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CommentaryGeneralLiberia news

Commentary: How to prevent scapegoating

By: Togba-Nah Tipoteh

In the face of the scapegoating of the rice price rise problem, there is a need to show how this problem can be stopped and prevented. The need is pressing because the rice price rise problem has led to the deaths and injuries of many Liberians. This Commentary helps to stop and prevent the scapegoating and its attendant violence.

We just went through April and are at the end of May. Let us remember the April uprising on April 14, 1979, also called the Rice Riot. At least 300 people died, and many more people were injured. This violence has led the people of Liberia to declare: We Want Peace! No More War! Although the forces of the government, led by the Liberian National Police, started shooting and killing people, and this led to fear and its attendant rioting, the government continued to scapegoat by placing the blame on the “Progressives.”

The money-driven nature of the powers that be continues to lead to the importation of rice instead of the production of rice locally. The powers that be should be working on promoting the local production of rice, but they are busy scapegoating, placing the blame for the rice price rise problem on other persons and entities. However, placing the blame on others does not solve the problem, and such blame-shifting leads to scapegoating and violence like the one that took place on April 14, 1979. 

What solves the rice price rise problem is the local ownership, employment, and production of rice, the staple food of Liberia. With such ownership and production of local rice, the importation of rice will come down, and the consumption of local rice will go up because the price of rice will come down, given the increased quantity of local rice supplied. Therefore, the scapegoating does not help but hurts the people of Liberia, especially the vast majority of people who remain poor.

But the people who love Liberia continue to work to move away from scapegoating and move into Truth-Telling by raising awareness of the people. This raising of awareness motivates people to take action within the Rule of Law to transform the prevailing unfair electoral system into an enduring fair electoral system. Only through this transformation can persons with good records get elected to bring in the system of Justice, the indispensable ingredient for Peace and Progress in Liberia and any other country.

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