Liberia: Former Finance Minister, Senator-elect of Gbarpolu County Endorses UP-Alliance

Gbarpolu County Senator-elect Amara Konneh has called on Liberians to consider the upcoming November 14, 2023 runoff elections as an evaluation of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change’s performance over the past six years of its leadership.

He made this statement on Monday when he endorsed the Unity Party Alliance’s presidential candidate, Joseph Nyumah-Boakai, along with Dr. Togar McIntosh of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), led by Mr. Alexander Cummings.

Senator-elect Amara Konneh emphasized that his endorsement of Unity Party Alliance’s Boakai is not based on personal or familial relationships, but it is driven by the interest of the country, which has seen various sectors deteriorate during the Weah Government’s tenure.

“This election serves as a referendum on President Weah’s leadership. It revolves around critical issues such as the struggling education system, the fragile healthcare sector, poor road infrastructure, and the apparent disregard for the rule of law by President Weah and his government officials,” he stated.

He further emphasized the importance of focusing on the issues rather than personality in the election campaign. He cited examples such as pregnant women having to pay for healthcare, and children in rural areas not attending school due to a lack of teachers, as the primary concerns that need addressing.

The former finance minister also criticized the CDC government for increasing the wage bill as a way to appease party supporters, describing it as a “Failed Policy” of harmonization. He added, “I followed the protocol set by my predecessors, ensuring that civil servants’ salaries were a top priority and were paid on time. The wage bill is the most significant financial aspect of the economy, and harmonization was a flawed policy.”

Regarding the issue of drugs in the country, during his endorsement of the Unity Party Alliance, he accused the ruling CDC of turning Liberia into a drug epidemic that threatens the future of children and young adults who voted for this government.

“The party and government that were supposed to protect them have allowed the proliferation of cocaine and Kush. This administration, which promised ‘hope and change,’ has brought negative change to government, undermining the progress we Liberians had made in building capacity and strengthening systems.”

He also criticized the CDC’s idea of change, which resulted in a reduction in civil servants’ pay, pushing many families that relied on government salaries into poverty. “They called it the ‘harmonization’ policy, but it was designed to create financial opportunities for their supporters, many of whom were unqualified for public service at any level. Today, they struggle to meet their salary obligations. During my time as Finance Minister, I followed the procedures established by my predecessors D. Antoinette Sayeh and Augustine Ngafuan, ensuring that salaries were paid on time every month for 12 years, including during the Ebola crisis. This government has no excuse for mistreating those who have chosen to serve their country.”

Senator-Elect Amara Konneh also accused the CDC government of following a tribalistic approach akin to that of Samuel K. Doe, with a majority of Southeasterners occupying powerful positions. However, they have failed to invest in and develop the region they claim to represent, leaving vital infrastructure like farm-to-market roads in disrepair.

“The roads leading to government officials’ residences are well-maintained with concrete or asphalt, but they have neglected to keep up the farm-to-market roads built during the UP Government’s tenure. Bridges have collapsed and remain unrepaired for over three years, cutting off entire regions from Liberia’s main economic corridors.”

Source: Front Page Africa