In Liberia, everyone wants to be President but no one wants to stand up for the poor and neglected when it really matters the most
POLITICIANS ARE BORN EVERYDAY in various parts of the world. Some stand for something while others die for nothing. What all share is a mundane desire to lead a group of people or constituency either out of poverty or from a life of neglect, corruption, nepotism, abuse of human rights and most times inventive jargons suiting their agenda for professed changes.
LIBERIA IS NO EXCEPTION here. Politicians are fond of making promises they cannot keep, assuring potential voters how things are so bad that only they have the power and experience to change and that the current governance structure is simply not in their best interest until they are elected to lead.
FOR SOME, the presidency or leadership is an entitlement; meaning the country owes them because they have contributed in one way or the other to the nation or in most cases, not contributed at all.
FOR MANY OF THESE politicians, Liberia owes them a favor to deliver them the presidency on the silver platter without putting in the time and effort to speak out for those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder.
SOME GO AS far as hiding behind the “grassroots” label trumpeting their political institutions as the voice of the voiceless and poor while standing by and doing nothing or saying nothing when the very issues affecting their grassroots supports are being tampered with on a daily basis.
WE HAVE SEEN IT ALL TOO OFTEN. On April 14, progressive led scores of Liberians in the streets protesting the price of rice. Today, many of those that led innocent bystanders and others willing to exploit a volatile situation are in positions of power or have access to the powers that be but remain quiet while the very vices that led scores to their graves remain visible in a post-war nation on the mends but struggling to restore its economic and political sanity.
A YEAR LATER, ON APRIL 12, 1980, a band of low-ranked army officers staged a coup d’etat that ended decades of Americo-Liberian rule, ushering the first military regime in Africa’s oldest republic. The coup leaders spoke a populist tune and prey on the fears and vulnerabilities of those feeling oppressed by the powers of the day.
IT DID NOT TAKE long for the new leaders to fall into the same trappings of those they claim to have seized power to liberate Liberia from.
THROUGH OUT THE NEXT DECADE, corruption became rampant and human rights violations became the norm.
THE FACT of the matter is Liberia has never recovered from the rice riots of 1979, the coup of 1980 and the more than a decade of civil war.
THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS that many of those who took up arms in the name of liberation Liberians have found themselves in the very predicament of those they took on during the Tolbert, Doe and Taylor years.
THIS IS WHY WE WELCOME this week’s ranking of the national legislature by the Institute for Research and Democratic Empowerment’s Legislative Monitoring Scorecard which reported that several lawmakers including some with presidential aspirations have been performing poorly.
SAID THE REPORT: “On the contrary, there were five Senators who got the lowest in plenary Participation; those Senators include: Sen. George M. Weah of Montserrado County, Sen. Jim W. Tornnlah of Margibi County, Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County, Sen. Henry W. Yallah of Bong County and Sen. Sando D. Johnson of Bomi County”- Institute for Research and Democratic Empowerment.
BOTH GEORGE M. WEAH of the Congress for Democratic Change (Montserrado) and Prince Y. Johnson(Independent, Nimba) are popular in the two most populous counties – Montserrado and Nimba respectively and were key political actors during the 2011 general and presidential elections. But nations are never built on popularity contests.
THE RICE RIOTS of 1979 was popular but failed to address the recurring problems still endured today. The coup of
THE COUP OF 1980 also failed to fix the many problems the so-called liberators claimed they seized power to address.
THE FACT OF THE MATTER is we find ourselves at a crossroad where every unimaginable dilemma is greeted with quick-fix proposals that have so far led Liberia nowhere.
AS LIBERIA PREPARES for presidential and legislative elections in 2017, it is our hope that those aspiring for the highest offices look beyond their selfish desires to fulfil a political bucket list at the detriment of the struggling masses.
POLITICS IS ABOUT RISKS, so it is only befitting the politicians be ever more that willing to take risks and speak out on burning issues affecting grassroots communities. Issues like the lack of healthcare, electricity and the dire straits condition of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center are important to constituents – As is the dilemma of teachers without pay and students trekking to school each day to an empty classroom.
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER is, Everyone wants to be President in Liberia but no one wants to stand up for the poor and Neglected when it really matters the most. Somethings really need to change, if we are ever going to change as a nation.
IN TODAY’S LIBERIA, a number of burning issues have been dominating the news lately. Issues of poor health delivery at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center to allegations of corruption, human rights abuses, nepotism and total disregard for the rule of law.