Introducing Sanctity in Liberia’s Nascent Democracy: A Country in Transition to Violence
It is indeed an open secret that Liberia’s transition from civil war to a post-war nation took a relatively longer period of time from its inception in the late 1980s to 1997. These moments of civil instability created the recipe for violence which spilled throughout Liberia, that massively destroyed both our cultural, social and political systems…thus claiming the lives of over 305,000 Liberians and other nationals.
As a fellow Liberian, I am calling on the government to sanctify and save Liberia’s nascent democracy by building strong, vibrant, supportive and independent institutions that will not function at the will of so-called “big-men” but through strict adherent to the underlying principles and objectives of those institutions along with the Liberian constitution. Additionally, in order to prevent continuous violence in the country, the government needs to construct more TVET institutions in big cities. This will provide faster opportunity for the large population of unemployed young people in our country to acquire employable skills, reduce the current insecurity level and it will create a long term positive effect on the economy and individual growth. As stated by former US President, Barack Obama in 2009, “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions” …this is what I think Liberia needs now, stronger and accountable institutions that will create systemic positive transformation in the life of each Liberians regardless of their political orientation or affiliations, as well as improving and restructuring our institutions.
Ushering into power of Liberia’s and Africa’s first elected female President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2006, raised the unquestionable expectations and unhinged aspirations of Liberians and those in the diaspora to regained its reputable status within the reign of the international community, as a pivotal partner in global world order, holistically improve the livelihood of the population, while healing the wounds and rallying a call to national unity to cultivate prosperity. In contrast, during her period of stewardship of governance, Liberia’s peace was described to be fragile despite the presence of over fifteen thousand strong UN armed peacekeeping force that were in the country along with minimum aid from the State security, and corruption was also rapidly engulfing the nation. In spite of this fragility, the peace under her was uninterrupted, and unity wasn’t achieved… leaving the country still divided in diverse ways.
The Ellen led government managed to sustain the “fragile peace” but failed in its promises to minimized poverty, fight corruption, foster authentic and result oriented medium for the unification of Liberians and to rebuild the lives of the nation’s worth – its people. Irrespective of the enormous flow of massive international goodwill in critical areas of our nation, and other direct philanthropists’ organizations support around the globe, Liberians were languishing in abject poverty and desperate for basic fundamental human needs associated with 21st century such as electricity, accessible roads, safe drinking water, quality healthcare services and schools. Indeed, it thus left many of our people frustrated, hopeless, uncertain, and rendering a bleak future.
After those moments of frustrated uncertainty, coupled with mismanagement and misappropriation of the nation’s resources under the guidance of President Sirleaf which transformational effects and efficacy were not felt by the greater population, they mustered the courage and participated in one of Liberia’s most historic elections with simplicity and serenity in their unwavering quest for socio-economic metamorphosis that democratically led to the ascendency of Ambassador George Manneh Weah to the presidency.
Today, the regime after being in State authority for over a year now, seems not to be reawakening the hope and aspirations of many Liberians especially the “common people” under whose authority and love he was catapulted into the highest office of the land. For instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Liberia revealed that current inflation rate stands at 22.3%. This figure economically illustrates how bad our economy has become, and the urgent need to speedily resuscitate it—the need for an immediate “Economic Summit” of stakeholders to tackle the looming challenges to avoid collapse. Furthermore, the continuous embezzlement of tax payers’ money as seen in the cases of the 25 million mop-up exercise and the mysterious 16 billion saga coupled with the difficult economic challenges tormenting our people every day, along with the rising insecurity problems; are signals shouting for the purification of our nascent democracy.
We observed in recent months that, our nation has experienced and perhaps will continue to experience the uprising of its citizen through various forms of protests and even electoral violence. Many of these mayhems were prompted by those in leadership positions – they have taken the “lion share” from the citizenry, the share that belongs to everyone! Hence, such attitude simply provokes the masses to invoke Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion (“for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”), a position which I do not personally support but that is the reality at hand…people are extremely suffering. It shows that many Liberians hopes and patience can no longer sustain them because the change they envisaged seems bleak and distance from their generation. Therefore, many of them are fueling violence and protests as avenues for airing and addressing their disenchantments.