Leadership and a Call
By: Isaac Dadah Wolofar
An article that captures a momentary look at the status quo of underlying leadership in Africa’s oldest Independent Republic. The article supplementarily transcends the glimpse and gazes at the vision for transformational change against the prevailing paradigm of a nation with extraordinary promise.
ell, in due course President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is nearing the brink of ending her two-term service to Liberia. Even as the seventy-five-year-old leader will forever take personal pride in becoming the first elected female president on the continent, Liberia should much more take pride in embracing the daring and unprecedented act of offering the highest office of her war-ravaged state onto the command of a female leadership.
Prior to the 2005 Presidential elections, there were symphonies of optimisms sung by countless political pundits across the globe regarding the significant chance for institutional and economic reform and nation building for Liberia if Sirleaf were elected president. Given her education, pedigree, rapport with the international community, and the passionate affection she has demonstrated for Liberia, there were beliefs that Sirleaf’s leadership could bring revival and hope for Africa’s oldest independent Republic. Hopes were held high that Madam Sirleaf leadership could help inspire rebuilding and revitalization effort for a nation whose image has been stained by years of civil wars, poverty, and lawlessness. Following eight years of the presidency, some of these expectations have been attempted if we must be honest. There is no misconception that instituting change for a country that has been severely wounded in every way would be easy for any leader of any time in the history of government. President Sirleaf probably took over one of the most difficult presidential jobs of all time: taking the oath of office to lead a nation that has been so tattered. The elected Sirleaf was honest in her approach to this responsibility by stating in her first inaugural address, “The task of reconstructing our devastated economy is awesome, for which there will be no quick fix.” She was absolutely ingenuous about the task she had.
Much of this task is pending. However, I still remain boldly hopeful in her leadership prowess to help show/point the way forward to promoting institutional and sustainable development, social and economic progress, and good governance. But while we hope for this, it is hard to exaggerate how the country is far away from realizing key development aspirations, like in the case of restoring antebellum social amenities like electricity and safe-drinking water. There are many critical issues remaining unsolved.
I am not intending to rate or grade the President’s leadership in this perspective. But as a citizen and stakeholder with keen interest in the development and future of Liberia, I feel obliged to voice out some honest and fair-minded opinions; born out of a passionate concern for my country as they relate to the current state and destiny of our nation. Considering the current trend of the country, there are alarming indicators of concerns and apprehensions. There are yet solid hindrances mounted in the course of promoting institutional reform and good governance. As these endeavors and many others remain helluva challenges in the path to nation rebuilding, there are few relevant questions I have been pondering on:
Liberia: A Momentary Glimpse at Leadership and a Call for Transformational Change
• Given the “so-far good” effort President Sirleaf has made towards restoring Liberia’s hope, is there a “competent” successor to further that hope?
• Will the hope of nation building or rebuilding—at least to pre-war status—ever be a reality for Liberia?
• Does the leadership of Liberia really have a defined strategic vision...
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