LIBERIA: BY-ELECTION, A WAKE-UP CALL NOT JUST FOR PRESIDENT BUT SENATORS & REPRESENTATIVES AS WELL

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SENATOR PETER COLEMAN (Grand Kru) made a startling revelation recently when he remarked that confirmation of presidential nominees for government positions are often not based on merits, rather on sympathy and influence.

SPEAKING on Monday, July 8 during the confirmation hearing of former Senator Blamo Nelson, Ambassador-designate to Japan, Senator Coleman said in many cases Senators have had to “swallow bitter pills to confirm nominees”. 

SAID THE SENATOR, who is the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Health, Gender, Children and Social Protection, said: “Mr. Nominee, let me take this time to congratulate you for your preferment, you know many times we are coerced to swallow the bitter pills to accept some of the nominees who are average and some are not average.”

SENATOR COLEMAN’S comments clearly illustrate the crux of the issue compounding Liberia’s current predicament – a nation drowning in mediocrity, and ineptitude and governed by elected officials putting themselves before the country and the constituents who elected them into office.

WHILE COUNTRIES around Liberia are doing everything to tap into the best brains we continue to settle for inexperience over competence and integrity.

THE REPORT of an ongoing investigation of Mr. Andrew Wonploe, head of the Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused of selling Liberian passports to foreign nationals is just the latest in a long line of recent embarrassment befalling the government.

THE PASSPORT issue is poised to send Liberia back to the days of the civil crisis when Liberian passports were being issued illegally in the Middle East to mainly Lebanese business men who could also not get Lebanese passports because there was war in Lebanon. The Lebanese did not qualify for Liberian passports even though some of them lived in Liberia.

AT THE TIME, the US government refused to give visas and entry to most people who had Liberian passports because the international community had lost faith in the Liberian Passport. Liberia passports had no credibility at the time.

THIS IS WHY it is important for those at the helm of power to appoint people with integrity to positions so that Liberia does not suffer in the long term over the greed or ineptitude of those appointed or elected to positions of authority.

THE FAILURE OF members of the lower and upper house of the national legislature to properly vet appointees to crucial government positions signals a clear betrayal of trust bestowed on them by constituencies across the country.

IN VIEW OF THIS, we hope that the results of the recent Montserrado County by-elections will serve as a wake-up call to those elected officials in both the Senate and the House.

WE HOPE that they will now begin to reexamine their priorities and begin to take their jobs more seriously by ensuring that appointees to government are properly vetted; and documents regarding concessions are reviewed with the proper due diligence.

THE RECURRING circle of corruption and impunity continues to hurt Liberia because leaders are lacking insincerity and selfishly, but sadly, only looking out for themselves.

THERE SHOULD BE no room for anyone elected and entrusted by the people to serve to fail in their commitment to ensuring the best interest of Liberia.

VOTERS SHOULD TAKE note and some, judging from the outcome in the Montserrado County Senatorial by-elections appear to have by sending a clear message that Liberians are no longer willing to sit by idly and allow politicians to take Liberians for a ride.

THE UPCOMING 2020 MIDTERM and the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections will offer yet another opportunity for voters to send elected officials another message.

IT IS TIME for all concern to do right by Liberia and those who put them there. One slip-up could see changes in both houses – and even the presidency. So, take note.

Liberia comes first.

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