Liberians Abroad Give President Sirleaf ‘s “Vision 2030” Cold Feet, Call for TRC Report Implementation, Eradication of Corruption, and Other Vices Instead.
The Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who is on a 12th day visit to the United States appearing on college and university campuses delivering commencement speeches, is using the visit to strike and kill two birds with one stone by dispatching her team around the United States to Liberian Diaspora communities to market what she refers to as her “Vision 2030”, an eighteen year roadmap for her country’s development agenda for the war-ravaged West African country moving forward.
The first of the many town hall meetings took off in the northeastern city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the birth of America’s democracy last Friday. President “Vision 2030” in no time felled apart and was “dead on arrival” when the floor was opened for ‘question and answer’.
The former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ms. Massa Washington took to the floor and passionately grilled the vision emphasizing that the likes of President Sirleaf, Dr. Tipoteh and the rest had for so long stratified her generation that suppose to be carving this vision because their generation had long lived their time but continues to impose themselves on the new generation. “What makes Dr. Tipoteh and President Sirleaf to think that their generation is the only generation that knows what is best for Liberia and her generation when in fact destruction and war are the patents of the generation of President Sirleaf and Dr. Tipoteh”, the former commissioner said.
“I can remember, I was 13 years old when we were thought to memorize President Sirleaf and Dr. Tipoteh likes names in grade school because they were in government then and stakeholders in the society, and now I am in my late 40s and these same people are still around imposing themselves on our generation”, Commissioner Washington asserted, pointing out that President Sirleaf and Dr. Tipoteh likes cannot carve a vision for her and her children’s generations.
Commissioner Washington also reminded the core vision team that all the issues in the “Vision 2030” are repetitive of the recommendations contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC Report) which President Sirleaf refuse to implement because they go against her interest. There are several reports from the General Auditing Commission, (GAC), the Negbalee Warner Report, the Tiawon Gonglo Report, to name a few of the many reports which the President refuses to implement; why sidestep those reports when they addressed these very issues contain in “Vision 2030”, Commissioner Washington lamented.
The head of the core vision team as they called themselves, Mr. Nathaniel Kwabo tried unsuccessfully give the “Vision 2030” a human face by saying it unlike all other previous reports and recommendations or visions.
Speakers after speakers lashed out at President Sirleaf and failure to reign in corruption and deliver basic economic and living conditions for their kinsmen back home despite the enormous international communities help to the country and President Sirleaf’s administration.
Touching on a the issue on Liberians with United States citizenship Cllr. Ruth Jappa, one of the core vision team panelists said Liberians who naturalized as United States citizens have automatically forfeited their Liberian citizenship and disinherited any properties might have had or inherited from their parents or relatives.
In a sharp rejection to Cllr. Jappa’s assertion, an executive of Liberian organization in the United States (ULAA) said contrary to Cllr Jappa’s Assertion that the Liberian constitution is clear on the fate of Liberians opting for United States citizenship or other countries, the Liberian constitution indeed embraces dual citizenship but it the 1972 Immigration and Nationality Act which in facts the constitution and places the contentious artificial wranglings now unfolding.
Another speak asked if Liberians who fled their country for safety and better life when their country could not protect them because of the barbaric 14 year civil war are been punished for running for their lives and safety? One speaker said, “my two kids were born here (United States) and they have gone home and going to school in Liberia, let me see who will tell them they are not Liberians”?
The “Vision 2030” meeting was poorly attended and one common denominator that be taken out of the town hall meeting was the total rejection of the “Vision 2030” and outright anger with the President Sirleaf’s administration failure to curb corruption, implement the TRC and other reports, and deliver living conditions to Liberians.
Across the Liberian Diaspora communities in the United States from Philadelphia to Washington DC, and to Minnesota, “Vision 2030” had a bitter reception and outright rejection. The Philadelphia core vision delegate, head Mr. Nathaniel Kwabo testified to the bitter reception and outright rejection of the President ‘s “Vision 2030” when he narrated in his closing remarks that the team was disappointed in the outcome of the town hall meeting, “we thought you would give us some ideals as to how this vision could move forward but we did not”, Mr . Kwabo concluded.
Click to listen to full audio of “Vision 2030” town hall meeting in Philadelphia , arranged in descending order