you are accused of stealing, you get fired and you go to face the law.
The accusation out there that the president is not doing enough to fight this war on corruption is bothersome and vexing to a lot of her supporters, including me. With the US Ambassador begging the president to be more vigilant; with the US State Department reporting that all three branches of the Liberian government are saturated in corruption; it is time, I strongly feel, that the president takes off those sympathy gloves and begin making serious moves to rid the government of those who feel more comfortable driving around Monrovia with 1000 gallons of gas monthly. They really care less about the terrible roads in Nimba County or the lack of clinics or modern schools in River Gee County.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf needs to get a bit more furious about corrupt gestures and corrupt activities, more furious than she exhibited at the Palm Bay ceremony.
Cooper Kweme