President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described 2014 as a year of development and hard work for all, urging Liberians to embrace the New Year as one people in this country’s push for ongoing and new development.
She named agriculture, roads, power and water, as areas the government will vigorously pursue in 2014; she underscored the ‘coming together of Liberians as one people’ as a vital ingredient will give impetus (forward drive) to the development thrust.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf spoke on Tuesday, the final day of 2013, when a delegation of the National Traditional Council of Liberia paid her a courtesy call.
During their exchange, the President called on the nation’s leaders—traditional leaders in particular—to help spread the message of unity and development to their people along the countryside, urging them to step up a bit more in their areas, the production of food.
“By producing more food, the local people will help develop the country by reducing the importation of rice—a huge burden on the government and people,” she said.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Traditional Council, Chief Zanzan Karwar, said the delegation had come to tell the President how much they appreciate her administration for the level of support received, and to thank her for signing the Act that established the National Traditional Council of Liberia as an autonomous agency.
The Council now sees itself as part of the body politic of Liberia. He said it was on account of the respect and confidence President Sirleaf reposed in the traditional people, that made possible the autonomy and the sense of inclusion it engender (created, brought about) that they enjoy today.
As a result of the Act, he went on to say, the Council now has direct budgetary support from the government; that support has equipped them to undertake meaningful initiatives including the holding of peace dialogues without having to go begging for funding, they explained.
According to the Chief, this is the first time that traditional people have been included in the decision-making process—unlike in the past when they were seen and treated as beggars.
As a mark of appreciation for her support to the Council, the delegation presented the President a cow and a bag of locally-produced, processed rice; they also offered a special prayer for strength and wisdom as she steers the affairs of the nation.
Chairman Karwar was accompanied by 12 Council members including Chief Gbeley Gray of Bomi and Chief Saah Korsor of Lofa County.