The President of the United Nations (UN) Security Council has said that lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the Liberian government is a worrying trend that needs urgent attention because it makes the citizenry to have no confidence in the governing establishment.
As a result, the Security Council has urged the Unity Party led government to accelerate its accountability and transparency efforts to bolster public confidence as the October 10 elections approaches as well as the subsequent transfer of power, the UN SC said in a statement yesterday.
The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration has been marred with series of corruption incidents and several anti-graft reports that have yet to be properly investigated and perpetrators brought to book.
The latest of these entrenched corruption activities is the Public Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) loan scheme, which was “reportedly” set aside by government for struggling Liberian businesses. Unfortunately, however, the funds were divided amongst top government officials and family members and cronies, thereby leaving out those the scheme was actually meant to benefit. Investigation launched into how the funds were mismanaged has yielded no fruit as the case is seems to be forgotten already.
The President admitted in her last Annual Address to the Joint Session of Legislature that her government has failed in the war against corruption because Liberians are dishonest, not only in government, but in their homes, as well as places of learning and of worship.
The global body (UN) and its sub-organizations have continuously stressed that transparency and accountability are requisite tools for the attainment of peace and the advancement of development and improvement of lives in any country. China, which is a permanent member, currently holds the presidency of the Security Council.
The Security Council, therefore, emphasizes the need for continued international attention to and involvement in Liberia and urges the government, UNMIL, and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to continue to coordinate closely in the transfer of responsibilities, taking into account UNMIL’s drawdown and closure at the expiration of the final period of its mandate on March 30, 2018, as set out in Resolution 2333 (2016).
The Security Council will continue to engage with the international community and donors, including in support of the commitments made in the Liberia Peace-building Plan, to address capacity gaps identified in the UNCT’s mapping exercise needed to assure continuity of relevant peace-building programs and assist Liberia’s continued efforts to achieve sustainable peace.
“The Security Council emphasizes, in this context, the importance of the convening role of the Peace-building Commission,” the statement said.
The Security Council commends the overall progress towards restoring peace, security and stability in Liberia, the commitment of the people and Government of Liberia to peace and to developing democratic processes and institutions, and the contributions of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) since its establishment in 2003, and welcomes the Liberia Peace-building Plan, entitled ‘Sustaining Peace and Securing Development’ (S/2017/282), submitted by the Secretary-General to the Council, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2333 (2016) after development through close consultation between the UN and the Government of Liberia.
The global security body said it has taken note of the peace-building plan and actions to be undertaken during phase I of the plan from April 2017 – March 2018 in support of the Government of Liberia’s commitment to develop, before UNMIL’ s departure, durable national capacities critical to sustain peace, and, in this regard, encourages all stakeholders to enhance efforts to fulfill their commitments and provide their support for successful implementation and emphasizes the need for expanded efforts by the Liberian authorities to address the root causes of conflict, reinvigorate reconciliation processes, promote land reform, advance constitutional and institutional reforms, especially in the justice and security sectors, and promote women’s active participation in Peace-building, extend state authority and social services throughout the country, and build trust between Liberian citizens and the government institutions.
The Security Council notes the importance of credible presidential and legislative elections in Liberia in October 2017 and calls upon all stakeholders to ensure that the elections in October will be free, fair, credible, and transparent, including through the full participation of women, and that any dispute will be resolved peacefully through established mechanisms in accordance with the law.
The Security Council also welcomed the signing of the ‘Farmington River Declaration’ on June 4, at the ECOWAS Summit, where political parties committed themselves to violence-free elections in October and a peaceful transition to a new government.
The council also called on the Liberian government to ensure that adequate resources are committed and expeditiously distributed for the National Elections Commission,.
The group also commended the successful completion of the transfer of security responsibility to Liberia’s security services on 30 June 2016 and encourages the efforts underway by the Government of Liberia to put in place an elections security plan aimed at responding effectively and appropriately to any incident of public disorder and calls on the government to provide adequate resources to implement the plan.
The Security Council welcomes the support of bilateral and multilateral partners, including the UN, African Union, ECOWAS and the Mano River Union, and encourages them to continue to play a significant role in support of building and sustaining peace in Liberia.