With 18 months away from presidential and general elections in Liberia, an opposition political party has called on the church to pray for the country to have its first living former President.
The call, which brought brief silence in the Miraculous Power of Jesus Christ Church located on Duport Road, was made by the chairman of the newly formed Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP), Representative Moses Y. Kollie. It was during the celebration of the church’s 23rd anniversary.
Rep. Kollie, who is also the Lofa County District # 5 Representative, said he perceived tension over alleged corruption charges that hang over President Sirleaf, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.
He made the request at the church yesterday on behalf of some honorees for their services and contributions during construction of the church. Those honored included LPDP chairman Speaker J. Alex Tyler and 24 others.
“We need to pray for President Sirleaf to be the first free and living ex-President because there will be tensions with these charges,” he said.
In an interview later, the LPDP chairman told journalists that since 1847, Liberia has not had a living former President, and the church needs to pray for President Sirleaf, whose two terms will be over on January 16, 2018.
Ex-President Charles G. Taylor is in prison for 50 years in Great Britain, having been convicted for crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.
Many of the church members who spoke to the Daily Observer and requested anonymity said the request to pray for President Sirleaf should be considered seriously in the wake of former transitional Chairman Gyude Bryant’s experience, when he was dragged to court and later acquitted.
Some said it should be the burden of the churches to fervently pray that the next President should grant clemency to President Sirleaf to make history, or rather pray for her request to become the next UN Secretary General.
It may be recalled that Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2016 Report quoting perception of citizens that Liberia is among the most corrupt countries in Africa.
The report highlighted that Liberians targeted from across the 15 counties in a survey perceived that their public institutions are highly corrupt, with the police topping the list.
“In Liberia 1,199 respondents were targeted across the 15 counties from May 6 to 22, 2015. Many persons perceived their public institutions as being highly corrupt with the Police, again topping the list of the most corrupt public institutions,” the report indicated.
The report added: “Business executives were perceived as the second most corrupt people in Liberia. An overwhelming majority (81%) of Liberians surveyed believe that their government is performing badly in fighting corruption. Additionally, 69% of public service users said they have paid bribes in the last 12 months and that the poor are more likely to pay bribes, often against their will, than the more well-off in society.
“Mainly, respondents in Liberia, Benin, South Africa, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana perceived their governments as performing very poorly in fighting corruption.”
Many political parties, including the main opposition Congress of Democratic Change (CDC) believe that, from 2006 to present the Sirleaf administration is yet to curb corruption and convince Liberians and the international community that her administration is seriously fighting corruption, amidst the establishment of several transparency institutions, including the General Auditing Commission of Liberia (GAC), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), amongst others.