Subject: Keep Up Your Patriotic Goodwill
A Repeat of October 29, 2018 EJS 80th Birth Anniversary MEMO
We salute you most profoundly, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on the occasion of your 80th birth anniversary which we have no doubt you are celebrating with the hugest of fanfare and deep reflection ever in the last 13 years. We think it would be a great fanfare for many reasons; firstly, because this is your first celebration of this very important day after your 12-year leadership. In this country where people look for the faintest error to criticize and demonize, and where the smile of the President is mistaken for teasing a suffering people and a frown is misread as a worry for incapacity of the President to lead well, it was difficult for you to celebrate while in office with all delight and satisfaction.
Secondly, we think today should be a huge celebration because when you look back to the last 12 years when Liberia was under your leadership, the success stories are enormous and diverse for this long backward country which you inherited when everything was dire. You took over this country, where oil lamps were the order of the day in homes even of urban citizens and when light-driven bulbs were scarce if not nonexistent in nearly all homes. But then you brought in small light which was followed by big light for several homes and places.
Thirdly, prior to 2006 before you took the mantle of power, Liberia’s external debt stood at $4.9 billion dollars. In 2012, you made it nonexistent. This huge financial debt had not been serviced for over 20 years. Millions of Liberians were scattered around the world, many of them vowing never to return because to Liberia due the bad living conditions at home. In a few years, nearly all displaced Liberians have returned to their original towns and cities, and exiled citizens returned home. In 2006, the reserves of the Central Bank were a mere US$5 million but over a hundred million was left upon your departure.
Before your advent in 2006 as President, bad laws were on the book restraining freedom of the person and discriminatory to children and women, and supportive of corruption and graft. But you led a government that successfully scrapped those laws and replaced them with ones that increased the democratic space, rescued freedom of speech and of the press and brought women and children in the center stage of national participation and equity. Liberia was a pariah in the global community before you took over in 2006 but when you exited early this year; our country took its rightful place in the comity of nation; all kings and queens and powerful nations dined with you in Liberia. Before your tenure beginning at 2006, there was no history of this country telling that a democratically elected president ever turned over political power successfully particularly in the 73 years preceding you.
Indeed, the transformation in human conditions and in national revival achieved under your leadership (2006 – 2018) is deep and wide to be recounted in a single write-up of this nature. All we can say as a nation and people is to pay you lavish tributes on this 80th birthday of yours, and to make you see and know that we are a grateful people, appreciative of all your redemptive strides that brought us hope socially, economically and politically. May we therefore hail and salute you fervently and heartedly on this glorious day of yours which brought pride and honor not only to you and your family but also to this nation and Africa.
We would however call upon you not to give up but to continue to remain engaged with Liberians as well as their new government as we all strive to pick up where you left it. Don’t turn your back on the new Government nor on the people of Liberia. You are as relevant towards continued national stability and transformation as you were as President. The world trusts your wisdom and their counsel. Liberians depend on your natural gift as an industrious and farsighted person. You still possess these qualities even out of the presidency and at 80 years.
Let it be known that one of your greatest achievements in life would be the success of your successor. It is only when you successor succeeds that history will treat you kindly. This is how it will be etched in the hearts of Liberians that you actually succeeded as the 23rd President of Liberia. When this successor government fails, history will not be kind to you. It would be recorded that you also failed. Thus, recent exchanges between you and the current government over the alleged mission billions of Liberian Dollars should not send you and your successor ascender.
There is strength in unity, as it is always said. And the strength that the George Manneh Weah government and Liberians need to succeed moving forward lies in unity between you and the new President. Over the years, you have had instances of beating your swords into ploughshare, and this is yet another time to act pragmatically and motherly as characteristically known of you.
Again, HAPPY BRITHDAY, MADAM FORMER PRESIDENT.