MONROVIA: In the words that resonate with what was promised the Liberian people during the electioneering season last year, Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung challenged the Liberian Senate to perform their collective responsibilities with a deep sense of patriotism that will address the needs of the people bearing in mind that the citizens are the true protectors of the power entrusted in the lawmakers, “thus the welfare of the Liberian people should constitute the overarching focus of our developmental agendas and attendant debates”.
VP Koung made the assertion yesterday, Thursday, January 25, 2024 in his maiden address to the Liberian senate during the commencement of the 55th national legislature and the first regular session of the Liberian Senate which he presided over after their induction and constitution of the leadership.
“Now, I stand here to remind this August Body that Our People are demanding a drastic change in our leadership paradigm; Our People are yearning for accountability and the respect for the rule of law, they are seeking opportunities for employment and investments, they are demanding the rebirth of the merit-based system, where competence and results are the primary focus of Our public sector, they are anticipating that we will enact laws and implement policies which address their socio-economic needs, and they are in a state of high expectation that we will strengthen our Nation’s relationship with international partners. Distinguished Senators, these are the enormous responsibilities which confront this noble body, and we must embrace it without any degree of doubts”, VP Koung told the plenary of the senate.
He told the senators that the first Regular Session of the 55th National Legislature was not only historical because it climaxed the constitutional responsibilities of the 54th National Legislature, “but it also sets the platform for the emergence of a new era of a smooth political transition which has enhanced our Nation’s democratic credentials”
“As we take pride in the many commendations received from friendly Nations across the world, we must be reminded that the ultimate goal of our service is not in the victory which comes during elections, but in the crafting and execution of laws and policies which have a positive transformative effect on the lives of our people”, VP Koung said.
He further said that over the last few months, the survival of the nation’s democracy was tested through a competitive Presidential and Legislative elections and noted that while those elections were not void of attendant challenges, the people exhibited a character of resilience in testament to their belief in the ideals of democracy, peace, and national development. “Let me congratulate all of you for a hard-fought campaign and welcome our newly elected Senators who have joined us to continue the legacy of service to the Liberian people”, he said.
He said the outcome of the just concluded general elections has once again ushered Liberia in its second successive post-war democratic transition from one Government to another, stressing that these transitions are marks of our country’s preparedness for democracy. He maintained that during the conduct of the elections and the attendant transition of state power, the citizens demonstrated their commitment to peace and the credibility of the democratic aspirations and institutions of the people just as he praised former President George Manneh Weah and former Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor for their services to the nation.
“Permit me to seize this opportunity to express profound thanks and appreciation to former President George Manneh Weah and my predecessor, former Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor for their stewardship of our beloved Nation over the last six years; I believe that the ultimate winners in these elections are the Liberian people who are the true custodians of our peace and democracy”, he said.
He asserted that the results of the election point to the diversity of the political views and aspirations of the citizens and reminded the senators that they have a shared responsibility “to promote reconciliation and demonstrate true leadership in bringing our people together under the umbrella of peace and national development”.
“Let us embrace a new mindset now that elections are over, eliminate the idea of a Green or Blue Liberia, and give every Liberian the opportunity to contribute his or her quota to nation-building. This is the assignment we have chosen, and our performance will be judged by it”, the Vice President said.
VP Koung who had served as a representative and later on as a senator from Nimba County said he has an “understanding that the 103 Lawmakers who represent the Liberian people have an uncommon privilege; we carry the burdens, dreams and aspirations of our people, and their survival depends on the decisions that we make”.
“We must remain conscious that the urgent responsibility which comes with this assignment gives no room for excuses; all of us are required to deliver on our promises. Today, I am very humbled that our people have entrusted me with this new assignment; I shall exert all of my efforts to live up to this confidence reposed in me”, he said.
In his closing remark, he reaffirm his “undiluted confidence in the leadership and stewardship of His Excellency, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr., our President and Leader of this great nation” just as he expressed gratitude to our international partners and friends of Liberia, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, religious institutions, the youth, the media, the people of Liberia and all other stakeholders who continue to work to protect our fledgling democracy and contribute to our Nation’s growth and development”.
“As we strive to enhance our Nation’s place amongst the comity of Nations, may we never forget that the most important ingredient for Nation building is peace”, I remain optimistic that we will continue to pursue the path of true reconciliation and National unity, in the interest of the People of the Republic of Liberia”, he concluded.