If what is being said privately is true, that Liberia’s outgoing president, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is calling the national legislature to a session to rectify or pass last-minute bills that would benefit she and her family members as well as cronies, then she really needs a thorough prayer, and perhaps evaluation. In the president’s latest proclamation, it calls for the extension of the Sixth and Final Regular Session of the 53rd National Legislature.
We will hope that this is not the case. On Wednesday’s night, the president issued the following proclamation below:
Monrovia, Liberia – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued a proclamation extending the sixth and final session of the 53rd National Legislature of the Republic of Liberia by nine days beginning January 4th, 2018. The proclamation followed the signing of a certificate of extension by members of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.
“Whereas, the Sixth and Final Regular Session of the 53rd Legislature of the Republic of Liberia, was extended through a Certificate of Extension signed by members of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, to extend the Regular Session from September 1, thru December 31, 2017”, the proclamation recalls.
The proclamation notes that Article 32 (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia provides that the President shall, on the President’s own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, extend a Regular Session of the Legislature beyond the date of adjournment or call a Special or Extraordinary Session of that Body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern; and
It acknowledges that there are several unresolved key matters of national interest that require the urgent attention of the 53rd Legislature and is aware of the emergency nature of these matters, which are all geared toward the enhancement of the socio-economic interests of the State and its people.
The proclamation realizes that Cognizant of the limitation of time to discuss these key matters to facilitate the smooth transition from one democratically elected government to another; which requires the participation and involvement of the 53rd Legislature in Session.
“Convinced that the President of the Republic of Liberia shall appropriately take advantage of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia to invoke Article 32 (b) as a sole means to involve the participation of the 53rd Legislature in Extraordinary Session to address these unresolved state matters”, it emphasized.
The proclamation concludes “Now Therefore, I, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, by virtue of the authority in me vested, do hereby issue this Proclamation for the 53rd Legislature to reconvene into an Extraordinary Session for a period of Nine (9) Days, commencing January 4 thru January 12, 2018”.
There is actually no real need for this proclamation if it is going to deal with matters other than the inauguration of the president-elect. But we would like to give the retiring and elderly president the benefit of the doubt until we can see and hear otherwise.
Our concern is based on reliable information, currently undergoing verification, that the president wants the lawmakers in session to rectify additional bills, mainly in the areas of concessions. If this is true, it is counterproductive, mean-spirited and at best, mind-blowing.
According to sources, some of the concession bills to be rectified, approved and signed include the location of a proposed cement factory in Monrovia, specifically in the chicken Soup Factory- Gardnersville-Barnesville areas. It is also believed that a member of the president’s family will be entitled to a royalty of 50 United States cents on every bag of the cement produced and sold from the proposed factory for the next twenty years.
Besides, the factory will be located in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, largely among a crowded population of people, thereby subjecting and creating cancerous and related health problems for millions of Liberians in the urban areas. So, why does the president believe this is a good deal? In addition, no president with less than two weeks in office still focuses on passing or rectifying bills. What was not done in 12 years to improve lives cannot be done in two weeks to change a garbage bag into a suitcase. Having a factory is good but a factory of this nature belongs in the hinterland, that way, its environmental damages will be controllable.
If it is true that the president wants the lawmakers to rectify or pass these bills in addition to other things that should be done, we wouldn’t surprise by these latest actions. We are also not surprised that the president always has her way, anyway. Logically, there is no reason why the Liberian people have elected representatives if all they can do is get cowed in and corrupted to seek their own selfish interest at the expense of the citizenry they represent.
According to sources, a potential bribe of money already in envelopes will be given to each lawmaker to pass these bad and terrible bills barely ten days to President Sirleaf leaving office. Knowing who the Liberian lawmakers are, especially most of the new ones who are poor, the president will get what she wants.
It is upon all Liberians to defy the outgoing president and the current and incoming lawmakers. Liberia should not be sold and abused just because of the greed of a few. Enough is enough! If the president waste her precious time and the lawmakers act greedy and rectify or pass these frivolous and corrupt concession bills, the bills will be non-binding on Liberia and the Liberian people. People will oppose and demonstrate as well as ensure that such concessions do not proceed. The mandate is there.
Another serious concern is the outgoing president’s habitual habit of taking public funds to send her select followers to Harvard. There is a report that the president has mobilized almost $200,000 United States dollars obviously from public coffers to provide for her press secretary Jeremink Piah to attend Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government just to obtain a coveted certificate. We have seen how some former ministers in charge of the Liberian economy under her regime sent their pals in the United States with more than $150,000 United States dollars for them to do graduate studies. All these ugly things and stealing are happening in a nation where civil servants have not received their wages.
What the president fails to realize is that the school one attends does not make the person intellectually sophisticated if he or she is already a dummy, because even some of the people she (the president and her son Robert) and their associates sent to Harvard since she assumed office still cannot compose a simple research paper. If the president had been serious about good education for young Liberians including her press secretary, the best she could have done is to invest in the public universities in Liberia.
It is important to ask: what has the Liberian people done so much that is so bad that their president, someone they gave 12 years of state power to, can treat them like this? Nobody will sleep well (if he or she has strong faith in God) if they subject a nation and people to these kinds of actions. Madam President you cannot do this to the country and people. Even if Liberia means nothing to you and if the lives of your fellow Liberians means nothing to you, we urge you to stop these new plans for the sake of God!