The United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Dr. Linda Thomas-Greefield who is visiting Liberia has blast Liberian politician politicians she said are using their political Connections to Fill Bank Accounts & Build Mansions why the ordinary are dying in abject poverty.
“Corruption robs countries of vital resources needed to move forward on development. And Liberia cannot afford to lose resources. so all of us must work together to stop corruption at all levels and stop people from using their political connections to fill their bank accounts and building mansions … We have to fight corruption if we want to see this country progress” – Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Addressing students at the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) in Monrovia Monday, Dr. Greenfield, who served as Ambassador to Liberia from 2008 to 2012, spoke on the Theme: Securing a Peaceful & Prosperous Future for Liberia and highlighted many issues concerning Liberia, including security, corruption, terrorism and elections.
The U.S. envoy lamented that corruption robs countries of vital resources needed to move forward on development and cautioned that Liberia cannot afford to lose resources. “So all of us must work together to stop corruption at all levels and stop people from using their political connections to fill their bank accounts and building mansions.”
Dr. Greenfield Continued: “We have to fight corruption if we want to see this country progress, as President Obama said last year in Ethiopia, nothing will unlock African’s economy than eliminating corruption.”
Great Opportunity; Significant Challenges
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said more than fifteen percent of Liberia’s population is under 18, which presents great opportunity but it also has significant challenges as well.
In order to accommodate this population vote, she averred, “Liberia must create job opportunities, it must provide infrastructure and must have a booming economy, it must improve its educational system, and most importantly, it must remain stable.”
On terrorism, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said Liberian must also stay focus on maintaining peace and enforcing the rule of law and providing security.
“As West Africa continues to suffer the act of terrorism, you should be grateful that you have not yet felt the terror that the others have experienced. Let me tell you that Liberia is not exempted from threats, so Liberian security must be resilient at all times, because these are some of the challenges Liberia will have to face.”
Addressing peace and elections, she said it is also known that for the past thirteen years of peace, Liberia has had three free and fair nationwide elections. And Liberia also showed resilient after the Ebola crisis. But despite the progress, the envoy added, Liberia continues to face damping challenges and a lower risk of backsliding remains.
“We cannot not let that happen. All these things, there are going to be challenges for Liberia moving forward. According to World Bank 2015 business indicators, Liberia was ranked 179 out of 189, which means, you are at the bottom and it is not good enough, as a result, Liberia has been left behind.”
Speaking about the US and Liberia relationship, she said her country has pumped over one billion US dollars into assistance for Liberia. “As Liberia moves forward, the US will continue to be you partner. The US/Liberia relationship date as far back as long as 200 years and since 2004, the US has contributed over one billion US dollars in foreign assistance to this country.”
The envoy further said that Liberia has one of the lowest electricity rates in the world, and in Monrovia, only 6.7 percent of the population have access to electricity and by 2030, Liberia aims to connect 70 percent of Monrovia to electricity and will provide access to 35 percent to the rest of the country. “In support of peace and security, we have contributed to the Armed Forces of Liberia in building an army for good.”
Dr. Thomas-Greenfield said Liberians should be thankful of transitioning, where President Johnson Sirleaf will be turning over power and another government will be elected into office.
“This is a big deal, because many African Leaders do not step down from power. Some African Leaders change the constitution to suit their liking to either stay into power for life or die in office. Liberia will be one of the first Countries to move from one transition to another through a democratic election, that other countries will emanate your example.”
Addressing the young students, the U.S. envoy said the young people have the opportunity to shape Liberia into becoming the better Liberia they want as she cautioned politicians to move away from personal attack and create a platform for their voters.
“Young people do not be used as political pawn and Start asking your leaders questions for the transformation of Liberia and the future of your country. You need to tell your leaders not to engage in violence or stir up violence, or you won’t tolerate it or vote for them.”