Senator Amara Konneh

Senator Amara M. Konneh Announces Resignation from JPTT, Outlines Legislative Priorities, and Pledges Commitment to Gbarpolu County and Liberia

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Senator Amara M. Konneh Announces Resignation from JPTT, Outlines Legislative Priorities, and Pledges Commitment to Gbarpolu County and Liberia

Address by Senator Amara M. Konneh: Upholding Constitutional Principles and Commitment to Gbarpolu County and Liberia
Date: January 15, 2024
For Immediate Release

Monrovia, Liberia – As I stand on the threshold of a new chapter in my public service career, I, Amara M. Konneh, Senator for Gbarpolu County, wish to address you, the people of Gbarpolu County and Liberia, on a matter of great constitutional significance and personal commitment.

As I prepare to be sworn in as a Senator on January 15, 2024, I find it imperative to resign from my role in the Joint Presidential Transitional Team (JPTT) effective immediately. This decision, though bittersweet, is in strict adherence to Article 3 of our Liberian Constitution, which emphasizes the separation of powers and the checks and balances essential for a thriving democracy. Among other things, Article 3 states:

“Consistent with the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, no person holding office in one of these branches shall hold office in or exercise any of the powers assigned to either of the other two branches except as otherwise provided in this Constitution; and no person holding office in one of the said branches shall serve on any autonomous public agency.”

To ensure no appearance of a conflict of interest or grey area, I am publicly making these declarations.
My tenure with the JPTT, particularly in collaborating with President-elect Joseph N. Boakai to organize resoundingly successful high-level international meetings US government and business leaders, and international financial institutions in Washington DC, to build early support for the incoming Liberian government has been an immensely rewarding experience. I also contributed to technical discussions and drafting of a white paper on the transitions, terms of reference, and questionnaires to help guide engagements with institutions in the Economic and Fiscal clusters.

I supported President-Elect Joseph Boakai with no conditions, and I delivered on my commitment. He owes me no favor. I did it for my country because I was disappointed in the poor governance of the outgoing administration. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity, and I want to thank the President-Elect for allowing me to serve on his transition team.
And now, the sanctity of our constitution and the principles of democracy it upholds demand that I transition into my senatorial role. As I do so, my focus intensifies on the people of Gbarpolu County, who have placed their trust and aspirations in my hands. Your expectations for improved living conditions, better governance, and a brighter future are now my primary responsibility. I am committed to diligently working with the Gbarpolu legislative caucus and other members of the Honorable Liberian Senate to bring about the change and development we all yearn for.

The top five national legislative priorities I will champion are as follows:

  1. An accountable, open government with efficient public budgeting and expenditures for better service delivery to our people. This is a continuation of the work I did in government to enhance fiscal governance at MFDP.
  2. Drug enforcement and rehabilitation to save Liberia’s future. We risk losing the next generation if we do nothing to protect them.
  3. Empower Liberian businesses by enforcing the quota requiring the government to procure 40% of its goods and services from Liberian-owned businesses through legislation. The government must take the lead in the Buy Liberia agenda.
  4. ⁠Political and fiscal decentralization. The setting up of County Consolidated Accounts and election of local mayors or superintendents will hand power back to the people and create more seats at the table for women, the youth, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.
  5. Enhancement of the justice system to ensure the protection of women, children, and other vulnerable citizens from violence and marginalization.

The top seven priorities for Gbarpolu County I will champion are as follows:

  1. Education: Improve access to quality education in all districts, prioritizing infrastructure rehabilitation, teacher training and instruction, and implement scholarship and incentive programs to encourage academic excellence with a gender lens.
  2. Health: Strengthen healthcare infrastructure and services in all of Gbarpolu’s six administrative districts leveraging the opportunities of the newly constructed Emirates Hospital to serve Western Liberia – Bomi, Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties. Increase awareness and access to preventive healthcare measures, emphasizing community health education. Develop a robust emergency response system for timely healthcare intervention, especially the safe delivery of babies. Foster partnerships with non-profit organizations to address specific health challenges.
  3. Agriculture: Promote and leverage opportunities in smallholder farming by identifying subsidies for farmers and other support including access to technology. Launch the 1 million cocoa plants program to make Gbarpolu a major cocoa producer to help alleviate poverty in the county.
  4. Mining and Forestry: Ensure that the current mining concessions operating in the Western Liberia Cluster including Bio-Chico fulfil their commitments to our people and country, and develop responsible mining and forestry practices, adhering to environmental regulations.
  5. Roads and Weekly Markets: Advocate for increasing the County Development Fund to $1 million and together with the Social Development Fund financed by mining and forestry companies operating in the county, improve road connectivity within and between districts, emphasizing infrastructure maintenance and markets to boost commerce and agriculture productivity. Facilitate the establishment of weekly markets to boost local economies, providing necessary infrastructure and support.
  6. Electricity: Connect Gbarpolu County to the national electricity hub and explore renewable energy sources for sustainable power solutions, such as solar. Harness the opportunities in the West African Power Pool electrification project.
  7. Internet and Digital Financial Inclusion: Expand mobile and internet connectivity to bridge the national digital divide, focusing on remote and marginalized communities. And promote mobile money services for farmers to enhance transactions transaction with urban buyers.

I know I am not alone in the belief that these are matters claiming our national attention. And I believe in a collaborative and regional approach to development. This is why I advocate for the strengthening of a Western Region Legislative Caucus, enabling the counties within the region to unite in our development endeavors. By working together, we can ensure that our collective efforts bring forth greater benefits than if we were to proceed individually.

As a proud Liberian, my dedication to good governance, the rule of law, and inclusive development extends beyond the borders of Gbarpolu County. I am committed to a stable economy that generates the resources to support national development initiatives and ensure equitable progress across our country. My experience has prepared me to be a collaborative and effective member of the Senate, and I eagerly anticipate building strong and productive relationships within this August body. These relationships will be pivotal in advancing the welfare of not only the people of Gbarpolu County but of all Liberians.

To my esteemed colleagues in the Executive branch, I look forward to maintaining open lines of communication, consultation, and in collaboration with you. Together, we share a unified goal – the betterment of our people and our nation. I am more confident than ever in President-elect Joseph N. Boakai’s vision for Liberia, and I pledge my support, in every way possible, to the realization of this vision.
Before closing, I would like to thank my esteemed colleagues of the Liberian Senate for electing me Chairman of the Public Accounts and Audits Committee. We will ensure every nickle, dime and dollar of public money is accounted for.

As I embark on this new journey in my storied career, I assure each of you, my fellow citizens, of my unwavering commitment to transparent, accountable, responsive, and responsible governance. Some of the constitutional powers I now share with twenty-nine other Senators include proposing legislation; drafting or amending bills; delaying or blocking legislation that is not in the country’s interest via constructive debate; oversight of the national budget to ensure that every dollar the Legislature approves is spent for its intended purpose and accounted for; and oversight of the executive branch by approving or rejecting presidential appointees for ministries and agencies. I hold sacred the trust you have placed in me. It is a duty that I accept with humility and determination. I am ready to serve, ready to lead, and ready to make a difference for Gbarpolu County and our beloved country, Liberia.

For more information or inquiries, please feel free to reach out to my office at 0888245351.
Amara M. Konneh, Senator, Gbarpolu County

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