Liberia: Let’s Work for Democracy, Not Autocracy
As the main problem in Liberia remains the longstanding and widespread poverty problem, the people who love Liberia have to continue working together to find ways to end poverty and prevent its reoccurrence. The ending and prevention of poverty is most important because poverty has become the pretext for violence, including coup d’etat and civil war. The Civil War in Liberia took the lives of at least 300,000 people, damaged billions of dollars worth of infrastructure, and left unrecovered the economy of Liberia at its pre-war level. It is the experience of the people of Liberia with the Civil War in Liberia that led the people of Liberia to conclude that they prefer Peace to War, as is heard in their chanting: We Want Peace! No More War!
By Togba-Nah Tipoteh, [email protected]
Although the Constitution of Liberia calls for the building of sustainable democracy in Liberia, where the Will of the People of Liberia prevails, the reality in Liberia is that autocracy, the will of the few powers that be, prevails. In other words, the Constitution of Liberia, the Supreme Law of Liberia, is being violated. It is under this violation that there is poverty generation instead of poverty alleviation in Liberia. Poverty generation prevails in Liberia because the powers that be see poverty as being in their interest, despite their detractive policy statements and slogans. In effect, poverty generation comes from the colonial system, where divide and rule syndrome is the order of the day. In this order of colonialism, the system of the production of raw materials mainly for export without any prioritization of Value Addition prevails.
Autocracy promotes the colonial system which sustains the divide and rule syndrome. Under this syndrome, there continues to be the production of raw materials for export, leading to the sustenance of poverty generation at the expense of poverty alleviation. Let us recall here the Liberian expression: when your household does not sell you, the street will not buy you. From the time of slavery, we saw the household of the powers that be selling poor people from Africa as slaves to cotton plantation slave owners in the United Staes of America (USA). Then we witnessed the freed slaves returning to Africa, through Liberia in 1822, buying land from the household of the powers that be that belonged to the people, establishng what is now known as Americo-Liberian Rule. Now, from the 1980s to the present time, we have observed the functioning of Native-Liberian Rule twice and concluded, as seen in one of my Commentaries, that Americo-Liberian Rule and Native-Liberian Rule are the same because they promote the poverty generating system of the production of raw materials mainly for export.
With autocracy prevailing instead of democracy, National Legislators in Liberia have access to at least USD1,000 a day and their foreign partners, in the commercial sector alone, have access to at least USD2 million a day while over 80 per cent of the people of Liberia have access to at most less than USD2 a day (Annual Reports of CBL, LISGIS, MFDP, MCI, WB, IMF, ADB and UNDP). No wonder, 80 per cent of the people of Liberia have concluded that Liberia is heading in the wrong direction (Afrobarometer, 2020). In this autocracy, the divide and rule syndrome continues, as seen in the powers that be trying very hard to separate good people in Liberia, people with a record of struggling to get Justice for All, the only sustainable ingredient for Peace and Progress.
In the absence of Value Addition, for example, logs are exported from the poorest parts of Liberia, exposing the people to life-threatening diseases in the non-relevant curative health system. As the logs are exported, students are sitting on bare ground floors and in imported chairs. As the logs are exported, waters are polluted, leading to water-borne diseases being the main killers of children, when these diseases are preventable under the relevant preventine health care system.
When there is a lot of worry locally and globally about Climate Change, Liberia has the capacity to solve the Climate Change problem. The main Climate Change problem is the gas emissions from the developed countries. Liberia has some of the best rain forests in the world with the capacity to take in death-making carbon dioxide from the gas emissions and give out life-saving oxygen. Yet, the powers that be in Liberia continue to move around with hat in hand depending on and receiving foreign assistance in the forms of grants, loans and even budget support. With good State management, Liberia could prioritize reforestation instead of focusing on deforestation in the production of raw materials for export, where logs are exported, deforesting the forests and not reforesting the forests.
How can Liberia get the good State management where Democracy prevails over Autocracy? How can Liberia get the good State management where Value Addition prevails over value subtraction? How can Liberia get the good State management where poverty alleviation prevails over poverty generation? The good State management will come in Liberia when knowledge is spread to raise awareness in ways that motivate the people of Liberia to take actions together through the Rule of Law to transform the UNFAIR electoral system to the FAIR electoral system.