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Namibian President Visits Liberia, Calls for Renewed Commitment to Fight Corruption

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohama continues his three-day visit to Liberia Wednesday with a tour of the Firestone Rubber Company facilities and a meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The Namibian President addressed a joint session of the Liberian Legislature Tuesday.

Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh said President's visit is part of the strong bilateral relations that the two countries have enjoyed over the years.

"Liberia played a pivotal role in the struggle in the part of southwest Africa during the days when Sam Nujoma and others were fighting for liberation, the SWAPO (Southwest Africa People's Organization). And so now is the time, with President Sirleaf in office, they wanted to make that these relationships will be stronger," he said.

A news release from the Executive Mansion recalled that in November 1960, Liberia and Ethiopia filed a case with the International Court in The Hague challenging the validity of apartheid South Africa to rule then South West Africa (presently Namibia).

Bropleh said President's visit is in reciprocity to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's visit to Namibia last year.

He said the two countries are working on strengthening their economic ties which he described as getting stronger.

"Liberia and Namibia both are well-positioned on the coastal line and they're heavily endowed with marine resources. For many, many years they have developed their fishing. We will benefit from Namibia in building up our own fishing industry and making sure that there is value-added to our fishing industry," he said.

Bropleh said Liberia, which is endowed with iron ore, gold, copper, bauxite and diamonds is expected to benefit from the way Namibia handles its diamonds before exportation.

The Namibian president also addressed a joint session of the Liberian national legislature Tuesday challenging African leaders to strife toward achieving democracy and good governance by fighting corruption.

Soon after her election President Sirleaf declared corruption as public enemy No.1 for Liberia. But lately the government has been criticized for lack of political will to fight corruption.

Bropleh denied President Pohamba's comments about fighting corruption were indirectly pointed at Liberia.

"To the contrary, he acknowledged the fact that it was a strong political will on the part of President Ellen Johnson when she declared corruption as public enemy No.1," Bropleh said.

He said although President Sirleaf inherited a broken system, her government has put in place sound policies to fight corruption.

"That is why this government supports the General Auditing Commission and the president has taken strong action at dismissing from the cabinet level on down when there is corruption," he said.

However, Bropleh admitted that the government has been a little too slow in prosecuting those found to have been corrupt.

Bropleh said the Sirleaf government believes in the ability of new Minister of Justice Christiana Tarr to transform the system.

President Pohamba said Namibia has achieved five of the eight United Nations Millennium Development goals.

He encouraged other African leaders to renew their commitments towards the continent's development.