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Friday, June 14, 2024

LPP CHALLENGES UNITY PARTY’S FIRST 100 DAYS: CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND REFORM

Date:

MONROVIA – Today, the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) issued a statement through its National Chairman, J Yanqui Zaza, addressing recent claims by the Unity Party (UP) regarding their achievements within the first 100 days in power. The LPP’s response outlines its concerns and recommendations for a better Liberia, emphasizing its commitment to national interest and constructive criticism.

On October 26, 2023, the LPP endorsed the Unity Party in the run-off election, believing that of the two remaining parties, the UP was the better choice for governing Liberia. This endorsement was made without any prior discussions about forming an alliance or any other political consideration, focusing solely on national interest. The LPP even lost four of its partisans while campaigning for the UP during the second round of the presidential elections. Thus, the LPP feels a moral duty to help the UP succeed by providing truthful feedback on its performance.

The LPP acknowledges the Boakai/Koung administration’s achievements under its 100-day deliverables but also points out some missteps that could undermine public trust and the efforts to build a better Liberia. The LPP’s statement balances commendation of successes with a critical view of areas needing improvement.

Among the achievements, the LPP highlights the signing of Executive Order #131, establishing the War and Economic Crimes Court. This court, following a resolution passed by the 55th Legislature, represents a significant step toward ending impunity, promoting peace, and fostering accountability. The LPP commits to monitoring the administration to ensure that the court becomes operational and effective.

The Party also commends the government’s efforts to rehabilitate challenging roads in rural Liberia, especially in the Lofa and Southeastern regions. These infrastructure improvements are vital for economic development and improving the quality of life for rural communities.

In addition, the LPP recognizes commendable efforts by various institutions, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Water and Sewer Corporation, and the Liberia Revenue Authority. These efforts contribute to strengthening Liberia’s institutional framework and capacity.

However, the LPP expresses major concerns, starting with the issue of inclusive government. Despite promises of inclusivity, eight counties lack cabinet representation, which is contrary to Section 10.2 of the Executive Law prescribing a formula for inclusive governance. This oversight risks alienating significant portions of the population and undermining national unity.

The LPP also highlights violations of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Law by the current administration, such as misusing and concealing funds, including a $254 million loan and $80,000 from NASSCORP for vehicle purchases. Such financial mismanagement poses serious risks to Liberia’s economic stability and public trust in government.

Furthermore, the LPP criticizes the appointments of individuals with questionable ethics, which undermines trust in the administration and the rule of law. The party calls for more rigorous vetting processes to ensure that only qualified and ethically sound individuals hold public office.

Concerns about the separation of powers are also raised, with the Legislature overstepping its financial management role, thereby undermining constitutional boundaries. This encroachment disrupts the balance of power and can lead to inefficient governance.

The LPP points out instances of wasteful spending, such as the use of private jets and luxurious vehicles by government officials. These actions send the wrong message about the state of the economy and the government’s priorities, especially in a country facing significant economic challenges.

Additionally, the LPP notes the neglect of foreign policy, particularly the lack of engagement with ECOWAS, the African Union, and the MANO River Union. This disengagement weakens Liberia’s regional and international relationships, which are crucial for its economic and political stability.

The issue of corruption and transparency is another major concern. The LPP criticizes the administration for failing to publish asset declarations and the ineffective operation of the Assets Recovery Team. Transparency and accountability are essential for good governance and public trust.

Regarding road maintenance, the LPP points out the insufficient budget allocation for the announced procurement of road maintenance machines. Adequate funding is necessary to maintain and improve the country’s road infrastructure, which is vital for economic growth.

In the education sector, while the LPP acknowledges progress in paying scholarship arrears and WASSE fees, it emphasizes the need for systemic reforms and increased budget allocation, drawing parallels with successful models like Sierra Leone’s. Education is key to Liberia’s long-term development and requires substantial investment.

In agriculture, the LPP criticizes the administration’s allocation of $8 million (just over 1%) to agriculture, which is insufficient and violates the 10% commitment under the Maputo Declaration. A robust agricultural sector is crucial for food security and economic stability.

The LPP provides several recommendations for immediate action. It urges the government to fully adhere to the Maputo Declaration by allocating at least 10% of the national budget to agriculture. Fast-tracking the establishment and operation of regional diagnostic centers is another critical recommendation to improve healthcare delivery.

Transparent reporting on infrastructure projects, with detailed progress reports and timelines, is also essential. The LPP calls for comprehensive education reform to enhance the quality of education and ensure better outcomes for students.

The effective implementation of Executive Order #131 to operationalize the War and Economic Crimes Court is vital for justice and accountability. The LPP also recommends redirecting funds in the 2024 budget to establish Public Works Stations within the counties for better road maintenance.

Strengthening foreign policy engagement with ECOWAS, the African Union, and the MANO River Union is crucial for Liberia’s regional and international standing. Anti-corruption measures, such as empowering institutions like the LACC and ensuring merit-based appointments, are necessary to combat corruption effectively.

Finally, the LPP emphasizes the importance of providing security and respect to former leaders to ensure stability and continuity in governance.

In conclusion, while the Unity Party has made some progress, the LPP remains skeptical about the depth and sustainability of these efforts. The LPP demands clarity, transparency, and tangible results in all promised areas. The Liberian people deserve more than just promises; they deserve real, measurable progress.

The LPP will remain vigilant in holding the government accountable, continuing to interrogate and challenge the current administration to ensure that the interests of all Liberians are being served. The Party calls on all citizens to join in demanding accountability and excellence from their leaders, reaffirming their commitment to a better Liberia.

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