Liberia: Security Tight, Expectations Low As Liberian President Delivers Annual Message

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Monrovia — Strange and tight security measures are in place ahead of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Annual Message today. Classes on the main campus of the University of Liberia has been put off and locals around the vicinity of the Capitol Building where the speech is due to be delivered are being restricted to use other route instead of their usual Executive Mansion side of the traffic.

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A FrontPageAfrica reporter on the scene reports that even accredited journalists are finding it difficult to gain access to the Capitol building.

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Inside the Capitol a giant poster carrying the inscription: “The Legislature Say Thank You Madam President is paying homage to Sirleaf who will be delivering her final Annual Message.

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Domestically, Sirleaf, the 24th President of Liberia has been struggling to battle economic criticisms over the economic outlook of the country which she inherited when she came to office in 2006.

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Outside the Capitol a few Liberians waited with very little expectations.

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Jackson Morris, a student of the University of Liberian laments that he is tired of listening to what he calls repeated lies from the president. “What does she have to say to us today, she will always repeat those lies she been repeating from her first regime up to the time she leaving power.”

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Melvina Konneh, another Liberian accused the President of betraying the women of Liberia. “You who the journalists tell what this woman can point as woman president, that we the women of Liberia can boast or point at when she leaves power?”

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Alphonso Momo also shared similar sentiments: “What new does the President has to tell us today? What can she boast of when the people are suffering to get food? Is she coming to talk about all of her awards she won over the years?”.

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Gabriel Wilson’s expectations were much lower: “Don’t give me headache here, because President Sirleaf is expected to repeat her recitation she always reciting, she don’t have anything new to tell us today, may she will boast as usual that she has put the hydro on or she will say to us that she made Yaya Jammeh to leave the Gambia.”

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Despite the criticisms, the President is expected to outline her second administration’s agenda to the 53rd National Legislature.

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The President’s Annual Message is in consonance with Article 58 of the Constitution of Liberia.

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Article 58 of the Liberian Constitution states among other things, that “The President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s Legislative program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic the report shall cover expenditure as well.”

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Supporters of the President believe that the President’s Annual Message will contain achievements of her first term (January 2006-November 2011) and some of the areas where the government fell short.

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Other areas of priority include the trumpeting of a vibrant economy that will benefit all Liberians including those in the leeward counties who have not feel the impact of this administration.

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