Liberia’s former Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh told his colleagues in government that whatever he did in the discharge of his duties were not personal but solely intended for the good of country.
Minister Konneh also appreciated his many friends for their support and recognized the woman who helped deliver his mother under a rice kitchen in Gbarpolu County. He apologized to colleagues who felt offended by his actions in the discharge of his duties, particularly as Minister of Finance, and asked for their forgiveness. “If I offended you in discharging my duties, it was never personal, but for the good of the country,” he asserted. The former Finance and Development Planning Minister spoke at a Special Investiture Ceremony held at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia on April 28. Konneh thanked President Sirleaf and the Liberian people for the opportunity given him to serve in the many capacities and recalled how he and former Finance and Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan were given the responsibility in 2008 to spearhead Liberia’s development agenda and transformation processes as young and perhaps inexperienced people. “This, in the words of Minister Ngafuan, was a paradigm shift and we are proud and remain grateful to you, Madam President,” Minister Konneh indicated. He praised President Sirleaf and members of the Cabinet for their support, which enabled him to succeed. He also acknowledged the support and collaboration of the National Legislature and the Judiciary and recounted the many achievements of the government, ranging from energy, water, roads, ports, health and education to good governance, among others. Minister Konneh recalled how Liberians stood together in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease and urged his compatriots to adopt the same approach to the country’s development initiatives. He thanked his family, particularly his wife and children, who allowed him to serve his country, thus denying them his presence, adding that it was for the good of a country they call their own. Speaking earlier, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the former Minister demonstrated intelligence and the competence of a professional in the discharge of his many duties as an official of the Liberian Government. According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement when she admitted the outgoing Minister into the Order of the Star of Africa with the Grade of Grand Band. President Sirleaf pointed out that Minister Konneh’s ability to make Liberia’s case led to the country being the highest recipient of grants from multilateral institutions and the international community. “We have come to recognize and pay tribute to a young enterprising Liberian who has worked and earned my respect. His contribution to the processes of reconstruction and recovery has brought Liberia a long way in my restoration effort. “Your role in the 2005 and 2011 elections as a strategist showed that elections are not won by lousy crowds, but scientific polls and strategies,” President Sirleaf told the gathering. She also acknowledged the sacrificial efforts of Minister Konneh, which “deprived him of the needed time with his family and friends for the cause of his motherland,” adding that his loyalty as a friend and commitment as a patriot helped her government bring development to the Liberian people. “Your work and articulation won you the praises of the international system and attracted more assistance to Liberia. You have demonstrated that discipline is a bridge between the goals one sets and accomplishments,” she told Minister Konneh. The Liberian leader pointed out that she and the outgoing Minister have not always been in agreement on all issues, but his ability to present his case in a professional and competent way has most times led to common grounds for the good of the country. “We have stood together in politics and professional matters, but at times stand apart on nationalistic grounds,” she indicated. She described Minister Konneh as the “shock absorber” in the relationship between the Executive and Legislative Branches of the Liberian government through his strong inter-personal skills and professional conduct. President Sirleaf recalled Minister Konneh’s brilliant presentation on the status of the Vision 2030 as well as the Agenda for Transformation in Gbarnga, an occasion that marked his last participation as the lead person on the development agenda and the assembly of the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA). She called on Liberians to put truth ahead of deliberate falsehood and stand together to make Liberia better. “We shared things in common – we were both Ministers of Finance; Harvard products, and World Bank employees. Go well as you climb to the next round of success and remember that you can’t change the wind’s direction, but can adjust to sail safely to your destination,” President Sirleaf concluded.