Liberia: ‘Irresponsible Attempt’

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

The main opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, has described the recent decision by the state-owned University of Liberia to increase tuition fees as an "irresponsible attempt" on the part of the Emmet Dennis administration.

Speaking at a news conference at the CDC headquarters in Congo Town, outside Monrovia, the Secretary General, Mr. Janga Augustus Kowo, said the increment was troubling and ill-timed as Liberian students at the UL were under-going very serious financial challenges, as many cannot even afford the current fee of L$175.00 per credit.

Mr. Kowo indicated that the increment at the University at this time is a clear demonstration of the insensitivity of the UL Administration and Government of Liberia that has, for the last ten years, been reneging on its constitutional responsibility of funding the University of Liberia.

The Chief Scribe of the CDC pointed out if the Government of Liberia could afford to provide in excess of US$10 million annually to the Liberia Maritime Authority, an entity whose functions are principally outsourced to the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR), the government can definitely afford to provide US$30 million to the University's needs annually.

"If the government can afford to Provide US$8 million to US$10 million to the Liberia Telecommunications Authority or LTA - an agency whose functions have no direct impact on the generation of Telecommunication Revenues (Telecom Revenues result from payment made directly by the Liberian People), the government can definitely afford to fully fund the University of Liberia annually. An attempt to for the government to pass its responsibilities to its citizens is a violation of the public trust. We as a party categorically reject this irresponsible attempt to put Liberian students out school without a careful consideration of the various implications for society," Mr. Kowo.

He intimated that no country or society has turned the corner in making genuine social progress without a massive and radical investment in education, describing education as a strategic National Commodity inextricably linked to national development.

He maintained that it was about time that the Government of Liberia and authorities begin to plan seriously in regionalizing the University of Liberia. "Civilization over the centuries evolved around education centers. We need the University of Liberia Education Centers in selected regions of Rural Liberia.

To simply put it, the Government must invest more in education if Liberia will be competitive with its neighbors and the rest of the World," he added. Commenting on the statement of Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, Mr. Kowo explained that few days ago, the Defense Minister openly declared support for the Candidacy of Vice President Joseph Boakai. "This open declaration is a clear violation the Code of Conduct for Public Officials - Part V: SEC 5.1 a, b and c, as well as Sec 5.1, 5.2, and 5.10. These acts of wanton abuse of public office by the Defense Minister undermine the confidence of political actors in the forthcoming electioneering processes," he indicated.

"We call on the President to take action against the Defense Minister in the interest of peace and stability. In early January, the CDC informed the public about Defense Minister Brownie Samukai's open and illegal involvement in political activities during the Lofa County By-Election. The Defense Minister led a convoy of military vehicles to Lofa to openly campaign for the Unity Party Candidate in the Lofa County District Two by Election," he concluded.

Source: ALL AFRICA