Liberia 2017 – A Defining Moment of Urgency and Challenge We Face
During the eve of every Liberia’s general and presidential elections, tens of thousands of self-proclaimed politicians profess to understand and have the best answers to the country’s longstanding leadership quest.
Therefore, they go about giving empty high hopes to the downtrodden majority in well-spoken rhetoric far from practicality. But the cruel drama therein is, donated of rice bags which soon become empty even before elections as the vicious circle of deceit and egoism that soon take course at the detriment of the people.
Those sugarcoated words and short-lived deeds have succeeded in confusing the people into settling down for empty promises near and during elections over the past decades. Such is an old game that has often harmed the people as a country at every crossroad where the people are required to make sound decisions of lasting benefits.
This is traceable back to the formation days of the country.
Upon the declaration of the abolition of slavery, the repatriated free slaves from the United States of America were joined by the majority stranded slaves from the Congo basins to form a new “free nation” called Liberia.
This became the basis of hope for the people of the former Green Coast as such taste of freedom and self-governance soon justified the promise of democracy. In relation to this, the former Green Coast was therefore referred to as Liberia, meaning “a free land of liberty”.
And, the people then settle down for said promise. But it did not stay for any longer when the vicious circle of dishonesty and egoism soon set in and remains the surviving disappointment of the people even up to date.
The rule turned to be oligarchy as few individuals manipulated and controlled the power of the people. The plantation mentality of slave and the master was instituted by the then Monrovia-based centralized government whose members were free slaves, a government that did not care for the plight of the rest of the country but for the resources only. The rest of the country was not allowed participation in the then so-called democracy.
A system of taxation was introduced and levied against individual households among the poor majority. It soon defaced into individual head taxation. Whether an individual had a property value or not, everyone was made to pay said taxes. The problem did not only lay with the ideology of such economic policy, but the problem was also with the process of collecting those taxes as well.
Individual men who could not afford to pay taxes at given points in time were disgraced in public and right before their families as they were made to lie flat on their backs, facing the sky from sunrise to sunset with their feet tied like bush animals caught alive and brought to town. This is a hint of our ugly past I would like to share with reasonable minds for the lesson therein.
The important lesson to learn from this ugly past is, after some decades of domination of such cruelty, there were few intellectual minds who stood their collective ground in proof of the might of passion and perseverance.
As they operated in the context of their times of lack of adequate road network, sufficient transportation and academic institutions, they remained cognizant of the power of priority in fixing a spoiled system like it was during their times. And so, they prioritized the push for political participation for all so that the rest of the country would participate in decisions that affected their daily lives, since the government was “of the people, for the people, and by the people”.
And today, you and I have the opportunity to declare our individual as well as collective ambitions, positions, and oppositions in national affairs without being punished by the ghost of the oligarchy. God forbids!
Oh! Wait a minute! I strongly disagree with you if you said those progressives are responsible for the proliferation of “unnecessary” political parties in Liberia today. Even though, I understand the truth of your frustration over the existence of “unnecessary” political parties some of which are complete replicas of previously failed platforms because of their empty flamboyance and ambiguity.
Additionally, the failure of the National Election Commission to institute, through appropriate means, measures that will make national debates among candidates much more imperative at given locations where platforms and their applicability would be argued for best understanding and choice making is equally responsible for the wrong choice we usually make at the pool, especially after our father of politics, the great Aristotle, has said that “political understanding comes through argument”.
Yet still, I am of the conviction that every sector of the Liberian society owes meaningful contributions, each, towards the change we want to see in Liberia, but, we must at first practically obey the philosophy of Gandhi that, we ourselves have to “be the change we want to see” in our country.
Oh, yes! Now, I got you agreeing with me at the mention of those great names. But guess what! You can equally be remembered in the history of your country as great people too but only if you can rise above personal interest, hate, and deceit, and make the right choice in the best interest of your country comes general and presidential elections on October 10th, 2017. Your generation, your time, and your decision for lasting change will remain indelible in the history of your country. And, now is the time to act beyond the rhetoric of business as usual.
And please, do not get me wrong! My emphases of “free slaves” and “natives” as elaborated at the beginning of my argument above does not mean for you to get at any individual candidate for the wrong of the notorious oligarchy unless the attitudes and activities of that individual candidate in our current times are “constant reminders of the past”. Therefore, our argument should remain focused on the urgency of the moment and the challenge we face as a country.
The urgency of the moment is that our mortality rate as a country is on the increase due to hunger, malnutrition, inadequate road network, inadequate medical facilities as well as practitioners, and lack of political will power to overturn the status quo. Consequently, the much publicized “zero tolerance for corruption” as a pillar of empty hope has come to failed the Liberian people once again while life seems to be comfortable amidst compromise of integrity and creeping immorality of various forms.
And, the related challenge we must face here is, to develop a reasoning capacity to at first recognize the status quo as truly is, and subsequently exhibit the ability to identify and accept food security as national security and the priority of our time we must face, if Liberia shall kick start with widespread positive impacts among the citizens. Note that the strength and progress of a country depends on its healthy and happy citizens. And, setting the tone for motivation and massive participation towards such priority vision remains a test for the leadership we crave for.
This process does not necessarily require falsification of hope by distributing ID Cards among hungry citizens, importing multi-million tons of food of any kind for distribution among our poverty stricken citizens only to maintain grip on or climb the ladder to power.
It does not even require being lavage with and circulating stolen money to fool the people once again or using the name of a Heavenly Messiah, Jesus Christian to impress the suffering masses as though they are fools. But rather, it requires radical approach that will practically empower all farmers throughout the country.
This includes improvement of the traditional farming system of shifting cultivation, introducing mechanized farming, short-term and fast pace skill training, availability of storages for food preservation throughout the country, protective tariff on importation of domestically produced consumables, supplying of pieces of farming equipment, adequate road network throughout the country, accessible health facilities, and affordable healthcare packages to improve our life expectancy and avoid reoccurrence of the deadly Ebola. This is a very huge but much applicable change we need to institute now as a country.
But, this change requires a change leadership with great passion and insight for solutions not flamboyance or ambiguity. Therefore, among the current presidential candidates bidding for the country’s highest seat comes October 10th, 2017, Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe of the Voice of Liberia Transformation (VOLT) is the only person with proven sensitivity towards the priority of our time, relative to the suffering of the Liberian people.
He has the requisite leadership charisma for addressing our defining moment of the urgency and the challenge as mentioned above. In his platform, he prioritizes agriculture as a single stone solution that can set the pace for bringing down our multiple goliaths so that we can emancipate ourselves from the slavery of dependency syndrome to self-sufficiency. But, this is impossible without your support.
This is why we are calling on you all to join in with him in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for change in the history of our country, Liberia.
Mgehnleh G. Dorliae, [email protected], Contributing Writer