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General News Tue, 3 Jan 2006

Kufuor opens induction workshop for Liberian Legislators

Accra, Jan. 3, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday advised Liberia's newly elected legislators to bond themselves into an effective team with a single mind to undertake the pressing task of national reconstruction.

"Your success will ensure the social and spiritual healing of your nation. This is a historic mission and you dare not fail," he said at the opening of a five-day induction workshop being organised for 94 newly Liberian Senators and Members of Congress at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra.

He told them that without deep-seated sense of national unity and purpose, which must override political partisanship, the Legislature might lose its focus and make the work of the Executive unduly difficult, something that certainly would not make for the quick recovery that Liberia demanded.

"History reveals that many a nation that has suffered dislocation to the extent that Liberia has undergone for almost two decades, has invariably tended to recover through a government of national unity." The United Nations (UN) is sponsoring the capacity building and orientation workshop.

President Kufuor said: "The whole world is watching your country with a lot of interest and goodwill. Your nationals are also anxiously looking up to you, their chosen leaders, to help them put their lives together and back on track."

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He said naturally, after the trauma of years of war, the challenges facing their country were many and complex.

"For the ordinary Liberian citizen who has given you your mandate, the most important concern for now, in the short to medium term, must be for the establishment of law and order to pave way for national reconstruction. Without this, chaos would resume."

He said this period must be marked by guaranteed restoration and provision of basic necessities of life like food, potable water, shelter and clothing for people in all parts of the country.

To be able to meet the legitimate needs of the ordinary Liberian, the ingenuity of all arms of Government would be needed, President Kufuor said, adding that, the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary would have to work together to establish and consolidate the democratic structures that the country's Constitution had prescribed for good governance.

"Ghana will stand by you through the challenges you will encounter in re-building and restoring Liberia to its former glory, to take its rightful place in the comity of nations."

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Foreign Minister Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo said Liberians, as well as peoples in the sub-region were tired of armed conflicts imposed by the interests of a few people.

West Africa, he said, wanted to live in peace to chart a path for economic growth and prosperity, to break away from the cycle of poverty.

"The people are looking up to you to achieve this," he told them. He urged the legislators to carefully nurture the democratic dispensation of their country and to lead in efforts at promoting genuine reconciliation, democracy, good governance and rule of the law. Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, told the Liberians to take advantage of the opportunity given to them to sustain their country's nascent democracy.

He gave the assurance that the relations between the Parliaments of Ghana and Liberia would not end after the workshop. Mr Mart Karlson, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana and Sierra Leone, said the workshop was a unique opportunity to create teamwork and reflect on the role ahead.

He urged them to ensure that the legislature's role of seeing to it that there was transparency and accountability in the public sector financial management was not compromised.

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He assured them of adequate financial support to relieve Liberia of its financial burden.

Mr George Koukou, Acting Speaker of Liberia's National Transitional Legislature, said history would judge them harshly if they should fail in the task of meeting the expectations and aspirations of their country.

He expressed their gratitude to efforts of Ghana in assisting his country to lift it out of chaos and put it on the road to peace and democracy.

Source: GNA