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Liberian Opposition Leader Welcomes President’s Speech

  • James Butty

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits at a ceremony to mark her second presidential inauguration at the Capitol in Monrovia, Liberia, January 16, 2012.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits at a ceremony to mark her second presidential inauguration at the Capitol in Monrovia, Liberia, January 16, 2012.

The leader of Liberia’s main opposition - Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) - said he expects members of his party to be part of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second term administration as a sign of an inclusive government.

The president has nominated individuals to fill almost all key Cabinet posts in her new administration.

In her State of the Nation speech Monday, Sirleaf projected a 7 percent economic growth rate and promised to focus her long-term development strategy on the country’s young people who form nearly 60 percent of the population, but whose unemployment rate is the highest.

CDC leader Winston Tubman said he supports the president’s focus on the young people.

“I liked the speech very much because the biggest constituency of the Congress for Democratic Change is young people, and the president placed a lot of stress on what she will be doing for young people. She said that she has heard their voices; they want attention; they want their issues addressed, and she promised that she will be addressing their concerns,” he said.

Tubman said Sirleaf’s speech showed she must have also been listening to the opposition CDC.

“She said in her speech that, in her first term, she has focused on lifting Liberia. Now, in the second term, she said she will focus on lifting Liberians, and she stressed that the young people are the ones that she will focus on,” Tubman said.

He said Liberia’s high youth unemployment can be dealt with if the opposition and the president can work together to allay investors’ fear of an stabled Liberia.

“Unemployment is high, but I think if we stabilize the country, if the fear that there could be new upheaval can be waved permanently, then I think the economy will settle down, investors will come in, and jobs will be provided,” he said.

Representatives of both the opposition, including the Congress for Democratic Change and the ruling Unity Party, have been holding consultations for a possible government of inclusion.

Tubman said he expects members of his party will be given positions in Sirleaf’s government even though the president has already nominated people to most of her cabinet positions.

He said the CDC is partly to blame for the delay in its members being nominated to the president’s new government.

“I think we are partly to blame because the president needs to see who we are offering, the king of resumes we are sending forward and, being a democratic party, we have been trying our best to make sure that everybody is considered and a fair procedure is established for sending the resumes. And, once the resumes are in, then we expect the president will fulfill her promise to name CDC [members] to her government,” Tubman said.

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