“Dialogue is healthy for governance”, says former Finance Minister Amara Konneh; urges opposition to heed to President’s call for dialogue

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Monrovia- Since the President of Liberia announced a one day forum with the opposition, there have been views from all across Liberia’s political spectrum on the issue. Liberians from all walks of life have been weighing in on the discussion, giving varying views, based on both political or non political affiliations. With pros and cons opinions flowing from all sides, some influential Liberians have also stepped in to give their contribution on the current debate; with former Finance Minister Amara Konneh joining the fray.

In a well-penned opinion, Hon. Amara Konneh reminded Liberians that there are huge differences between elected officials campaigning or going through confirmations than actually being on the job. The former Minister said, “Presidents, Senators, Representatives and Ministers often think one thing going into their jobs, and then they discover that the pressures of the job and realities of the country or world are far different than they thought while campaigning or going through confirmations.” Hon. Konneh further stated that the Presidency is a lonely job, and pointed out that governance and development are slow and complex processes that need adequate resources, intertwined with real commitments and involvement of all stakeholders, void of partisan politics. “Let’s not allow our early disappointments turn into anger”, the former Minister said.

In a related development, Hon. Amara Konneh have urged Liberians and the opposition to give the President and his team time to properly meet the expectations of citizens, as well as build on the gains Liberia have made over the past decade. The former Finance Minister and current World Bank official said, it is not wrong and that it is the absolute right of Liberians and the opposition to point out the mistakes of the administration, but also pointed out the need for Liberians to rally around the government and help them move the country forward. Mr. Konneh stressed the importance of political dialogue, and said that it will be a great step in the governance process, which would give stakeholders the opportunity to voice out their grievances and offer tangible recommendations that would solve some of Liberia’s problems. He said, dialogue will be a positive signal of progress, not only to Liberians, but to major actors in Liberia economic sector, and potential investors; a sign that political risks have reduced.

The former Liberian official identified one of Liberia’s highest challenges right now as economic challenge, but said there are solutions to those problems; some hard, and some easy. He said, those problems can only be solved if Liberians do their best to listen to and support each other, and it require the involvement of government, political parties, the private sector, civil society and ordinary citizens. “Not responding to the President’s call doesn’t help”, Hon. Konneh said. Mr. Konneh again reminded Liberians that it was the collaborative efforts of Liberians that helped the country to defeat Ebola in a timely manner than our neighbors who were experiencing similar dilemma. He highlighted the toll the disease had on the Liberian economy, and called all Liberians to join forces to tackle the current economic crisis facing the nation. “Just like we did then, we need all hands on deck now for it’s the economy, my people! We are resilent people. Dialogue is a good thing even when we disagree politically”, Hon. Konneh said.