‘President Sirleaf Must Apologize to Liberians’

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A prominent Liberian lawyer has called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to apologize to the Liberian people for describing them as unpatriotic, lazy and unappreciative.

Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, who asserted that he has been fighting for the common good of the county for the past 40 years, made the call last Friday during a brief chat with judicial reporters on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.

With references made by President Sirleaf to Ethiopia and Rwanda’s development, Cllr. Gongloe said the two countries are developed because of the high level of quality leadership in their governments.

It may be recalled that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, following her arrival from the 27th African Union (AU) conference in Kigali, recently said Liberia is far behind its regional and continental neighbors in economic and infrastructural development because of Liberians’ bad work ethics, laziness and indiscipline.

“It takes good leadership to transform the people and develop a country, which has developed Rwanda and Ethiopia (better than Liberia) today, which has also positively transformed their citizens to be disciplined, hard-working and patriotic,” Cllr. Gongloe argued.

He maintained that those countries are transformed, because they have a transformed leader, which President Sirleaf is telling the people of Liberia that she is not.

“President Sirleaf is acknowledging failure that she led Liberia for more than a decade and expressing disappointment at the slow pace of development. Who is to blame? She should start blaming herself,” he said.

He said despite the slow pace of development under the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, she continues to win more international awards, which he attributed to good public relations, locally and internationally.

Under President William R. Tolbert’s administration, Cllr. Gongloe said, a self-reliant policy was introduced and led to the construction of roads, schools and clinics.

“It takes a motivational leader to lead the people to transform the country but she must not attribute the poor state of Liberia to the attitude of the Liberian people. She can’t say that attitudes of the people in those countries are better than those of Liberians,” he said.

He further stated that President Sirleaf must take the blame for the poor state of post-war Liberia’s development after more than ten years in leadership, with overwhelming international support.

About the 169th independence celebration, he said, “We have some level of peace in Liberia that must be celebrated and Liberians are keeping the peace. We are helping by talking about the bad things in the country so that Liberia does not deteriorate,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Cllr. Gongloe warned Liberians not to follow political investors, philanthropists and humanitarians who are mushrooming in the country, and must examine potential leaders on their agenda for transformation.

“Our people need to vote for long term development and not for what they can get today. Our elections should not be stomach-driven and those leaders who will try to push people with gifts, including rice and other things don’t intend to work for the Liberian people,” he cautioned.

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