President Sirleaf blasts gov't teachers

Describes their action as total nonense

By: Alfred Gezaye | December 3, 2013

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has promised to pay the salaries of aggrieved government teachers around the country.

The President who angrily addressed the teachers after a brief meeting with authorities of the Ministry of Education in Sinkor said that their (government teachers) salaries will be paid, but they will never be reinstated or teach in any of the public schools around the country.

Angrily pointing fingers at the teachers who were in their numbers representing the 15 counties, President Sirleaf said, “You are out for total nonsense and we will not allow this act of violence from you teachers.”

The President said holding placards and throwing stones at the Ministry of Education in demand of salaries by teachers who believe not to be paid for years was an act of violence and should be discouraged in Liberia.

After blasting at the group of teachers, the President got into her vehicle and her driver drove away without asking the aggrieved teachers their side of the story.

While getting into her vehicle, the teachers said, “Thank you for coming to see us at least and no problem if you pay us and take us from the jobs which you promised that you were going to create for us.”

Some of the teachers who spoke to this paper and refused to be named reiterated that Madam Sirleaf was operating the government on the basis of friendship.

The teachers said they were hoping that the President would have said something positive to them but instead she threatened to remove them from their jobs they have done for many years without pay.

The aggrieved public school teachers said they expected President Sirleaf to dismiss her Education Minister who has been causing all of the problems for this government but instead done the usual way.

They said a good leader will always seek the interest of his or her citizens especially those of them that are in need but noted that Madam Sirleaf is seeking the interest of those who already have.

More than five hundred public school teachers on November 25, 2013 stormed the Ministry of Education in demand of their salaries. Normal activities at the Ministry's offices in Sinkor were brought to a halt.

The teachers, during their last week strike action, held in their hands placards and threw stones at the Ministry's gate and into the fence.

Their action prompted the Ministry of Education to call in the Emergency Respond Unit (ERU) who later deployed at the Ministry to ease tension caused by the angry teachers.

Even though, the outcome of the meeting between the President and heads of the Ministry of Education was not known to the teachers, and they were not heard by the President before coming up with judgment, the teachers said they are happy that the president has promised to pay them and hoped it can be done soon so that they can have something for their families for the Christmas season.

The teachers said they were asked to go back to the Ministry within two weeks but instead gave the Ministry one week due to the Ministry slow manner of handling issues.

It can be recalled that President Sirleaf disgraced her first Education Minister Joseph Korto during her first term. The President at the E. Jonathan Goodridge in Barnersville Estate told the MOE Minister at the time that his action was irresponsible.

She made the statement against her first Education Minister when she paid a visit to the school and saw that things were not in order at the school.