— Dr. Clarence Moniba explains why the country’s leadership must be changed now
The standard bearer of the Liberia National Union (LINU), and former Chairman of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Dr. Clarence K. Moniba, said Liberia will need US$4 billion to have electricity that is cheap and affordable for every Liberian citizen.
Moniba, who served in key positions under former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, including Minister of State Without Portfolio, President Delivery Unit, and Chairman of Liberia Electricity Corporation, said 70 percent of the country's population continues to be in darkness, but his administration will invest in transmission and distribution.
Moniba, who claims that the Weah-led administration lacks negotiations that will bring resources, said Liberia has more energy than Liberians can use now, but more needs to be done in investing in transmission and distribution to enable Liberians to get the power.
The 44-year-old presidential hopeful Moniba, who served as a consultant to the United Nations and the World Bank, emphasized that if the government wants every Liberian citizen to get electricity, Liberia needs little over US$4 billion dollars, and he is prepared to bring transformational leadership based on his education and experience.
"This is why Liberia needs a leader that can sit anywhere, whether with the World Bank, or the European Union, to be able to discuss and negotiate on behalf of the Liberian people. I am confident that it is a strong thing of mine that I am ready to do," he said.
Moniba, one of the youngest presidential candidates for the 2023 October 10 polls, was one of the four members of the team that went to the United States of America under former President Johnson-Sirleaf, and negotiated for the US$250 million for the building of mount coffee hydro plant, which is now serving as the source of electricity for Liberia.
"We have to continue to look for money to provide power to our people. Our focus has to be transmission and distribution, which is not enough right now. The challenge now is that the government will not be running transmission lines to villages that have 20 homes but need solar panels or alternative energy for smaller communities or villages," he said.
Moniba, who has continuously said he is uniquely qualified looking at the education, experience, character, and energy to transform Liberia, indicated the current watts of LEC were never meant to solve the country's electricity problem but were a step towards achieving it and therefore, should be considered a success for the country.
The former LEC Chairman said his team also negotiated for US$60 million from the European Union to be able to electrify Monrovia and its environs, adding that the action of the government and partners has been very helpful in making sure the power goes to Mamba Point to Paynesville and other parts.
"It's not about people having the country at heart at this time, but the person elected should be able to run the country and ensure that the country is transformed. Liberia needs a sophisticated government that understands the ways to negotiate for resources, not a popular government, if these things are to be achieved," Moniba warns Liberians.
He said the leadership of Liberia must be Changed based on poor governance and the lack of leadership abilities of President George M. Weah if the country is to make progress and be transformed, stating that "if Liberia is to change, the citizens must change the kinds of leaders they elect."
Moniba, who indicated that one of his responsibilities was to work with Ministers under former President Johnson-Sirleaf to pass the MCC indicators, said the government of President Weah failed to pass the MCC compact that would land US$250 million because of poor governance, including human rights.
Commenting on his history of fighting corruption, Moniba said he has helped to negotiate millions of dollars for Liberia, and not a single person both in and out of Liberia can show that he receives bribes.
Moniba said there is a need to audit both the former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President George M. Weah administrations, including the offices he oversaw.
He said he will fight corruption at all levels, stating, "I have been in positions of so many opportunities that if I wanted to be corrupt, I would buy again. I want to say I am not corrupt, and this is why I feel I am the best to lead this country."
Moniba said under his administration, corruption will not be tolerated as his administration will ensure asset declarations every year for everyone in the government.
"In order to come into government or work for the government, we must first know what you have, whether you are a minister or an assistant minister. This way, we will be able to fight corruption," he said.
Additionally, Moniba said anyone who is accused of corruption under his administration will be suspended, investigated, and investigated and based on the outcome, mandatory jail time and restitution.
"You can't steal $200,000 and go to jail for six years or six months, and you come out and the money is waiting for you. While in jail, we will sell your homes, and property and make sure that money goes back to the people of Liberia," he said.
He said currently the government does not implement or even hold people accountable and that is the reason Liberia is still in such a state under President Weah.
Commenting on additional reasons for not electing President George M. Weah
Moniba who served the Liberian Embassy in the United States before transitioning to Liberia said Liberians need to change the Weah-led government because they are yet to hear anything from the government about the three government officials sanctioned by the US Government.
In 2022, the United States Embassy near Monrovia announced and sanctioned Weah's Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel F. McGill, Managing Director of the National Port Authority Bill Tweahway and Solicitor Syrenius Cephus for corruption and others.
However, the three top government officials were immediately dismissed by President Weah but the government is yet to announce their prosecution despite public outcries.
Disappointedly, the former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs is contesting the Senatorial seat of Margibi County, one of the 15 counties of Liberia.
Additionally, Moniba said he was concerned about the kind of investigation done that led to the prosecution of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and three of her close relatives.
The Former Chief Justice Musu Scott is being prosecuted for alleged murder of her daughter, Charlyn Musu
Moniba who said he is qualified to be President said if Liberia does not want to go back to the dark days, Liberians need to change the kinds of leaders that are elected.
According to him, the Bea Mountain and Western Cluster agreements need to be reviewed because they are not in the interest of Liberia despite the huge benefits they continue to get from the country's resources.
He said President Weah-led administration has failed to ensure that the right things are done in the interest of Liberia and the citizens working for those companies.
"We always make mistakes by expecting companies to come and build roads and that's not the company's job. We expect Firestone to run the school for us as well, which is wrong" he said.
He said it's the job of the government to ensure that the people have good schools and roads systems as well as health systems.
Using the country's resources, he said the government must ensure that the people benefit and not only politicians or lawmakers.
Moniba said there are many issues that have happened under President Weah and they are yet to be investigated, including the deaths of peaceful citizens.