The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

“Pro-Poor Elitism” -Rainbow Alliance Terms Weah’s Gesture To Civil Servants

The Rainbow Alliance says the government has over-loaded the civil service with up to 77,000 Cidcians, many of whom are incompetent, but receive millions of dollars in regular salaries from the national budget.

“The economy is being cleverly manipulated to empower the CDC upper class to give them cash advantage in the up-coming presidential and legislative elections, while most Liberians struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet,” the Rainbow Alliance said.

The Alliance concern is stemmed from President George Weah’s Annual Message wherein he mandated the Minister of Finance to raise the salary of 15,000 civil servants to a minimum wage at an additional cost of US$6 million.

“What the President did not tell the Liberian people is that the budget for his office alone is more than US$20 million every year, more than three times the amount he intends to add to the salaries of 15,000 Liberians. This is the essence of pro-poor elitism.”

In a press release the Alliance said, “The high expectation with which Liberians greeted President Weah’s Fifth Annual Message was a big disappointment due to the low energy of the president’s performance and the manner in which he turned the respectability of the Joint Session of the Legislature into a joker’s gallery.”

According to the party, most of the President’s Annual Message dealt with issues surrounding the nation’s broken economy, without admitting the government’s failure in delivering any substantial progress on its Pro-Poor agenda. 

Meanwhile, the Rainbow Alliance said the lack of competent leadership is the biggest challenge that Liberia is facing and that the painful truth is that five years of the Weah presidency have been characterized by zero tolerance for educational advancement, frequent violation of the Liberian constitution, breakdown of law and order, open corruption and official playfulness, just to name a few areas in which the government’s Pro-Poor agenda has failed.

“The poverty rate is higher in Liberia today, and there are more poor people going hungry every day, than when the CDC came to power five years ago; more parents are unable to send their children to school than five years ago; more children have become street sellers; more responsible and professional people have become beggars, and our country has generally lost its way as if it is operating on remote control”.

The Rainbow Alliance said the President boasted about his road and highway development agenda without explaining to the Liberian people the corruption surrounding misapplication of millions of US dollars of the Road Fund.

The Rainbow alliance release further said the Monrovia-Roberts International Airport Road construction debacle is sore eye for all Liberians and an embarrassment to visitors and foreigners entering the country.

“It is a risk to every traveler in this country and those from foreign countries for our nation to rely on a single airport and in the event of an emergency, an aircraft has to fly almost an hour to either Sierra Leone of Guinea to land,” the opposition alliance stated.

The Alliance described as a major error of judgement made by the President to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to construct a presidential playground near the Spriggs Payne Airport without any accountability, instead of upgrading that airport as an option for the convenience of travelers and the safety of airlines.

It said, “The mathematics is simple: by upgrading the Spriggs Payne Airport, the government does not only increase revenue intake, but also seeks the welfare of Liberians and foreigners in the event of an emergency.”

The press release said the construction of a playground for the President and his friends is a drain on the economy due to the high cost of electricity, maintenance and security.

The Alliance said sadly, the President’s focus on key deliverables for the Liberian people, including food security, efficient and affordable health care delivery systems, education, infrastructure, the fight against corruption, the enforcement of law and order, are very scanty or non-existent.

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