President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a good leader

By Fillmore Hney

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
December 1, 2007


President Ellen Johnson has come under attack since her first day as president of Liberia. Some of her critics are blatantly reluctant to give her the benefit of the doubt. In other cases, some of her enemies spread falsehoods in ways that are inexplicable. Irrespective of all that’s being said and done by these critics, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf is not losing steam. She is very busy laying a foundation for Liberia that most Liberians will be proud of in years to come. Her legacy will be remembered and respected throughout the ages not only by Liberians, but by all fair-minded men and women of goodwill.

There are volumes of reasons why her legacy will be remembered and respected. First of all, she is a good leader. She is a good leader because she is vision-oriented, she constantly consults with people, she encourages participation during meaningful discussions and she communicates efficiently. Without a shred of doubt, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf does her job wisely and professionally.

Issues and Answers: Gemap Cometh.
: In his October 19 article, J. Yanqui Zaza mentions only three components of Gemap. However, there are six interlocking components.

They are:

• financial management and accountability,

• improving budgeting and expenditure management,

• improving procurement practices & granting of concessions

• Establishing effective processes to control corruption

• Supporting key institutions and

• Capacity building. (see gemap, an overview).

Why did the honorable gentleman mention just three? Was this done deliberately? Was it done to appease his supporters or was it done to satisfy his ego? You the reader will draw your own conclusions.

Answer: Gemap came into existence during the administration of Mr. G. Bryant, the NTLG leader whom Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf succeeded. Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf did not change the rules of the game at all. Instead, she used her leadership skills in a way that a professional leader would operate! Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf used her vision to re-discuss the terms of operation, she consulted and involved the participation of talented Liberians, and she communicated and made herself to be free of all entanglements. The result? We’re hoping for the best.

It is a fact of life that Gemap was never set up to eradicate corruption 100 percent in Liberia. In the main time, some of its goals are being met. According to Gemap’s officials, there’s an increase in the government’s revenue collection system. Furthermore, the review of contracts and concessions (Mittal & Firestone) during the first few months of her presidency indicates that Gemap and Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are working collaboratively.

Issue: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and world bank pay super salaries. They lay off the poor workers (of Liberia) and give Liberia’s resources to profiteers.

Answer: It’s a damnable lie! First of all, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf is not laying off poor people for the sole purpose of paying her advisors huge sums of money. In fact, she is not laying off people, period. Additionally, the money that’s being paid to Gemap’s officials does not come from the coffers of the government of Liberia. Although Zaza states that Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf has terminated poor Liberians in order to pay super salaries (a charge that is silly), there is no evidence in his article where the honorable gentleman defends his theory. Why?

Issue: Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf gives Liberia’s resources to profiteers.

Answer: This charge is bogus! The verb “gives” (according to its usage by Zaza) implies that Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf “hands out” Liberia’s resources to any business person who requests any or all of our resources. There is an irrefutable evidence that the terms of Mittal and Firestone were renegotiated with the input of some of Liberia’s erudite men and women. How many concessions were given out to profiteers? Once again, this theory was not defended by Zaza at all. Why?

Issue: Wall Street’s executives are corrupt because they’re paid exorbitant fees.

Answer: The above analogy is a typical example of mixing apples and oranges. What does wall street or its corporate executives have to do with the difficult issues of Liberia? How does excessive pay minimize corruption? By the way, what does Zaza mean by excessive pay? Ok, let’s consider a scenario: Let’s say the honorable gentleman, Zaza is hired by “The Perspective” to write articles on the topic “super salary and excessive pay”. Zaza is told by the CEO of The Perspective that his yearly income will be $150,000.00! Now, will it be fair to say that The Perspective’s CEO is corrupt because of Zaza’s yearly income? Is that an example of “excessive pay”?

Issue: Zaza claims that Dr Paul Wolfowitz resigned his world bank position because he admitted to allocating salary for his female friend.

Answer: Zaza displays impertinence and lacks a good frame of reference. How does one allocate salary? Dr. Paul Wolfowitz is not Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, they’re two different people. President Johnson-Sirleaf has never requested an increment (or excessive pay, as Zaza calls it) for her boyfriend, if she has one! Finally, dragging Dr. Wolfowitz into this quagmire shows total disregard.

Africom Cometh:
There are countless people who are having problems with the issue of Africom. My strongly held position is that in the 11th hour, Africom will eventually go to Liberia. It should go there because of the benefits that will come with it. In addition to economic benefits, I predict that there will be what I call “transfer of military technology” benefits. Yes! It’s about time that Liberia has had a professional army. We do not have a patrol boat that could be used to protect our coastline or interdict the crossing of aliens from neighboring and faraway countries. For sure, we’ve never had an air force!

• Consider some important facts about the U.S. military:

• South Korea is militarily powerful because of the United States’ military presence on its soil! This is a fact!

• The Phillipines is militarily better than before because the U.S. military operated there (Subic Bay & Clark Air force base) during the years of the cold war.

• During the cold war, the U. S. military employed approximately 10 percent of West Germany’s men and women. This is a fact! There have never been any official cases of human rights abuses by the U.S. military on any foreign land. NEVER! Why should Liberia be different?

There is a sort of “modern day” imperialism that some Africans are employing when it comes to Liberia. Some of these Africans say “Liberia should not do this or that. We do not want to see anymore bloodshed. Oh no, we don’t want Africans or Liberians to be misled anymore”. I fully understand the sensitivities of these Africans who have a dim view of Africom. My response to that is that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a capable leader. She has brought in and continues to bring in “talented Liberians” who are aggressively and tirelessly working hard to make Liberia a loveable and livable country. Liberia’s National Anthem says partially, “We Will Prevail”. May this be the guiding principle for all Liberians of goodwill: Irrespective of what the doomsayers do, “we will prevail”.

Few weeks ago, military chiefs of Ecomog met in Liberia to tackle some issues pertaining to the security of member states. That was a bold move and I applaud them. During that meeting, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf informed them about Africom. In dealing with them, she wasn’t autocratic! She said “Africom will not destabilize Africans. Africom will make Africans to take charge of their responsibilities”. I think it is fair to say that she handled this whole affair professionally.

Furthermore, in order to assure Ecomog’s military chiefs, General William Ward of the U. S. armed forces, said “We don’t come here and just do things , we come and do things to assist our African partners in increasing their capacity to provide a stable environment here in Africa”.

What else can I say? Blaxploitation ceased to exist when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power in Liberia! One does not have to be an Oxbridge scholar to understand this! The whole affair of Africom is being handled democratically in Liberia! Let’s give Africom a chance!

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a demigod.

© 2007 by The Perspective

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