‘Politics Of Personal Attacks Submerges The Issues Confronting Liberia, Clergyman Says
Monrovia – Rev. Kortu Brown, President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) has described the politics of personal attacks as a strong contributor to the hatred prevailing amongst Liberians which is undermining the cohesion of the country.
Rev. Brown, also the Pastor of New Water in the Desert Assembly, Apostolic Pentecostal Church, speaking recently to Fabric Radio at his church office in Brewerville, Bishop Kortu K. Brown said that the “politics of personal attacks submerges the debate on the many issues confronting the nation” and makes it difficult for our leaders to lead once elected because the issues are presented and debated during election campaigns.
“We need issues-based elections campaign in our country”, the Pentecostal cleric averred “because that’s one of the ways we can address the serious political, economic and social issues facing the country”. Personal attacks and titling one another as cockroaches, killers, thieves, etc. degrades the debate on how we can find answers collectively to our national woes.
The clergyman’s comments come in a week when President George Manneh Weah’s assault on members of the opposition has sparked a major debate in Liberia.
President Weah, speaking last Saturday when he launched the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) campaign for its candidates in the by-elections in Montserrado County for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate, took aim at opposition politician Mr. Benoni Urey, who he accused of being a killer and a thief, in what he says was a response to Mr. Urey’s description of his partisans as political party cockroaches.
“We need issues-based elections campaign in our country”, the Pentecostal cleric averred “because that’s one of the ways we can address the serious political, economic and social issues facing the country”. Personal attacks and titling one another as cockroaches, killers, thieves, etc. degrades the debate on how we can find answers collectively to our national woes.”
– Rev. Kortu Brown, President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC)
Said President Weah: “This is a man that has never won anything, he supported his brother I defeated him, get ready tightened your belts there is no way the Urey’s can win election in Montserrado County because they are wicked people. We are cockroaches but they are killers, we are cockroaches, they are thieves.”
The President said Mr. Urey and the opposition are testing the ruling party’s resolve. “They call you tiny, tiny, CDCians and cockroaches and come to ask for your votes. I will be specific today because I came to make fuss… Benoni Urey is not associated with victory, the only thing I recall for Urey is that when he wanted to leave from UN sanction list, he came to me and I helped him make his first foreign trip.”
Mr. Urey fired back, lamenting that it is regrettable that the president of Liberia will stoop to that level. “Now the Liberian people can see the gravity of the problems in our country. Today my heart bleeds for Liberia. “God have mercy on Liberia.”
The businessman/politician said he will not return hate-filled verbal insults on the President but will explore his legal options. “I am viewing all legal options as this is a treat on my family and we don’t take it lightly. I view the President’s utterances as a threat on my family.”
Mr. Urey’s daughter, Telia, who is contesting the District No. 15 legislative seat left vacant after the death of the late Representative Adolph Lawrence, also took the President to task for calling her a “little girl”.
Ms. Urey said to President Weah in an appearance on the Costa Show Monday: “You are referring to me a political actor as a little girl? You trying to demean me? You trying to bully me? You’re trying to scare me from being involved in the process? You trying to scare women from being involved in the process? You cannot intimidate me, George. I know where I stand, I know what I’m going to do, I know what I want, I will never be intimidated by you.”
Reverend Brown says it is important that Liberians keep the political debate civil, minus the negativity.
“We must keep the debates civil”, he admonished.
The clergyman said Liberia is being plagued by so much personal hatred against one another that it makes it difficult for the citizens to sincerely come together to chart a truly national course. “We must keep our campaigns free of personal attacks and focus on how we can heal our country and how we can collectively address the national challenges facing us.”
Rev. Brown continued: “We are not enemies in politics. Liberians must go away from the enemy mentality in our politics because it hurts the country. When we campaign severally, we are presenting alternatives ideas on how we can improve the lives of our people and develop our country. But when we focus on elections and debates on purely attacking one another, we make it difficult to run civil campaigns and see politics for what it is: the man of group with the better ideas to convince the people to lead them.”
The clergyman called on the voting constituencies to eschew the politics of personal attacks however tempting it may be and focus on the issues that will address their communities’ challenges
He said electioneering is a part of the efforts to strength our democracy. “Liberia votes every three years in mid-term or Presidential elections and also in by-elections to fill vacant legislative seats. These elections processes should be used to help strengthen our democratization because democracy is a political way of life which we have embraced and we must consolidate it.”
The Apostolic Pentecostal Church Bishop reminded the Government and the Opposition political parties that an issue-based election campaign can help further a political dialogue that will be characterized by sincerity and commitment to the cause of the people. “Personal attacks exacerbate the divisions and hatred amongst us and make it difficult to pursue a political and economic dialogue in the country”
The Bishop launched an appeal to organizers of the political debates in the country to arrange debates for the Senatorial and Representative candidates in the Montserrado County By-election so we can hear from the Candidates the issues they want to address and how they will address them if they got elected