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Liberia's Sirleaf to Deliver State of Nation Speech Monday

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Monday will address the national legislature and the Liberian people on the state of the country. Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh said the president will tell members of parliament that the state of the country under her two-year leadership is secured with an economy that is getting stronger by the day.

But some Liberians would likely be asking whatever happened to the so-called coup plotters while others would want to know why the democracy dividend has been a bit too slow to deliver employment.

Bropleh told VOA that President Sirleaf will also tell the nation of the challenges yet to be overcome.

“She will tell them that the challenges have been many, but the progress is sturdy. She will tell them that the state of our nation is strong, that our peace is assured, and that our economy, through a process of gradual incrementalism is getting stronger. She will tell that our children are in school, forty percent rise in our education. She will tell them we now have a national health policy that our road infrastructure is well on the way to be redeveloped and reconstructed. She will tell them that the state of our nation is getting stronger,” he said.

But some Liberians have been asking why the democracy dividend has been a bit too slow to deliver employment. Bropleh said President Sirleaf is aware of the fact that everything is not okay and cannot be okay in two years.

“What I am telling you is that jobs are coming. What this government has done is to create the conditions, the environment where domestically and internationally we’ve been able to attract investors, investors that are coming from within and outside with large and small portfolios. Now we have in our country, we have the Buchanan renewables. They have now hired 400 people, Mittal Steel has now hired a total of 600, hoping to get a maximum of 3,000. And so what I am saying is that jobs are coming,” Bropleh said.

Last year the government arrested some people for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. Some Liberians have been demanding the release of the so-called coup plotters because they say the government’s star witness has contradicted the government’s case.

Bropleh said the fact that the alleged coup plotters are in jail shows that the Sirleaf government’s policy for securing the country is functional.

“Remember now there was never a coup attempt, but our security network was able to catch this before it was even brought on our soil. So this shows very well that in terms of the assurability of our peace process and the security of our country, we are much better today than we were yesterday,” Bropleh said.

Liberia is one of the countries that President Bush will visit during his Africa trip early February. Bropleh said President Bush’s upcoming visit to Liberia is a testament to President Sirleaf’s leadership.

“Our people are very honored that President Bush has chosen Liberia as one of those places that he will visit before he leaves office. This is clearly a testament to the leadership of our president. As you know she was one of the few people who were honored a few months ago by President Bush with the Medal of Freedom Award. And so this shows that the President has brought the kind of integral leadership that this country needs. And not only has she demonstrated that internationally, domestically she has set this country on the path of no return to violence, no return digressive and counter-productive behavior,” Bropleh said.