Liberians Should Evaluate Candidates Through Debates
All candidates who are vying for positions including the presidency should be evaluated through debates.
The should be Aspirant’s Forum as a platform for candidate(s) to debate and to explain their reasons why they are running for President, Senator, Representative or any other position.
The forum must also ask each candidate to state what is wrong with Liberia and why, and how he or she is going to fix the identified problems.
He or she must state in a concrete terms how progress is going to be measured with a timeline and how Liberians are going to internalize the fixes.
Each candidate must state what be his or her legacy as president, senator, representative, mayor or any elected position.
How he or she is going to guarantee strong rule of law that will ensure that no one is above the law including the President and other government officials.
This must begin with giving the police the authority as guaranteed under the Constitution to have the power to arrest anyone including lawmakers and other government officials that will violate the law or commit a crime.
If anyone of them were to ask, you know who I am, the answer must be yes.
“I know you were elected or appointed as a servant of the Liberian people in line with Article one of the Liberian Constitution.”
This is exactly the purpose of serving in government, to the serve the people.
Each candidate must be required to state how he or she would guarantee separation of powers among the three branches of the government: The Executive, Legislature, and Judicial.
He or she must explain concrete strategies of decentralization that will allow ordinary citizens as well to have equal opportunity and means to improve their individual livelihoods, households, neighborhoods, community, and the country as a whole.
For example, he or she must state in a concrete economy reforms such as cutting salaries and allowances of representatives and senators and other government officials through a legislation emanating from the Executive Mansion.
He or she must as well plan that in the same legislation, the reduction of presidential tenure from six to four, senate from nine to six, and representative from six to three.
These are concrete examples the candidates can talk about and as president one will have the veto power and power to campaign against opposing Senator(s) by visiting his county to address the citizens and residents of the county.
This is the power of the presidency.
Cutting the salaries and allowances for government officials in Liberia is crucial to economy reforms because representatives and Senators in Liberia are making more salaries and receiving more allowances more than United States representatives and United States Senators.
This is a fact.
The reason is, in a true democracy society, salaries and allowances are determined by the productive capacity of the country.
The same is true in corporations.
In the Liberian situation, what are we producing? It can we justify these salaries and allowances when there is no single public library in Liberia?
How do we justify these salaries and allowances when we rely on the international community for funding for nearly all or projects?
How do we justify these salaries and allowances when most citizens’ livelihoods depend on relatives and friends in the United States or elsewhere?
How do we justify these salaries and allowances when majority of population livelihood is at the mercy of nature?
Moreover, the purpose of serving in government is not about money making. It is about service to benefit the citizens of the country.
Go in private sector if you want to make money.
Cut all salaries and allowances into half and apply the money to education.
For example, some of the money must be set aside for scholarships for students who maintain certain grades in Science, engineering, nursing, technology, agriculture… among others at the University of Liberia.
Each candidate must project how many Liberians will graduate as doctors, engineer in his or her first term under government sponsorship from the
cutting of these huge salaries and allowances.
This is critical as this will inspire youths to composite and will as well motivate the international community to help Liberia. We need help, but we must help ourselves to show to the world that we are serious.
North Dakota, USA