Former Foreign and Finance Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan says he is seeking the presidency of Liberia in 2017 in order to institutionalize the culture of integrity in the country.
Speaking at a jam-packed occasion held on Saturday, October 22, in Gbarnga, Bong County, where he had gone to launch the Bong Chapter of the Friends of Augustine Ngafuan (FAN), the presidential aspirant said he wants to see a Liberia where “to put the country’s interest above self interest is no longer regarded as being stupid and old-fashioned.”
Former Minister Ngafuan said he is in the presidential race because “Liberia is in it.” He stressed that he has the competence, character, credibility, commitment, energy, and patriotism that “our country sorely needs in order develop and prosper.”
“Why are we in it? We are in it because we want to institutionalize the culture of integrity so that to be honest, to be sincere, and to put the country’s interest above self interest is no longer regarded as being stupid and old-fashioned,” the Presidential aspirant said.
He added: “The only ambition that we are not prepared to compromise is the ambition of the Liberian people for development, for prosperity, for peace, for unity and reconciliation. As we pursue the presidency of our dear country, we will respect all our other compatriots who also want to be President. Win or lose, everyone brings some unique value to the table that can be tapped in order to build a strong, stable, and prosperous country. So, as President Obama once said, ‘let us disagree without being disagreeable’; and I will add, let us differ without being disdainful.”
He further stated: “In the coming weeks and months, we will be carving up, working in a consultative and collaborative framework, a comprehensive blueprint that represents our vision for positive change in the new Liberia. For now, let me stress that the building of a robust economy will be at the front and center of our roadmap for positive transformation. Sound macroeconomic management will be critical. We believe that the building of a sound and robust economy paves the way to the achievement of many of our lofty goals in education, health, peace, reconciliation, etc.
“We will approach the fight against corruption not only with unflagging vigor, but also with honesty and fairness. We will adequately fund all anti-graft institutions in order to strengthen their capacities and reduce their vulnerabilities. But we will insist on annual audits of all critical government institutions and this will not exclude the Legislature, the Judiciary and the anti-graft institutions themselves. We will adequately fund the Ministry of Justice in order to boost its capacity to expeditiously prosecute cases. As emphasis is placed on prosecution, we will not neglect prevention through very smart measures such as pay increases, value for money, procurement, and pension reform that will incentivize good behavior and reduce the fear and risk of life after government service.”
Ngafuan, tenure as Minister of Finance during the first term of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf witnessed year-on-year growth in the economy and annual increases of wages of civil servants, emphasized that sound economic management will be a critical key because it leads to the achievement of many other goals in health, education, unity, peace, among other lofty deliverables.
On his decision to join the Victory for Change Party, the presidential aspirant, who resigned from the Unity Party early this year, said that this decision was not an easy one as it was taken after months of consultations and analysis. He noted that the primary reason for joining the VCP was because the Party espouses the core values of his support group and was open to joining forces with other political parties to contest the 2017 elections. The VCP is a signatory to the recent Ganta Declaration of collaborating political parties. Ngafuan said his joining the Party is “expected to enhance, not to hinder, those collaboration initiatives.”
Amid thunderous applause from his thousands of supporters, Ngafuan said “if ever the VCP was considered to be in the second division of political parties,” he was joining the party with his troops of “committed, seasoned, and skillful strategists and tacticians to work with the brothers and sisters of the VCP to quickly catapult the Party into the premier league of Liberian politics.”
The colorful ceremony, which was preceded by a grand parade on major streets of Gbarnga, involved thousands of excited and jubilant supporters and sympathizers as well as cultural and masked dancers.