Home Politics Inside Boakai’s First 100 Days: Gov’t Makes Headways In Fight Against Illicit Drugs

Inside Boakai’s First 100 Days: Gov’t Makes Headways In Fight Against Illicit Drugs

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: When William R. Tolbert was sworn in as President in 1971, most Liberians were unemployed and multitudes were living in shanty towns. By the end of his first 100 days in office, Tolbert had pushed several bills through the National Legislature, attempted to stamp out corruption that had grown under his predecessor.

Five decades later, another Baptist, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, ascended to the Executive Mansion at a time of extraordinary crisis.

Once in a century, Liberia is also becoming a significant transit point for drugs en route to other countries, mainly Latin America.

The new President has to contend with a struggling economy, and estimation that two out of ten youth in Liberia are users of narcotic and illicit drugs smuggled from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.

As he plots his first months in office, President Boakai has been studying Tolbert’s model. “I would like to reiterate my government’s commitment to efficient service delivery to the people of Liberia to improve livelihoods,” President Boakai tells Liberians.

“We will work to continue these interventions and many more throughout the life of our regime, especially as we formulate a new 5-year development plan to transform the country.”

That mission was reflected in Boakai instituting several executive actions. Within hours of his administration, the President disbursed US$200,000 towards the fight against illegal substances. 21 ghettos were subsequently raided and over 200 suspected drug dealers detained, including notorious individuals, who are being prosecuted in line with the laws of the country.

The moves were intended to telegraph that his presidency would eschew the lack concern tendencies of his predecessors. Boakai’s first three months in office will be about far more than just signaling shift in a tone.

Interviews and briefings with more than dozens of US investors and other partners to the administration make clear that the new President will be focused on major objectives: attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and delivering economic assistance to families in need.

The administration hopes to leverage broad support for economic stimulus to push a progressive agenda including a support to improving Liberia’s Business climate and holding meetings with all external agencies that Liberia holds membership in, including the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), to capitalize on opportunities and services.

“This 100-Day Action Plan assessment report examines the Government’s progress consistent with her short-term policy priorities,” the report added.

Unity Party officials put some of the blames on their predecessors for the magnitude of the challenges they have inherited.

“The Weah administration has never had a comprehensive strategy to govern our country,” said an aide to the incumbent president.

Not all of Boakai’s economic agenda hinges on the Legislature. He has asked the Asset Recovery Taskforce, to focus more on investigating assets and also working with the relevant agencies of government to prosecute those found criminally liable.

While Boakai’s supporters and advisers emphasize that none of Liberia’s interlocking crises will be solved in the first 100 days, they also know that a honeymoon period may be the new president’s best chance to make a mark.

“As we end the first 100 days of my administration, I am pleased to submit the Assessment Report on our 100-Day Action Plan,” said Boakai.

“The plan was devised to make quick interventions to provide some measures of relief to Liberians weighted down by so much hardship in the last few years,” he said, among other things.

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