There is a saying in Liberia, "99 days for the thief but one day for the master." My question to Liberian voters is simple. After 170 years of corruption, are you ready for change?
For more than 60,050 days since Liberia gained its independence on July 26, 1847, our flawed system of representative democracy, designed by politicians has institutionalized corruption. Evidenced by barbaric human sacrifices in the 21st Century, excessive salaries and benefits that are far higher than state lawmakers in all 50 states across America [The highest paid state legislators in the USA are from California, with the FY-2016 budget of US$270 billion dollars, they earn US$104,118.00 annually.
With the Budget of 11 billion, New Hampshire lawmakers earn a salary of US$200.00 per two-year term. Compare that to Liberia a country with a FY-2017 budget of US$550 million where the Speaker’s budget is US$1.2 million dollars and senators’ salaries and benefits equals US$156,000.00.], plundering of our natural resources, broken educational system and skyrocketing unemployment of youths means Liberia’s system of governance is broken.
If the corrupt, deadly and broken representative democratic system remains firmly in place, the 2017 election is meaningless!
What Liberia urgently needs is change!
A citizens-led Sovereign National Conference that aims to create a new constitution that empowers citizens to set the salaries and benefits of elected officials and directly make laws using ballot initiatives are our recommended national emergency rescue proposal.
Participatory democracy which is “government of the people, by the people and for the people” originated in Greece in the 5th Century BC and still thrives in 2017 in the European Union, Switzerland and the United States.
For example, in 2017, citizens in the American state of Arizona set the salaries and benefits of public servants at no more than US$24,000.00.
Citizens empowered by participatory democracy worldwide directly propose good laws, repeal bad laws and even recall corrupt leaders before their term expires.
To illustrate the utter hopelessness of Liberia’s broken and corrupt system, President Sirleaf admitted in her final address to the Liberian Legislature in 2017 that she had failed in the fight against corruption and national reconciliation.
This means Liberians unnecessarily added 12 wasted years under Sirleaf for a total loss of 170 wasted years.
Instead of calling for systemic change that empowers citizens, 20 presidential candidates aiming to replace President Sirleaf are busy accusing each other of being bad for Liberia!
All our politicians are not bad people but our system is bad and needs to be replaced. Even the Holy Scriptures suggests systemic change is wiser than continuation of systemic corruption. Jesus said in Matthew 7:18 .
"A good tree cannot produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit." In other words, corrupt system always yields corruption. Many politicians argue that the participatory democratic system cannot work in Liberia because of Liberia’s high illiteracy rate.
But Article I of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia is proof that ordinary citizens, literate or illiterate have inalienable or God-given rights and the authority to change and replace Liberia’s current corrupt system: “All power is inherent in the people.
All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require.”
Because the people have all power, the people must exercise their power to change the detrimental, deadly, corrupt and broken system.
Without any moral, logical or legal justifications, some politicians have argued that we must proceed with the corrupt system and elections because with 20 presidential candidates, we can settle for more than “the lesser of two evils”-we can settle for the lesser of twenty evils.
However, after 170 disgraceful and wasted years, Liberians must refuse to settle for any number of evils because the Holy Scriptures contradicts such insinuations as foolish and illogical. Liberia exists for the citizens, not politicians.
That is why we are calling on all well-meaning politicians desirous of advancing the greater common good to suspend their personal political ambitions and join citizens in prioritizing the removal of the “clear and present danger”-Liberia’s deadly, corrupt and broken system of governance.
Matthew 12:33 says: "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit." The political thieves took away 170 years or 60,020 days plus our natural resources.
Now, it’s the citizens’ turn to allocate just one day for the Master!
Are you ready for change? Let’s make today the Masters’ Day!
The bright future you desire and deserve is within your reach-your future is the ballot in your hands.
After 60,020 stolen days, now is the day to vote for your future and change, not for politicians:
Why? Easy! “99 days for rouge, but one day for the master.”
Torli Krua, Contributing Writer/Human Rights Activist