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Rainbow Alliance Berates Annual Message

By Bill W. Cooper
Several opposition political parties under the auspices, Rainbow Alliance (RA) has sharply reacted to President George M. Weah’s recent annual message, describing it as “recitation of disjointed facts plastered with falsehoods and restatement of failed promises.”
“Leadership is all about meeting the expectations of the people that are governed. That is why we think that the President’s speech should have gone much farther in reassuring the Liberian people that there would be a new approach to governance,” the RA through its chairperson stressed.
Addressing a news conference over the weekend at VOLT headquarter on the Airfield, Chairman Reginald Goodridge among other things emphasized that the purpose to respond to the President’s annual message is not merely to criticize, but instead, to remind the citizenry of the possibilities for development when good governance is practiced as well as correct strategies and policies are put in place to motivate the greater population.
Chairman Goodridge explained that what Liberians expect from their government is innovative thinking as well as strategic reasoning and planning in ways and manner that connect different range of actions and as such, the aspiration and hope of Liberians should not be taken for granted by its own government.
According to him, no sitting government in its third year in office should still be in an experimental mode for the governance of the country, emphasizing, “By this time, competence on the part of the government structure should have assured Liberians that the future of this country is assured.”
He added, “During the President’s annual message, he claimed that the country is on the right path and that the targets set from successive annual messages are on course; we beg to differ because the bare truth is that President Weah’s recent message is a recitation of previous annual messages with restatements of promises that have not been kept, and brought forward for new achievements that are hard to defend.”
“We want to note that while the President’s projections for reconstruction and development are useful intervention; however, the mere naming of projects without any strategy and policy do not add up to a message that should translate into sustainable growth and development for the Liberian people,” the RA chairperson narrated.
Commenting on the economy, chairman Goodridge noted that the Liberia’s economy continues to take a nosedive since the ascendency of the CDC government, and indicated that in the last three years of potential economic growth and macroeconomic stability have been in sight but never achieved due to poor leadership style exhibited by the ruling-CDC.
He intoned that inflation has jumped from 26.1% in 2018, to 31.3% by August of 2019, and stated that theses dismal numbers are upheld by Liberia’s World Bank Economic Freedom score; the US State Department 2020 Investment Climate Statement; the African Development Report (2019), all of which contrast the government’s purported macroeconomic stability going forward this year.
“In the context of not doing well in Economic Freedom, Liberia is ranked 40 among 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa Region, as its overall score is well below the regional averages. Understandably, the Liberian economy has fallen further into recession with successive GDP growth thus recording the weakest performance over the past five years,” Chairperson Goodridge added.
For agriculture and education; the RA chairperson stated that although every government has acknowledged the importance of agriculture in the creation of jobs, macroeconomic growth and food security; there seems to be a gulf between well-intentioned agriculture policy and the political will to implement those policies, and stressed, “Liberia remains a net importer of the very basic agricultural commodities amidst its abundance of fertile lands that provide potential of being international bread basket.”
“Except for announcing painting or renovation work done on the facilities of a few primary and secondary school buildings, President Weah did little or nothing to provide information on progress made in support or enrollment and education to the vulnerable youths of our country or enriching the curriculum in the Liberian school system,” chairman Goodridge asserted.
He further stated that free education, payment of WACCE fees and intermittent handouts to vulnerable youths does not translate into sustainable growth and development in the absence of a coherent educational strategy and policy, emphasizing that the failure of the county’s educational system in the prevailing years since the end of the civil war has worsened the situation.
Speaking on the just ended National Referendum; Chairman Goodridge stressed the need for the government and its International Partners to constitute a National Constitutional Review Committee for the purpose of re-writing the entire Constitution to bring it in line with current social, political and economic realities of the country instead of amending portion of the Constitution.
He averred, “The Rainbow Alliance is of the strong conviction that it is not enough to amend portions of the 1986 Constitution, which we believe is inherently inadequate to serve the purposes of law and order, good governance, internal policy and economic viability, and precedent to this action, a national census must be held in order to provide adequate information and realistic data about the country’s demographics, population dynamics and shifts that affect electoral matters in the various counties and districts and as such, we therefore call on the government to step up to its constitutional obligations in this regards.”

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