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Choose better people

-Dr. Togba - Nah Tipoteh urges

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Former Presidential Candidate for the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD) in the 2005 elections, Dr. Toba-Nah Tipoteh has urged Liberians to choose better people to lead the country rather than thinking of removing the government through otherwise.

Dr. Tipoteh who also contested the 2011 elections on the ticket of the Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia (FAPL), as Presidential candidate says removing a government through undemocratic means only worsen the situation.

His comments come as Liberians head to the polls in barely four months to elect 15 senators.

The veteran also made the comments when he paid tributes on Wednesday, 2 September to the late Prof. Dr. Thomas Jaye, Director, Institute of Research and Policy Studies at the University of Liberia (UL).

Dr. Tipoteh, also the founder of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) warns that rebelling against a regime or choosing to remove it from power because of its failure to deliver is not the right path to thread.

“Some people say oh, the government not worth, too many poor people here so let move the government. Move the government, what happens? The situation gets worse,” says Dr. Tipoteh.

Dr. Tipotehnotes that protests the holding of peaceful protests here is “because we have institutionalized the peaceful way of saying two plus two won’t have five, you shall have four.”

Relating this to Dr. Jaye, the veteran Liberian politician explains that the late Dr. Jaye, recognized the importance of choosing leaders through the ballot box and therefore went out there and volunteered to raise awareness.

“And so Dr. Jaye here, realizing that in order for the situation to get better you need to have better people, you choose them through the electoral process, so he went out there and volunteered,” Dr. Tipoteh explains.

Dr. Jaye died here on 31 July at the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville and dozens of friends, academic colleagues from high school days to university level education and others paid tributes to him.

Another issued identified by Dr. Tipoteh is the problem of dishonesty that has plagued the Liberian state. He notes that there is a need to fix it.

He recalls how he gave Dr. Jaye US$5,000 out of money collected to travel to get people to raise awareness, but the deceased surprisingly returned US$3,000, saying he used US$2,000 to do the work.

“Mr. President of the university, why are you having such difficulties today? Because somebody is chopping something that the university supposed to have. Let’s fix that,” he states.

In fixing the problem, Dr. Tipoteh cautions that the way to go is not to abuse the person’s mother, [but to find a workable solution to the problem].

“Now despite the fact that people have been put in jail, people have been killed, deliberately killed, put in jail to stop them from telling the truth, but what has happened? They say truth prevails,” he says.

Dr. Tipoteh is a veteran Liberian politician who in 1973 founded the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA), a leftist pan-African political organization which played a pivotal role in the struggle for social justice and democracy in Liberia in the 1970s.

He served as a Budget Advisor to Liberian President William R. Tolbert, in which position he expressed concerns about government waste and advocated public management reforms.

He was the first Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs (1980-1981) under the regime of Samuel K. Doe which overthrew President Tolbert, but resigned after 15 months in office, citing human rights abuses by the government as his reason for leaving.

In 1983 the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) was formed as the electoral wing of MOJA. In Liberia’s 1997 elections Tipoteh ran as the presidential candidate of the LPP, winning 1.61% of the vote. In the 2005 elections, Tipoteh was the candidate for the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, an alliance of the LPP and another veteran opposition movement, the United People’s Party (UPP), winning 2.3%.

In 2011, he was the candidate of the Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia (FAPL). After being knocked out in the first round, he endorsed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the second round, saying in a statement that his party’s decision followed observation and evaluation of the two parties in the run-off, based on the issue of societal transparency.

By Winston W. Parley–Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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