The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia, Rt. Rev. Louis Ziegler, has described as unfortunate, the habit of reserving accusations of corruption for only those in the leadership of any organizations.
Ziegler said Liberians must face themselves and come to recognize that the whole country is corrupt.
Archbishop Ziegler gave the admonition in a New Year's Eve homily (short sermon, lecture) at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Broad Street.
“We are all corrupt, and we need to admit that and try to work on ourselves individually; and then we will be able to look at the other person and say he or she is corrupt.”
He pointed out that the fight against corruption must start from somewhere — especially the family and all other sectors of the society where traces of corruption can be found.
"For somebody to come out and say we will fight it (corruption), we have to start from somewhere; and I think the best place to start is from the very family that we have — from our very homes — and then we move on to all institutions that make up the country. Other than that, we are wasting our time. We are not really fighting corruption because we are practicing it every day.’
Bishop Ziegler lamented that Liberia was not winning the fight against corruption because it is like fighting oneself. “So talking about fighting corruption, all of us citizens of Liberia must roll up our sleeves and fight, not looking at anyone, but first of all looking at ‘myself.’ ”
He warned that until Liberians are willing to fight and kill their inner-selves; that thing in them that is making them corrupt, the country is going nowhere.
On the question of whether past and present administrations have been using the country’s natural resources properly, Archbishop Ziegler said he did not want to blame one single person or administration.
‘I think all of those who have administered the country tried one way or another to use the resources in a very limited way to develop the country. I think that in most cases, the resources have gone to things other than developing the country.’
He said one of the reasons why development continues to elude the country, is the unwillingness of incoming leaders to develop on what their predecessors had started, thus constantly making it necessary to reinventing the wheel.
Speaking on the infamous secret recording of former Robert International Airport Managing Director Ellen Corkrum of government officials, Bishop Ziegler wondered why “a person would take a recorder and come to me, hold a conversation and record me [unbeknownst to me], and then later go and broadcast it. What is the intention of the person? This is what Liberians should try to find out.”
“It makes me not to believe any of those recordings; but if it is true that some people in government helped her to escape…, why should I go and release the information that was given me to the public? Why?”
Bishop Ziegler refused to be drawn into the argument that Madam Corkrum’s action was in line with the fight of corruption, saying it could be possible that she is trying to promote herself instead of fighting corruption.