As we move to elections in Liberia come October, 2017, let us not fall to the rhetoric of politicians throwing the usual cliché “I have the country at heart.”
We must elevate the debate. We cannot ignore or politicized climate change, food insecurity, massive poverty and the inefficiency in the health care delivery system.
Alas, these are things that threaten the present and our future generations! Like I wrote before on climate change and food security; Liberia is vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Our coastal regions and communities like West Point, New Kru Town, are all vulnerable to sea level rise and may be wiped away! Research has been conducted to establish the consequences of climate change on Liberia.
According to a report by USAID (2008), about 95 km2 of land is under threat from inundation as a result of a one-meter level sea rise in Liberia. My fellow compatriots and the masses in West Point, New Kru Town, and other coastal communities, you and your children future are in danger!
Regarding the multitudes of candidates seeking political leadership out of West Point, New Kru Town including Matadi and Lakpazee, we must demand their plans on climate change induced seal level rise consequences.
It becomes a social burden for the Country when these threatened communities neither give power to people without an idea nor plan to build climate change adaptation, resiliency, and mitigation strategies. We must mobilize the consciousness of our population to vote on the things that matter in their context! Food security is a challenge to our people.
To emphasize, 49% of the Liberian population are food insecure (USAID 2016). South-Eastern Liberia is not only plagued with poverty; it is the most affected with food insecurity problem according to the Food Security Assessment Report in 2015!
To my fellow compatriots and South-Eastern masses in Clara Town, Doe Community, Pity Town, and Matadi, do we care to elect people by their sustainable agriculture and food security strategies?
The reward we get for electing people only good at chanting battle cries and organizing feasts and dishing out rice is, the redistribution of poverty. The masses are left to live with chanting slogans such as “Amanda, aah way-tu" to find solutions for their problems.
Over the years, I have listened to and read some public speakers good at describing the Liberian political history and its gory details. They have succeeded in wooing admirers and supporters. One would be tempted to believe that throwing around some Greek or Latin dictions makes an individual a perfect character for national leadership.
Today in Liberia, we have many young people drifting or claiming to be politicians, advocates and are overwhelmed with quotations of some18th Century dead philosophers. Too sad for a nation that has about 49% of its population as young people!
Many in politics, but less in entrepreneurship. In these ensuing elections, we must prioritize to ask "aspirants" what are their strategies to build entrepreneurs and how do they intend to apply it? Indeed, we cannot measure people by the vague plan and invisible 20,000 youth jobs Madame Sirleaf promised!
Liberia health sector pretended to be progressing, till Ebola came and exposed the severe weaknesses in our health care system. Our debate must also center on addressing health equity in our poverty stricken country.
We cannot rest our discussions on mediocrity and be complacent with some costly state investments such as the one made in rehabilitating the Mount-Coffee Hydro. Could we have a better alternative? Hell yes!
An investment in other renewable energy or a cost-effective investment in the hydro would save us to equip and build more schools not mortgaging our children’s future to the profiteering Bridge International Academy.
Amidst the current economic crisis in Liberia, our discussions should explore new sources of taxation for future occurrences. The rising deforestation in South-Eastern Liberia and other parts of the country coupled with pollution of communities by Cemenco and other industries; couldn’t our Environmental Protection Agency make suggestions to the Legislature for exploring new pollution taxes? Apparently, it would save the incidence of tax through call tariff on our already poor citizens.
As we draw closer to the elections, we will sharpen the contradictions and debate the issues not the usual ways but with the things that matter.
Joe Wilson, Contributing Writer