President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for a collective spirit among the three branches of the government to confront the vestiges of the past that have prevented the government from “achieving our full potentials that stare in our face.”
“I call for individual and collective efforts for attitudinal change in combating the siege of dishonesty and distrust,” President Sirleaf emphasized.
Delivering her final State of the Nation address in the joint chambers of the Capitol, the seat of the National Legislature on Monday, the Liberian leader noted that the nation’s progress can only be achieved if Liberians seek to build on the present.
“It is easy to criticize, to tear down, to blame and to sow anger, frustration and even hatred; but it is much more difficult and rewarding to propose ideas to encourage optimism and hope for the future”, President Sirleaf added.
She also called on Liberians and members of the branches of government to “exercise the spirit of forgiveness that goes beyond the reach of the law,” adding, “As I reflect on the early days of my life’s journey, I remember with fondness, bygone days when we worked together and shared ideas.”
“I stand before you today, a leader well aware of my own shortcomings; we have fought but must continue to fight the scourge of corruption at every level in society; from the highest official to the civil servants; from the private business person to the teachers and preachers,” the Liberian leader stressed.
She emphasized that the government through the three branches must create jobs for the youthful population, build more roads to connect communities as well as provide electricity to every part of the country.
“I am painfully aware that there is so much to do, but I stand before you with pride for what with have done and with humility for what we have not done; my time on the earth is short and the tasks ahead will be left with the next legislature, political leaders and civil society amongst others,” the Liberian leader pointed out.
The President’s annual message to the nation is in keeping with Article 58 of the Constitution which mandates her to present her administration’s Legislative program on the fourth working Monday in January each year.
In a related development, the Liberian leader is also calling for a two-day electoral forum with all registered political parties and independent presidential candidates in the 2017 presidential and general elections.
According to the Liberia leader, the forum will discuss issues pertaining to the electoral process as well as arrival at a common guideline for the campaign and its after effect.
She made the call when she delivered her final State of the Nation address before the 53rd Legislature Monday in keeping with the Constitution of Liberia.
The program was held in the joint chambers of the National Legislature at the Capitol Building on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
“As we prepare for open campaigning in a few months, I propose a two-day electoral forum with all registered political parties and independent presidential candidates,” the Liberian leader said.
She announced Dr. Amos Sawyer as head of the organizing committee of the form.
She noted that as an old hand, who headed the writing of the 1986 Constitution, and is Chairman of the Governance Commission as well as having presided over the Interim Government of National Unity and having served as election monitor in multiple places, she is confident that Dr. Sawyer will live up to the task.
Meanwhile, the Liberian leader has announced the extension of free education to grade 12 in all public schools beginning next school year.
She promised to deal with any school administrator who will take money from students in the category announced.
Monday declaration means that students from primary to secondary levels begin free education as of academic 2017/2018.