A Nation Without an Agenda
With no real priority given to a developmental agenda in Liberia, achieving the goals of such an agenda is far from our reach. Since Madam Sirleaf became president of Africa’s oldest republic, there have been conferences for everything from putting together a road map for better Liberia, to a Poverty ReductionStrategy (PRS) and a Vision 2030 plan. Despite all the talk, progress towards a new Liberia has been patchy
Bad governance in Liberia has denied the country’s citizens access to reliable basic social services such as transportation. Commuters living in Monrovia’s suburban settlements are finding it very difficult to get to central Monrovia. About 90% of the government ministries and agency offices are located in the city’s center, and getting there for routine business transactions is an exhausting ordeal for many citizens.
Life here seems to be getting more difficult every day.
I have spoken with college graduates who spend their days in coffee shops, not because they are unskilled, but because there is nowhere for them to use what they have learned. They are tired of the government’s empty promises, and their education is wasted because there is no system for placing people into jobs based on their knowledge and experience.
Getting a job in Liberia depends much more on who know you than what you know. If you look around the streets of Monrovia today, you will realize that many young people in the streets are either selling cheap wares or riding motorcycle taxies. This is because they are not seeing changes in the lives of their peers who have gone through the walls of academic institutions. As a result, the enthusiasm for quality education is dropping in Liberia.
The University of Liberia, the oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa and the only state-run tertiary institution in Liberia is not among the first 100 ranked universities in West Africa. Madam Sirleaf, has rightfully indicated that “the educational system of Liberia is a mess”. We accept your condemnation Madam president, yet we want to know your role in cleaning up the “mess” you mentioned. A leader should identify problems and then develop ways to move forward. Education has received a systematic lack of attention since the end of the civil war- but there is no way for our country to forge a new vision for the future without people with the skills and knowledge to do it.
Most Liberians today are like refugees in their own country. The streets of Monrovia are filled with petty traders whose income can feed them for only a day. Food is becoming ever more difficult to put on the table; school fees seem to be getting higher every day; and access to quality medical care is financially out of reach for most Liberians.
A judicial system is a central pillar for building a democratic state, yet our country’s justice system is no longer trusted. As a result, we turn to violence to attain a small sense of justice. It seems that the majority of state security personnel are in their line of work for prestige and pay, not to protect citizens.
A member of the legislature prefers to ride in a car worth US$40,000 while his or her constituency goes without a proper clinic or high school- yet they claim to be working in the interest of the masses. Police on the street are without proper uniforms, but the directors of their departments live in nice houses that are clearly way beyond their means. Our country’s borders are without proper security, even though “Border Patrol” vehicles can been seeing driving the streets of Monrovia, leaving border entries without security.
Nationalism and patriotism and patriotism should be the bridge for our leaders to work on if we must have a better Liberia for our younger generation.
To the citizens in general, self-esteem, integrity and personal accountability should be the bench mark if we should hold our leaders to be accountable. Building a social capital is also vital in the recovery process. More coordination among the three branches of government, Ministries and sector agencies are the bed rock and the road map through which making Liberia a better place can become a reality.
It seem that there is less or no coordination among branches of government, Ministries and sector agencies. Evidence by recent education saga in Liberia.Readhere.