The absence of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai out of the country and leaving the Minister of National Defense to be in charge of the nation has created serious security concerns among Liberians who are wondering about fate, considering the state of the security as paramount.
The absence of the country’s leadership was the issue of discussion in street corner, entertainment centers, and even campuses of various universities and colleges, questioning the reason behind the action of both leaders, and leaving in charge the head of the country’s military.
“Members of the Liberian parliament must get involved in this matter, with our security being compromised by President Sirleaf and her Vice President to leave the country at once and leaving us in the hands of a military man. As we speak, Liberia is now under a military commend,” Amos P. Harris, a student of the universities in Monrovia in a chat with the GNN noted.
“For me, I am confused, and have been pondering over this new development from the President and her Vice President to leave the country at once us in the hands of the Minister of Defense, this situation on the part of the President to me who is approaching my 60 years is strange, especially in Africa when military are always hungry for power. I am worried,” Martha Dixon a mother of six and a patty trader expressing her concern said.
Today, a local daily quoting the country’s leading human rights lawyers, Cllr. Tiawon S. Gongloe, as saying the absence of both the President and her Vice President "demonstrates a lack of coordination and makes the country vulnerable and insecure."
"This is a very important governance issue, because the Constitution provides for the president to work in consultation with the vice president, but if both of them left the country simultaneously, then where is the coordination between them," Cllr. Gongloe wondered.
President Sirleaf is currently visiting India and later China, while her Vice President, Joe Boakai, is in the United States of America.
Gongloe raised the concern yesterday at a press conference held at his law office in Monrovia.
"What is the compelling national issue that she could not wait for her vice president to come back home before making her trip?" the rights lawyer asked. "Is it that her Vice President did not contact her or what's going on? How can our leaders treat us like this? They need to stop that immediately,"Gongloe chided.
"What is so important that she could not designate somebody else to go to China or India since her vice president was not in the country? They left us vulnerable but we are fortunate because we have friendly neighbours," added Cllr Gongloe.
"Their decision is totally wrong. Even that cannot happen in the US for the President and Vice President to leave their people and the country at the same time. Nobody should play with our security because we are a fragile state," Gongloe warned.
He said though President Sirleaf left the country in the care of her Defence Minister, the minister cannot make any important decision in case of an aggression.
He said, "While they are away, if anything happens, who does she expect to take action? Is it the person she leaves in charge who has no authority to make appointments or sack anyone?"
According to him, Liberia is considered a "fragile state" and there is a need for both the President and Vice President to coordinate their activities before they leave the country in order to prevent the country from slipping into chaos.
He said with the 2017 elections at hand, the leaders need to do everything possible to protect the peace.
"The 2017 election is very important because it would be the first time for one party to turn over to another party," Gongloe pointed out.