LIBERIA: Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Outlines Progress

…As She Gives Final State Of The Nation Address To Mark 1st Term In Office – By: Augustine N. Myers – The President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has outlined a number of achievements, made by her Government over a period of six years.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf giving final State of the Nation Address
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf giving final State of the Nation Address

Speaking Monday at the Capital Building in Monrovia when she delivered her final State of the Nation Address before members of the National Legislature in keeping with the Liberia constitution, President Johnson said her Government has doubled the size of the economy.

According to her, hundreds of thousands of Liberians are at work, especially youths. She further said her Government can put more children in school, further reduce crime and transform and the Nation’s agriculture sector, couple roads, health and infrastructure.

The Liberian declared that the foundation is moving and that they can build the house, urging Liberians to keep your faith and her Government will keep the promise. Reporting on the state of the nation  Monday, the President outlined the massive changes under the Unity Party-led government, and reminded the audience of the state of the nation when she was elected President in 2006.

According to her, the Liberian people had been battered and oppressed for so long that they started to slip into the deepest form of cynicism and despair, and that the nation was gripped by economic distress, social decline, and political disarray.     She further said, so much has changed since then it is easy to forget.

L-R: Pres. Sirleaf, Speaker Tyler(middle) & V.P Boakai at Capital Building
L-R: Pres. Sirleaf, Speaker Tyler(middle) & V.P Boakai at Capital Building

The President cited unbroken peace and stability and the restoration of safety and security, including the proud new Armed Forces of Liberia. She applauded Captain Geraldine Janet George, the AFL’s first female captain as a patriot. The president said stable peace has enabled stable economic growth, huge debt relief of US$4.9 billion and an influx of sensible investments which are creating jobs and social benefits for Liberians.

She cited rebuilt roads, schools, clinics and drains, as well as low cost housing and reductions in tax and increases in pay. She also reminded citizens of the new Freeport and resumption of direct flights to the United States through Delta, linking Liberians to their cousins in America.

President Johnson-Sirleaf also said that the country is freer than ever before, with freedom of speech and conscience, contrasting this state of affairs to the past.

The President said every Liberian shares the credit for this progress: “There is no doubt that we have reached this far in our national renewal because of the resilience, patience, and understanding of the ordinary Liberian citizen.

She commanded the Liberian people without whom she said, it would have been impossible to make such great strides in so short a time.

The President however acknowledged that much remains to be done to create the future of opportunity. According to her, all the gains cited must be extended, and assured that her priorities are jobs and education. She also acknowledged that the fight against corruption, despite great progress in structural reforms, remains long and hard and promised to keep fighting.

He also called for unity and said Liberia’s destiny is tied together with unity been a priority.

The Liberian Chief Executive said there was no place in Liberia’s politics for those who would divide the Nation, because according to her, a house divided can never stand.

She told the nation that every Liberian shares the credit and equally shares the responsibility to the future of the State. Speaking further, she said the vision outlined is a collective vision and challenged Liberian to reflect on how difficult it would be to achieve.

According to her, there is a long road ahead of all Liberians, but said the road would not be smooth, once Liberians exhibit great courage and determination to get to the destination.

The President said that the job of rebuilding Liberia was not yet finished, and laid out her vision for the future if the Country stays on course. The President closed the speech with a rallying call for unity and common purpose.