The Menace of Godfatherism is a Detriment to Liberian Democracy
Godfatherism is when an influential member of a political party or society claims that he is the only man that can be president, creating and reinforcing a nationwide messiah syndrome and generates followers. Eventually, this influential figure appoints, dictates and enforces his desire on the entire party. He/she serves as the gate keeper and determines who gets and what happens in the party.
By: Jah Nimene Blamo M.A.M.A, Atena International
This form of leadership is so cemented in the Liberian political Culture that almost no one believes that something is deeply wrong in the organization. With such a system, the rights and authority of the people are restricted. This has been the political practice in Liberia for both the ruling and opposition parties for the last over 150 years.
This system is not a mentorship, neither is it people centered. The motive is clearly selfish. It is usually inspired by the desire of one man to control and regulate the entire country politics. Once the individual in the above system becomes a presidential candidate, this is the same attitude that he/she takes towards the presidency, display during public policy debates and the public treasury/coffers of the state.
The Godfather Political quagmire has imprisoned the true virtues of Liberian Democracy to such an extend that the nation finds herself carrying in the 2023 presidential election, a honorably retired former vice president who is about 80 years old and a citizen tourist who returned to his country after about 40 years and believes that the presidency is his birth right.
Fellow Liberians, let us be realistic. President George Weah is not entering our Presidential History Books as the greatest president Liberia ever had. His admitted mistakes are as clear as daylight. However, his presidential leadership skills were not the reason about 60% of the population voted for him. He walked into the presidency announcing to the nation and the world, that the 1847 Liberian dream of a nation of equality for all was unfulfilled and he asked for help. Not a single presidential candidate or political party agreed to participate in constructive engagement with the new leader and his government.
A second complication is, we have two presidential candidates who could easily present a legitimate challenge for the president through a united front. Despite the clear advantage in uniting, none of these honorable gentlemen wants to be a vice president. Both are determined to be president. A third issue is the most reasonable challenger is unable to gather majority votes from his own county. In the face of these draw backs, when reasonable minds voiced their opinion through the voice of Noble Prize winner Ms. L Bowie, urging the honorable former vice president to please embrace retirement, she was ridiculed and her credibility to speak questioned.
My fellow countrymen, where are we going with this determination to live and die under the dominance of these old men /political Godfathers? Be not deceived, in a nation where over 60% of the population are below 40 years old, there is absolutely no benefit to start going backward and base our entire political future on the foundation of Godfatherism. We can never achieve total empowerment of the people by restricting citizens rights and limiting the entire function of the state to 1-2 men. We will be doing the entire country a disservice when we submit to the leadership of messiahs and emperors under the pretense of presidency. This direction of leading people thru man-made gods, hoping that they will save us from ourselves, turn water into milk, rocks into bread is mere fantasy thinking. It has no place in Public Policy Administration. It limits citizens actions, push entire organization leadership teams in the corner and makes it difficult to resolve socioeconomic problems, regardless of who we elect as president.
With what currently exist in Liberia, only the affluents/ rich citizens can benefit, especially under the Monrovia centered, plantation styled 1847 Political System, where about 10% of the population divide the entire financial resources of the country among themselves, as salaries allowances for government jobs, leaving about 80% of population wrestling with slow death and deep poverty. It is clear and simple Political vandalism.
For real change to come to Liberia, We the people, must insist on a balance of power, citizens rights to elect local leaders in the counties. Power musty be returned to the people. And elected officials must be made by law accountable to the people. We believe that the people must be the source of all political power. They must be allowed to select leaders, not reliance on Godfatherism.
God bless Liberia.
Jah Nimene Blamo M.A.M.A.
Email: [email protected]