By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah, Snr.
MONROVIA: A Civil Society Organization (CSO), under the nomenclature, Justice Forum Liberia (JFL), has attributed the lack of essential materials to boost the health and education sectors of the country to “wasteful spending” on the part of state officials.
JFL’s Executive Director, Maxson Sahr Kpakio, disclosed that the un-thoughtful spending of the country’s finances to satisfy the lavish desires of few public officials is to a large extent, responsible for the snare pace of Liberia’s growth without development.
Kpakio termed as “irrational” for the Government of Liberia (GoL) to spend more than US$45,000 of public’s money to purchase vehicles for each government official while public schools and healthcare facilities are in ruin.
Advocate Kpakio also described as “wickedness and insensitivity” the distribution of huge sums of financial benefits among higher-ups in government while John F. Kennedy Memorial Health Center, the only referral public healthcare facility in the country, uses a single incubator to carter for premature babies. He did not, however, provide any evidence to substantial his claim on the distribution of huge benefits to state officials.
According to Kpakio, the high level of insatiability (greed) on the part of some Liberian political leaders is one of the primary reasons why Liberia, Africa’s oldest independent country, is yet to realize its full potential development-wise, among the comity of nations.
He contends that while the vast majority of ordinary Liberians are enduring excruciating suffering economically and loss of lives to curable and communicable diseases on daily basis, government officials have the luxury to feed on public resources to seek advanced medical treatments out of the country as local medical facilities remain downgraded.
Kpakio noted that at the detriment of the improvised citizens, government officials are afforded the opportunity to lavishly feed on the country’s resources. However, he did not name any government official in this connection.
Nevertheless, he strongly opposed the decision of the GoL to give members of the Legislature more than US$5,000 as wages while more than 80% of ordinary Liberians cannot afford the skyrocketing costs of treatments in public hospitals, as well as the costs of school fees and square meal which are hitting the ceilings.
The Social Justice advocate pointed out that greed is the foundation for state officials’ quest for lavish lifestyles including building luxurious housing units such as condominiums among others.
According to him, there can be no justifiable reasons for the huge benefits higher-ups of the Liberian Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches of government receives.
He frowned at those who engineered the allocation of the big salaries and fabulous benefits for top government officials.
He called on the 54th National Legislature to place focus on the reduction of salaries for state officials, particularly those in the Legislative, Executive Judicial Branches of government.
According to Kpakio, it is time to place the welfare of the common people on the front-burner of national governance, and as such, he urged the governed to help liberate themselves from biting economic hardship they face by making informed decisions at the polls come October 2023.
JFL boss argued that while corruption remains a scrounging nightmare which is seriously affecting the Liberia’s growth without development, if the country fails to provide basic social services for its citizenry- including healthcare and education, it will remain doomed as other nations in the sub-region and beyond move toward a progressive development trajectory.
He wants policymakers to find durable solutions to the plight of the citizenry who are generally suffering at the bottom of the country’s economic ladder.
Meanwhile, as we draws closer to the crucial October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, Ambassador Kpakio has cautioned the country’s predominately youthful population to be thoughtful at the ballot box by using their ballots to separate the sheep from the goats.
Kpakio wants the young people, who account for more than 60% of the nation’s estimated 5 million plus population to not be carried away by the tricks of power-seeking politicians who are now tantalizing potential electorate across the country with money and other materials to win votes in October.
He urged Liberians to first look for people with proven record of integrity who are also visionary leaders.
According to Kpakio, one of the biggest mistakes electorate continue to make is to vote base either on party, ethnic, regional, tribal or religious connections.