Open letter to President Sirleaf: Resign now

President Sirleaf has failed to advance the collective good, the group says

President Sirleaf has failed to advance the collective good, the group says

Dear President Sirleaf:

Indulge us, in this manner, to accentuate that your ascendency to power in Liberia brought hope to many after the tumultuous years of the civil war and the subsequent and misguided leadership of President Charles Taylor. To many Liberians, the egregious events that transpired in the years preceding your leadership could not be revisited. Many Liberians entertained the hope that given your high erudition and long involvement with the struggle for a just and egalitarian society in Liberia, you would have set our country on the path of economic revival and restorative justice.

Though your initial actions as President sent signals that you were poised to advance the cause of the collective good, you soon began to betray the trust and confidence of the Liberian masses. Not long after your ascendency we were awaken to the spectacle of the very same actions that plunged our country into nearly fourteen years of civil war: corruption, nepotism, poor judgment, blatant pillaging of our national resources, outright disregard for the rule of law, and your failure to establish and support the necessary mechanisms to build institutions needed for the effective functioning of government. It is against this background and in response to the cries of our poverty stricken people that we, the Global Organization for a Better and Accountable Liberia (GLOBAL), join our voices with the mass of our compatriots around the world to call for your immediate resignation from the Presidency of Liberia.

Madam President, your failings as President are well documented, conspicuous and irrefutable. We beg, for the sake of a reminder, to catalog a few. Firstly, as a means of preventing the recurrence of war, the parties to the civil conflict and civil society agreed to the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the TRC. The TRC was constituted and have since made its recommendations in 2009. To date, you have continued to refuse to implement key provisions of the TRC recommendations and lay the ground work for true reconciliation of the Liberian people after thirty-five (35) years of political upheaval and wars in which you were a key proponent. This inaction on your part has functioned to maintain the level of divisiveness among our people and has provided tacit support and perpetuation of official corruption. Those responsible for the civil upheaval, including you, continue to enjoy impunity, thus undermining the integrity of government. 

Few issues in recent weeks clearly demonstrate your inability to lead Liberia for which we are requesting your immediate resignation to save our country further disgrace in the world. They are: 

• Resignation of the Minister of Justice in her own words – “I cannot be the Minister of Justice and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under the Minister of Justice to independently investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency. What is the rule of law if a duly appointed Minister of Justice with oversight has grave concerns about what her violational resignation will mean for her own personal security and freedom as a Liberian citizen.”

• Your request for emergency powers to suspend articles 1, 12, 13, 15 and other provisions of the Liberian constitution that relate to the fundamental rights of the citizenry including the rights to freedom of expression, speech, protection against force labor, the right to elect officials, amongst other inalienable human rights is the beginning of official attempts at DICTATORSHIP for which Liberians are vehemently opposed. 

• The pronouncement made against our late compatriot, Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan doesn’t show compassion as a leader with the interests of the citizens – “The fact that he knew (he was exposed to the virus) and he left the country is unpardonable, quite frankly”.  Even as an official of your government, Maritime Commissioner and Chairman of the Liberian Aviation Authority promised prosecution of Mr. Duncan, he was receiving major empathy from western press and Liberians in the diaspora.  Madam President, can we expect your government to request the ashes of Mr. Duncan to prosecute him posthumously?

•  In a recent interview with FRANCE 24, you blasted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for their latest estimates on the expected number of new Ebola cases saying that a scientific estimate released was flat-out wrong without any justification as the Ebola virus continues to spread across the country like wild fire.

As you and your loyalists continue to fail in the exercise of your responsibilities, the living condition of our people continue to decline. A significant portion of our population lacks access to basic services such as safe drinking water, proper sanitation, adequate health care and environmentally sensitive and reliable source of electricity and quality education. Easily curable illnesses have proliferated to the level of fatality.

We are deeply hurt by the death of 2220 of our compatriots on account of the poor handling of the Ebola epidemic as of October 5, 2014 according to the Ministry of Health statistics. We are again saddened by the death of an innocent 15 year old, Shaki Kamara, who was shot, unattended by any trauma experts, and bled to death after unwarranted lethal force was employed on your orders to enforce an ill-advised quarantine over the populated slum of West Point. A singular event that has greatly diminished the positive rebranding of the Armed Forces of Liberia, an institution whose image had been tinted during previous administrations, because it was used to commit atrocities against the Liberian people.  In spite of your claims that the victimization of our citizens by Ebola is a result of illiteracy and clinging to age old customs, your own inability to grasp the severity of the situation, heed the advice of experts in the medical field and act quickly to halt the spread of the disease hold greater responsibility for the fatalities we continue to endure.

Nearly nine years after you assumed the Presidency, learning institutions are fundamentally ill-equipped- failing our children, our people and nation. Under your watch, the young ones who upon your ascendency were in the fourth grade must now live with the distinction of being the first ever group of prospective students to have all failed the University of Liberia Entrance and Placement Examination. Our students have performed, under your watch, worse than all other students in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Exams, notwithstanding claims that government has built several hundred schools.

Billions of dollars worth of natural resource contracts signed by your government since 2009 have violated Liberia’s laws according to the Moore Stephens Process Audit Report. Transparency International (TI) has reported that Liberia is one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Your response to corruption has been to remove from duty those of our compatriots, among them John Morlu, who have gained the respect of the people and the international community for their steadfast and manifest dedication to transparency and accountability. Len Lindstrom, a Canadian Businessman and  head of Liberty International Mineral Corporation  outlined, in his book “Corruption 101: the Liberian Style” his fight for justice in the midst of gross corruption, extortion and economic sabotage in his dealings with your administration thereby bringing our country  once more to international ridicule. 

We have witnessed an aborted withdrawal of US$1M from Liberia’s account at the National Bank on document carrying your signature; the extortion of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Nigerian investor; transportation of illegal drugs by presidential security guards in presidential escort vehicle across international borders and the recent seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Korean investors all unfolding in the peripheral of this high office entrusted to your excellency. Numerous investigative commissions have been set up by you whose mandate amounted to nothing but political grandstanding in which none of the recommendations have been fully implemented. Madam President, by your own admission in an interview with Radio Monrovia in 2013, you are unable to refuse anything your family members, in particular your sister require of you. The interest of your family and friends by your actions supersede the interests of the people of Liberia and in many cases your family and friends many of whom hold no statutory position literally exercise proxy presidential power with your acquiescence.  

There are numerous audit reports from the General Auditing Commission still awaiting action by your office, thereby allowing alleged perpetrators to get away with impunity and sending the wrong message that impropriety is encouraged. Notwithstanding your administration’s claims of the infusion of over $16 Billion in direct Foreign Investment in the Liberian economy, the large majority of our people live in extreme poverty, the Liberian Dollar has depreciated to an unprecedented level and the country has essentially become a ward of the international community since your ascendency to power. You have likened the government’s challenges to “driving a bus while at the same time repairing its many deficient and dysfunctional parts.”  However, GLOBAL believes that instead of fixing a broken bus, you and members of your government have taken away the parts to build personal “Ferraris and Lamborghinis”.  These actions and inactions are unacceptable and tantamount to gross misconduct. Madam President, we could go on, but the pain of enumerating your failures is excruciating.

These actions and inactions are clear manifestation of your inability to govern. There is nothing new left in your arsenal that will change the realities of Liberia’s stagnation, if not degradation, for the remaining years of your term. We therefore resolve as a matter of national duty to request that you stop the bleeding by voluntarily stepping aside to make room for a new dispensation under your constitutional successor. 

We do not, by demanding your immediate resignation, seek to abrogate the Constitution of Liberia in any fashion or form, but rely on the constitution in exercising our rights as citizens protected under Article 1 (Power of the People), Article 5c (Misuse of Government Resources), Article 15 (Freedom of Expression), Article 17 (Petition the Government), Article 62 (Removal from Office) and 63-b (Resignation of the President) of our Constitution.

As a consequence of our decision to seek your resignation, we shall make a case in petition to the National Legislature for Impeachment of your Excellency from the office of President of the Republic of Liberia based on your inability to govern. By the same token we shall begin, learning from your own treatment of similar situation with past Presidents, to lobby and create awareness among foreign governments and international organizations of the futility of providing their resources into your charge.

We want to be emphatically clear that this request for your immediate resignation has no violence or mass protest or insurrection attached to it and should not be misconstrued as an attempt to derail peace and cause instability in Liberia. This is NOT a call for an Interim Government and not an overthrow of the government. We are law abiding citizens and ascribe to the rule of law, accountability and good governance for a better Liberia where the wealth of the country benefits all of its citizens.

We wish to make these clarifications because poverty and high illiteracy rate in Liberia will allow spin masters and paid agents seemingly acting on your behalf to misinform the public that our call for your resignation is intended to destabilize Liberia.

We remain resolute! Liberia must come first.

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel

Respectfully submitted,

GLobal Organization for a Better and Accountable Liberia (GLOBAL)

Cyrus L Gray, Jr. MS. MS. Acting Chairman