The Year 2017…And the Hope to End Political Immaturity in Liberia

The hope to see Liberia rise above socio-political backwardness continues to suffer from challenges of nihilism brought upon the masses by some of the country’s elites -  especially those who preach perfection while swimming in the pool of deficit.

 

There is something inherently wrong with Liberia’s brand of politics. Over the years, the system has failed to take account of real issues affecting the country. Even in the era of relative stability, some of the country’s elites continue to employ divisive means and tactics to confuse electorates in a climate void of genuine civil discourse.

 

A cursory look at debates and the trend towards the 2017 elections say much about the lack of preparedness to introduce a radical departure from the past. For instance, instead of seeking redeemable solutions to some of the problems that led to the civil war, some politicians are busy preaching divisive politics without presenting concrete alternatives and the means of achieving them. What we have seen so far are frequent attempts to denigrate the current regime and to blame their tenure for every calamity that has befallen the country since its establishment. Yet, the worse is the tendency to define the country’s political direction according to tribal affiliation or regionalism.

 

The struggle, it would appear, is not to locate a credible candidate with trails of visionary leadership, but to produce a kind of leadership that will appeal to certain groups of people.  This writer is of the view, that the selection of leaders should be based on pure merit rather than one’s ethnic or geographical affiliation.    

 

Another dimension to our political discourse and that, which I find very troubling, is to use religion as a seal to achieve political objectives. Left with many conscientious Liberians, as personal as it is, religion should not form part of our political discourse. It is rather unfortunate that certain politicians do find it convenient to use religion as a tool to climb the political ladder.

 

What such politicians often ignore, is the fact that in a country where you have people worshipping more than one god, coercing others to concede to your own brand of faith, is a recipe for chaos.

 

One may as well ask: why should we bring such a contentious and a divisive issue to the discussion table in the first place? The obvious answer is that it doesn’t contribute to national cohesion. What we should be talking about at this tim, are things that will help cement our unity; a duty, our politicians should not shy away from no matter the situation.

 

If our politicians are serious about bringing the much desired change being trumpeted over the years, they must now begin to redirect their energies toward concretizing workable plans for solving some of the problems that we all have invariably helped to create.  The truth is that an opposition does not exist for the sake of occupying political space, but rather to provide sound alternatives for the continued smooth running of the state of affairs.

 

For instance, the cry over rampant corruption in the system and efforts to combat it should not be restricted to the current government because, it has now become clear that while accusing fingers are often pointed at the regime in power, other contending forces outside the establishment are equally culpable.  The problem as we see it, is societal, and therefore it is compelling for all hands to be on deck if success is to be achieved in fighting the menace.

 

We must begin with a promise that above all, everyone, including the politicians must submit to law and order. Those who have been accused of corruption are part and parcel of the larger society and the only way we can succeed against those siphoning public funds is to be on the side of the law. 

 

Here lies the problem: in Liberia, in recent times, some politicians have shown little respect for the law and order. State owned establishments such as the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and other integrity institutions are treated with disdain and for every move taken to curb corruption, they have come out to say that it is a crackdown on opponents. But you can’t have it all. If Madam Sirleaf’s administration is being accused of paying lips service to fighting corruption, you can’t have certain group of people on the other side of the isle, resisting attempts to be interrogated by the authorities on questionable acquired wealth. Doing that is tantamount to rejecting the collective effort to rid the nation of corruption.

 

In addition, we need to grow from democratic infancy of which we have become shamelessly accustomed to and complacent of, despite our old age, to embrace full democratic precepts and stop crying foul where there is no need for it.  Our politicians have always lamented on issues that do not warrant attention. Time and again, even as we celebrate over a decade of peace and with security responsibilities turned over to our own national security apparatus, doubts are still flying around that Liberians cannot maintain peace. 

 

On this, our politicians have a role to play especially those seeking elected positions. They should counter this negative perception with assurances to their followers that Liberians can keep peace.  Our politicians need to realize that out of the dark cloud, there is a silver lining, and that it is time for us to engage in politics of relevance void of pettiness, while seeking redeemable features in our national life.

 

Above all, we must now begin to build trust in the ability of our security apparatus to provide maximum protection for all and sundry. Such message is not only reassuring and contributes to confidence building; it also resonates with the people and allays their fears.

 

The Author: Abu M Kamara is a Minister Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Liberia in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He can be reached through: abukamara144@gmail.com


 

Gbehzohngar  Milton Findley
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Deputies
Key Documents
Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery