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Monday, July 22, 2024

AEL CAUTION GOVERNMENT & COP ON NATIONAL ISSUES

Date:

LIBERIA – The Association of Evangelicals of Liberia (AEL) has cautioned the government of Liberia and the Council of patriots to ensure that the peace4 and stability of the nation n are protected.

The faith-based says it has a moral and religious obligation to advise and give suggestions on issues of national concern for the good, peace, and the forward march of our country.

The AEL has observed over the months, with keen attention, some critical national issues, and challenges faced by citizens and residents of Liberia on one hand, and the actions and inactions by the government, citizens, or individuals on the other hand.

The AEL says it has observed over the months, with keen attention, some critical national issues and challenges faced by citizens and residents of Liberia on one hand, and the actions and inactions by the government, citizens, or individuals on the other hand. Our attention is drawn to issues and challenges such as the GOL Salary Harmonization, 2).The infusion of additional Liberian Dollars in the economy. The GOL information management system, and, 4). The frequent strikes or Go-Slow actions by government employees and private citizens.

Speaking at a press conference in Paynesville, the Secretary General of the AEL disclosed that a few months ago, the GOL announced and commenced the implementation of a program called Salary Harmonization. It is believed that the dividends of the Salary Harmonization Program address salary disparity and inequality, and 2). To address or reduce the huge unemployment gap.

“We believe that this was a noble and laudable intervention if scrupulously followed as presented and articulated.

With a little over five months, the faith-based group indicated that the GOL Salary harmonization has created and provided additional employment which has reduced to some extent the unemployment gap in the country.

The group says disclosed that it has noticed that the majority of those that have benefited from this employment are people within the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), friends, or family members of those in power. The process seems to be full of partiality and bias toward other qualified Liberians who are not members of the CDC.

It is worth noting that this is a CDC-led government and not a CDC government.

Rev Cooper disclosed that the Government of the Republic of Liberia and as such must reach out to other Liberians who are qualified, honest, and willing to contribute to the up liftmen of our country.

The religious group said the Salary Harmonization Program has created dissatisfaction among some employees within the public sector.

Rev Cooper said Some highly skilled and competent people seem to receive almost similar salaries as compared to some people of low qualification which we think defeats the intent of addressing salary disparity and inequality.

He said If care is not taken to address this, it could lead to a mass exodus of qualified and competent people from the public sector to the private sector or seek employment abroad.

The AEK said it has observed that the GOL is having difficulties in clearly explaining, dissimulating, and applying for the Salary Harmonization program. There are many mistakes in some of the calculations leaving staff to question the fairness of the process. Either the implementers have not understood the programs well, or the software being used needs more training or coaching. If the intended stated reasons must be a reality, then GOL needs to intentionally and seriously consider the observations mentioned above.

Fellow citizens and members of the fourth estate, “we have seen and read from government circles communications (two different) asking the House of Senate to infuse 4 billion and another to printing and

do not question this because it is the constitutional provision granted by the President to make a said request and the House of Senate to approve or denied.

If the request to print and infuse 4 billion Liberian Dollars into the economy was approved by the House of Senate, and the money was printed, why do we still have liquidity problems at our commercial banks?

The next concern is that we printed 16 billion Liberian bank notes barely three years ago in addition to the ones that were already in circulation. What has happened to them?

The AEL has also over the months witnessed the uncoordinated and inconsistency of information coming from the government. The Minister of Justice says one thing and the Mayor of Monrovia says another. The Deputy Press Secretary to the President of Liberia gives one piece of information and the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism give another. The Minister of Finance and Development gives one piece of information and the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism another.

The Deputy Minister of Information says one thing and the Minister proper says another thing. Who speaks for the government and which information should we believe?

“Let the other government officials and the CDC hierarchy focus on what they were appointed or elected to do and leave the statutory responsibility of government mouthpiece to the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism, the Press Secretary to the President or coordinate the Government Information System so as to gain public confidence and trust when it comes to information dissemination in the government” Rev. Cooper added.

On the frequent protest and Go-Slow, the AEL said it is concerned about these events and they do not serve the general good of our country both locally and internationally. The government and other stakeholders need to constantly engage. The government needs to be proactive and not wait for these protests or Go-Slow to come into force before acting or taking action to address the salary arrears of employees. And this is where information and truthfulness play a major role.

“Government needs to be honest and inform its employees of the trend of events that is causing the delay in salary payment. Second, government spending priorities during these challenging times must reflect the true picture of what she is saying.

“As we all endure this difficult economic condition in our country, statements emanating from citizens should not be ones of threat, provocation, and personal attacks.

On the other hand, the government should not use the threat of force, dismissal, or attempt to suppress its citizens. History has taught us that threat and suppression only make an aggrieved population resistant, adamant and prepare to pay whatever price to express their dissatisfactions.

The faith-based said as 2019 comes to a close 2019, we are again hearing of a planned protest by the Council of Patriots (COP) on December 30, 2019. The Constitution of Liberia gives every citizen the right to peacefully assemble and to express their dissatisfactions in a manner void of violence. To this effect, the AEL noted that it also recognizes the alienable right of every citizen and which the Government of Liberia must also respect. Any action to suppress, counteract, harass or intimidate citizens from assembling peacefully will be a violation of the Constitution of Liberia and the rights of its citizen which every government swore to protect and defend.

On the order hand, regarding why it is lawful for the COP to assemble peacefully, AEL thinks that it is not expedient to embark on a mass protest at this time. The faith group said too many people are angry, it is no secret that inflation is nearing 30%, conditions are difficult, recommendations from the 16 billion LD saga and the US $ 25 million intended for mob-up investigations seem not to be a priority to the government. “And sometimes statements from some government officials show a high degree of insensitivity and disregard for the plight of the Liberian people”. Any protest now will be very challenging to control given all these emotions.

The AEL, therefore, appeals to COP to abandon its planned peaceful protest and let us continue to dialogue with the GOL with the mediation of religious and civil organizations, the Mano River Union, the ECOWAS, AU, and our international partners.

The AEL said it is willing to work with COP, other religious and civil organizations, the Government of Liberia, and regional and international partners to solve the problems confronting the country.

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