27.07.2006 Politics

Don't Resort To Excessive Legalism - President Kufuor

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President John Agyekum Kufuor has advised the political leadership of Liberia not to resort to excessive legalism at this crucial time of the country's reconstruction.

Rather, they should let purposeful self-restraint, discipline, fellow feelings, dialogue and fairness prevail, he said this during the celebration of the 159th independence anniversary at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia on Wednesday.

Two other West African leaders, President Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d'Ivoire and Alhaji Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President of Sierra Leone attended.

President Kufuor, whose speech drew long applause from the assembled mass said the constitutional provision of separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should be operated from a common base of national reconciliation and a sense of national vision, as the way forward.

"Without such an approach, the various arms of government are likely to be thrown into turf-fighting to test the fragile democracy, which might then prove to be inimical to the good of the people and the nation itself".

He said the challenge to all Liberians must be how they rallied to overcome the recent destructive episode of their history, so that their country could resume its image as land of peace and freedom within the context of the renaissance of the African continent.

"To succeed and return the nation to normalcy, all true citizens must be imbued with a spirit of reconciliation, forgiveness and accommodation within the society.

This spirit must be even stronger in the field of politics because that is where leadership resides".

President Kufuor reminded the people that the international community and well-wishers, whose combined efforts supported them to bring to an end the civil war, would continue to sustain them as long as they showed good faith and commitment to the restoration of their country.

"You must therefore not fail Liberia and disappoint your well-wishers. Let all of you, as citizens, be committed to building bridges to unite your reborn nation in such a way that neither ethnicity, social differences, religion nor gender can shake them".

Additionally, he said they must not lose heart in the face of difficulties. Instead, they should remain steadfast in their support of the Government and work to regain the country's glory.

President Gbagbo said the continent was sick and tired of armed rebellion, which he noted had been unhelpful to the cause of socio-economic and political development.

He, therefore, called for the establishment of an African Force to prevent anyone from using the barrel of the gun to make a short cut to political power.

Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the Liberian President, said her country was making steady progress in its development agenda.

"Liberia is back", she optimistically declared.

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