Home News & Analysis As Weah Delivers Final SONA Today : Did CDC Deliver On Its Change For Hope Manifesto?

As Weah Delivers Final SONA Today : Did CDC Deliver On Its Change For Hope Manifesto?

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By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah, Sr.

MONROVIA: Today, Monday, January 30, 2023, the national stage is set, as incumbent President George Manneh Weah will seize the platform before a Joint Session of the 54th National Legislature to comment on the current socio-economic status of the Liberian Nation, and concomitantly (at the same time) provide full details and authoritative information on the achievements and challenges of his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government in his sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.

But, as the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections edge closer, today’s SONA, is Weah’s final address to the Liberian Legislature in his first six-year constitutional tenure as President of Liberia.
It needs not be overemphasized that the focus and expectations of Liberians will be directed at President Weah giving detailed explanations about Liberia’s status in many development spheres, coupled with his CDC-led administration’s five years governance of the state including his government’s plans relative to the smooth conduct of the October Presidential and Legislative polls.
Already, incumbent President Weah has expressed interest in his re-election bid for the nation’s highest office for another six-year constitutional term.

Some keen observers and political analysts who are judiciously and interestingly following the unfolding developments in Liberia believe that today’s SONA could be a perfect opportunity for the incumbent Liberian leader to convince the voting population that he deserves a second shot at the coveted Liberian Presidency.

Amid all these happenings, one critical question which has been lingering on the lips of ordinary Liberians is whether or not the Weah-Jewel Howard Taylor-led administration scored a passing mark in fulfillment of its numerous campaign promises as contained in the CDC 2017 Campaign Manifesto, styled: “Change for Hope” and the government’s flagship national development agenda, “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).”

Weah’s CDC accumulated 61.5% of the total valid votes, winning fourteen out of Liberia’s fifteen counties in the 2017 presidential runoff on the strength of the Change for Hope Campaign manifestos.
Aimed at providing a clear image on the performance of the government five years in power, The ‘Investigative’ INDEPENDENT took a dive into the CDC 2017 “Change for Hope” manifestos and PAPD to set the basis for an informed national discourse.

Incumbent President Weah, then, Montserrado County Senator during the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections made known his vision as contained in the CDC’s Change for Hope 2017 Election manifestos.

Weah, then: “It is time for change. A change that will move Liberia from a low to a middle income country, where the affordability of basic goods and services will no longer be a luxury accessible to the privileged, but rather a right for all Liberians; where the practice of corruption, injustice, resource mismanagement, and low performance will have no place in our society; and where our resources will develop people, infrastructures, and intuitions.”

As captured in the 2017 Change for Hope manifestos and the PAPD which contained four thematic parts, the CDC-led government has boasted of a passing mark in the implementation of its campaign promises, under Pillar One: “Power to the People”, Pillar Two: “Economy and Jobs,” Pillar Three: “Sustaining the Peace,” and Pillar Four: “Governance and Transparency.”

The CDC Weah/Howard-Taylor led administration, in its recently released FACTSHEET which summarizes the government’s national development roadmap, disclosed that the Weah regime succeeded in building proficient and trusted state’s institutions that won Liberia admiration of a stable, resilient, and inclusive country on the West Coast of Africa and on the African continent as a whole.

The FACTSHEET, in the possession of this paper shows that the administration has made millstone achievements in the provision of greater income security, reducing extreme poverty in Liberia by 8% over the last five years as contained in the World Poverty Lab Index, while at the same time achieving a growth rate of 5% in 2022 with a medium term outlook to approach 6%.

According to the government, the 5% growth rate was accomplished through scaled-up investments in agriculture, infrastructures, human resource development and social protection.

Concerning Pillar-One of the PAPD, under the caption: “Power to the People’, the government pointed out that it made noteworthy achievements in the areas of health, education, youth development, social security and gender equality.

According to the FACTSHEET, under its five years leadership, access to quality and essential healthcare has increased while an overall reduction in mortality with focus on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and major reproduction, maternal newborn has drastically reduced.

Touching on the economy and the provision of jobs under Pillar-Two of the PAPD, the government trumpeted its horn, which pointed out that there have been improved policy environment for private sector-led economic growth, balanced revenue and expenditure outturns, and an enhanced domestic revenue mobilization.

The government highlighted its gains in economic growth including improved fiscal and monetary policy management, leading to creation of jobs.

On Sustaining National Peace, under Pillar-Three of the PAPD, the CDC-led government maintains that it has made tremendous efforts in addressing the fragility of the country’s peace by tackling the root causes of conflict through ensuring equal access to justice and the protection of basic human rights.
According to the FACTSHEET, the Weah-Howard Taylor Administration achieved improved security service across the fifteen sub-political divisions of Liberia, coupled with enhancing the capacity of state security to deter and swiftly respond to security threats.

For governance and transparency as captured in Pillar-Four of the CDC-led government national development roadmap, the FACTSHEET stated that the government has built the state’s capacity to fight graft in the public sector.

It pointed to reform in the public sector that has increased fiscal discipline and service delivery as well as the decentralization of concentrated economy and political activities from Montserrado to rural Liberia.
The improved tenure of natural resource management also made it to the government’s list of success story as contained in the FACTSHEET.

The CDC administration touted its success for leading a vigorous and uncompromising process that resulted to a sharp reduction in pubic waste and other systemic losses from various state Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions (MACs).

The government maintained that the migration to Information Communication Technology (ICT) platforms and wide adoption of e-government has improved productivity in the public sector.

The Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) is the CDC-led Administration five years national development plan, which the government says, was deliberately designed to give power to the people, promote economic diversification, and protect sustainable peace, and as well economic growth and good governance.

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