Liberian Business Association (LIBA) president, Dee Maxwell S. Kemayah is calling for a critical look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report and recommendations, claiming that the root causes of the Liberian civil war still exist in government.
Mr. Kemayah, making the assertions yesterday at LIBA office in Paynesville, said the same overt discrimination perpetrated against a majority of citizens in Liberia, which brought about the assassination of President William R. Tolbert and other leaders in 1980, followed by years of war, continues today.
He observed that a majority of Liberians do not have access to the wealth of the country, but only a handful of people in the elite class.
Citing a reference, Mr. Kemayah said the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Amara Konneh, in 2013 announced that government was going to prioritize local content in purchasing materials, but since that pronouncement, Liberian-owned businesses remain down the line with their products not given preference.
It may be recalled that during her annual message in 2013, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf mentioned that government needed to enforce the Liberianization Policy and preference would be given to locally produced products when government is purchasing materials.
Kemayah asserted that the country has wealth including iron ore that is exported daily overseas, but the majority of the people continue to live in abject poverty with their small businesses struggling in their own country.
“It was better people don’t make such promises than to say something and not do it. This shows the government’s insensitivity to Liberian-owned businesses,” he stressed.
“This TRC report is not only meant for perpetrators of war crimes, but it points out some causes of the long years of war in Liberia, which we still experience even in this government.”
He went on to say that the corruption fight pronounced by President Sirleaf has become what he called “an irony.”
The President in 2006 during her Inaugural Address stated that corruption would be “public enemy number 1,” but contrary to her pronouncement, corruption has engulfed the system.
He stressed that when an official is caught in corruption, instead of allowing the person to go through due process to exonerate him or herself, the person is taken from the position he or she occupied and sent out as an ambassador or given a higher position.
He also said he was happy the President in her Annual Address called corruption a “Vampire.”
“Just as corruption is a vampire, so is vindictiveness a vampire to reconciliation. This leadership is vindictive and it undermines development,” Mr. Kemayah said.
He also stressed that “People are humble when they need votes, but after they are elected, they become arrogant. They must see 2014 senatorial election result and realize that the eyes of Liberians are now open, unlike before.”
Mr. Kemayah’s comment came when some members of the Liberian Business Association and others honored him for his recent academic achievement. The LIGBA boss recently earned a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Catholic-run Uganda Martyrs University of Nkozi.
Groups that honored him included the National Citizens Solidarity Council, the Liberia Carpenter Union & Society, and Sky FM/TV.