MEMO TO THE PRESIDENT – Subject: Celebrating with you at 56, but with Some Straightforward Notes for Attention
On the auspicious occasion of your 56th Birth Anniversary which was observed on Saturday, October 1, 2022, we join our compatriots here and abroad in not only extending to you our heartfelt felicitations, but also wholeheartedly commend you for ably steering the state of affairs of our common patrimony for the past five years. During this period, many have seen how our nation has experienced global economic turbulence, the debilitating Corona Virus and lately, the Ukraine war that is taking a huge toll on the economy of developing nations like ours.
Mr. President, despite these external shocks which have definitely impacted on the growth and development of our economy as heralded by the most recent World Bank economic outlook on Liberia, it is noteworthy to indicate that your government, through sound fiscal management policies, has been able to attract international financing to absorb some of these shocks.
Having said that Mr. President, it behooves us to inform you that these projections from global financial institutions don’t always paint the true picture of the human conditions on the ground. For instance, while the World Bank 2021 Annual Update indicates that the economy of Liberia experienced strong growth in 2021 at 5.0 per cent, growth rate for 2020 was a declining 3.0 per cent.
Your Excellency, the true picture of such goody-goody projection is that Liberia still remains at the bottom fourth-tier of the Human Development Index, only four countries higher than 174 countries in the world. This bad HDI reality is quite visible as citizens struggle but cannot afford to send their children to school; as the prices of basic commodities continue to increase disproportionately against the prevailing exchange rate; as citizens continue to die from common diseases at health centers because of the lack of drugs; and as access to markets become impossible for our farmer due to impassable roads.
Mr. President, in the midst of these harsh economic realities, our international partners have sounded serious alarms over the unchecked lack of probity with your government, warning earlier that the high level of corruption trending in your government is accelerating the abject living conditions of the populace; that your officials are actively involved in taking bread from the mouths of the people.
The reality of these profound statements from some of our high-profile traditional friends and development partners became evident when the United States Department of Treasury placed sanctions on three of your officials a few months ago.
Of course, your decision to suspend those officials and immediately call for investigation was laudable, to say the least. But what is even more confounding to the public view is how your administration has apparently swept the Magnitsky-sanctioned officials under the rug. There is no investigation in sight—at least as yet.
Your Excellency, we sincerely believe it is high time that you come true to your pronouncement and investigate the accused, otherwise it sends a signal that your administration is shielding the accused because of some personal reasons.
Moreover, the Liberian people are keenly watching as you go about replacing those individuals.
Your citizens are watching with eagle eyes, expecting that this government, in the twilight era of its tenure, will bring on board the right expertise to help guide the boat to safe shore. The recent case of Mr. Darlington Karley left a sour taste in our mouths, making the public to really wonder as to how this government goes about its recruitment processes.
Having said that, Your Excellency, happy birthday.