GOING BY THE WAY Liberian politicians have carried out their campaigns lately, it is hard to not conclude that Liberian politics – and, in turn, both public office and public service have become ‘financialized’.
THIS IS TO SAY that everything about political office has, now, a monetary value – meaning cost and benefit – attached to it.
AND THIS IS NOT talking about just some money, or in popular parlance ‘chicken change’, politics in Liberia is now about big money in the millions and tens of millions of Liberian dollars.
IT IS ONLY REASONABLE to conclude that, under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government that, while in opposition only a few years ago, complained to high heavens about corruption in government, political office is now first, the exclusive preserve of the moneyed class and second, for sale to the highest bidders.
THE CDC, some critics would insist, is not a party in the normal sense but merely a special purpose vehicle to gain power and access to the public treasury, is preparing for general elections in less than two year’s time.
PARTY MEMBERS who aspire for legislative positions or any part thereof – so it may be reasonably assumed – are expected to demonstrate their seriousness with the spending of millions of Liberian dollars on campaign activities as seen in recent years.
WORRISOME IS THAT LIBERIA, in 2022, with more than 2.2 million Liberians were unable to meet their basic food needs, of which almost 1.5 million (68%) resided in rural areas, 1.6 million were below the food-poverty line, and 670,000 lived in extreme poverty, has politicians that are not worried by this scenario! Neither are they concerned that insecurity has overtaken the country, theirs is that of battling for political power by all means-good and retaining it more by the latter than the former.
THE GRAVE IMPLICATION is that Liberia’s brand of democracy has skewed completely from “a government of the people, by the people and for the people”, to that of the rich, for the rich and by the rotten rich political juggernauts. That is plutocracy or plutarchy for you! That is a society that is ruled or controlled by people of great wealth or income.
THERE APPEARS, among Liberia’s political class, a jostling to show off wealth; few are complaining; many are acting somewhat pleased to be counted among money-bag aspirants.
IT IS QUITE UNFORTUNATE and very appalling that politicians still nurse the idea of buying votes to win elections. As previous results of elections in Liberia have shown, Liberians are wiser now, especially owing to the hardship brought about by the George Weah government.
IN THE DECEMBER 2020 Special Senatorial elections, the ruling CDC spent millions of Liberian dollars to influence voters to vote for their candidates across the country, but the outcomes of those spending proved costly.
IN MONSTERRADO County, millions of Liberian dollars was reportedly spent on the Senate ambition of Rep. Thomas Fallah, while in Bong County, incumbent Senator Henry Yallah failed in his re-election quest despite spending millions of Liberian dollars to convince the voters.
FALLAH AND YALLAH’S dismal performances in the Senatorial elections highlighted the ruling party’s poor performance in that election, losing eight of the 11 seats that were up for the contest.
LIBERIANS HAVE BEEN impoverished beyond their imaginations. More disturbing is the new order where politicians are going about looking for endorsements from political gladiators instead of coming out with a blueprint on how they intend to turn the very bad situation around.
FELLOW LIBERIANS, vote-buying is an attempt to change a dishonest and corrupt system through corrupt means, and it’s time for the electorates to question the competence and antecedents of the candidates running for political offices before making the choice of whom to vote.
AHEAD OF THE 2023 presidential elections, when politicians come and start giving you thousands of Liberian dollars, do either of two things; either you take the money, spend it, and don’t do what they want you to do and don’t vote for them because they have not been there for you before now.