MONROVIA – For several decades, Alfred Teah (not his real name), 59, a self-employed Liberian has been repairing shoes in central Monrovia, opting for a genuine change in the governance process of the country.
By Obediah Johnson
His work is the only source of income that he has utilized to send his children to school, including his daughter (name withheld) who was among recent graduates of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia.
He’s among the thousands of Liberians who exercised their political franchise in the just ended November 14 presidential runoff election.
He wants Liberia’s next President to change the narratives and the old-aged way of politicking in the post-conflict nation by prioritizing developments over the accumulation of questionable and ill-gotten wealth.
“Liberians need better roads, good electricity, healthcare delivery and schools and not for our leaders to continue to enrich themselves,” Alfred stated while passing a sewing pin and a thread through a worn-up shoes.
According to him, an effective and efficient health system for Liberians and adequate road connectivity will enable them live a healthy life and enable them to move from one place to another to carry out commercial activities or render other services to become self-productive.
This, he maintained, will also help citizens provide basic necessities for them and their respective family members
“When electricity goes somewhere, businesses will follow,” he added.
Listening to citizens
Alfred observed that Liberians will continue to change leaders one after the other if they (elected officials) failed to prioritize the interest of the citizens, who are their employers, to enrich themselves and their immediate family members and friends.
He underscored the significance of Liberia’s next President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to listen to suggestions and recommendations from citizens in finding lasting or sustainable solutions to addressing their plights.
“The next President should be the best person for Liberia that should do what the people wants him to do. If he doesn’t do those things, the people will boot him out.”
Alfred further called on the next government to help address the growing wave of unemployment, especially among young people.
He observed that many young people are roaming various streets in Monrovia and other parts of the country due to the lack of job opportunities.
According to him, the situation has obligated most young people to turn to “beggars”, depending on handouts from public officials and others to survive.
Alfred maintained that job opportunities for young people will help them become productive citizens who will in turn immensely contribute towards the infrastructural and socio-economic development of Liberia.
“This too much of begging will not help us as citizens. I am 59 years old and have a daughter who is out of college. This job I’m doing sent her to school and college.”
Speak on issues
Famatta Kowo, 55, called on President-elect Boakai to avoid remaining mute on key national issues affecting and endangering the lives of citizens and the country at large.
She said the next government should desist from taking decisions or actions that could only suit friends and family members.
She emphasized that the former Vice President should use his over 40 years of experience in public service to make decisions that would benefit the masses.
“If any bad thing happens, Joseph Boakai should be able to put people on the field to investigate. And the Liberian people should be able to see the consequences of the investigations.”
Crackdown on drugs
Kowo called for a major crackdown on the trading and intake of illegal substances, including “kush.”
“This drug issue is really serious. We don’t want to see it because our children are spoiling. They may not be your belly-born, but all women feel the same pain (during delivery). Let him (Boakai) get rid of it.”
She further that civil servants should be paid better wages to be able to pay the fees of their children attending various public and private schools and universities across the country.
Uphold rule of law
Samuel Waykor, 62, cautioned against disregard for the rule of law and the misappropriation of public funds under the incoming UP government.
“I believe that Joseph Boakai can make a positive change. I expect him to conduct an audit first.”
Martha Hinneh, 61, called on the government to promote accountability and transparency in steering the affairs of the country.
For too long, she added that, the wealth and resources of Liberia have been mismanaged and as such, President-elect Boakai should ensure that the wellbeing of the masses is prioritized above the interest of him and his government officials.
“Sometimes we should ask ourselves as Liberians, why our country is still behind other countries? The next President has been elected and the ball is now on his court to perform and leave back a legacy. I think one of the best legacies he can leave behind is to prosecute government officials who have been accused of corruption.”
She observed that the prompt replacement of poorly performing elected officials will serve as deterrence for those contemplating on enriching themselves and making decisions that will not benefit the citizenry.
“I want for Liberians to change leaders after every six years if they fail to perform. This will help make most of them serious to do things or take decisions that will benefit the people who elected them to power.”