Togetherness most often prevails among politicians in Liberia from time-in-memorial prior to, during and immediately after the process of elections, especially at the onset of appointing individuals to positions in government. Such unity has always been characterized by collaborations, consultations and understanding- all aimed at strengthening a merger, coalition or collaborating political institutions. But when the “center can no longer hold”, probably, due to emerging selfish political and economic variables, resulting to competing interests of all sorts, “things fall apart”.
The foregoing may just be in the case of the ruling ‘new’ Unity Party, which could even threaten and disintegrate the political marriage involving the Liberia action party or LAP, Liberia Unification Party or LUP and (old) Unity party entered into before the 2011 general and Presidential elections in Liberia. From all indications, growing dissatisfactions and frustrations among its partisans, including the leadership continue to characterize the political oneness of the ruling Unity Party.
Of late, its National Chairman, Cllr. Varney G. Sherman publicly appeared to be frustrated by how ‘things are in the UP-Administration headed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Chairman Sherman’s concerns range from the failure of the party to defend him in the diplomatic saga involving Danish Journalist Mads Cortzens to a smell campaign to make bleak his hard-earned credibility.
At the expense of thousands of partisans of the UP yearning for local scholarships, he claimed, individuals receiving cash to tarnish his reputation have been rewarded with foreign scholarship opportunities from the party-led government to pursue undergraduate studies abroad.
“The way I understand, politics is like this: politicians need numbers or votes to take state power and if you are successful to win the minds of the citizens through being elected, the next thing is protecting the interest of the people by providing their needs and seriously protecting the interest of the people who made you”, said Cllr. Sherman last Sunday at his residence during a ceremony to welcome him back home from the United States.
Interestingly, the cracks currently rocking the political marriage were even evidenced by the conspicuous absence of 85% of the executives of the party during the Sunday’s ceremony. While we sympathized with Chairman Sherman’s disappointment and frustrations over the ‘way things are going’, we beg to disagree with him on grounds that those being awarded local or foreign scholarships are also genuine Liberians who should one way or the other benefit from the resources of the country.
As National Chairman, with a strong and loyal Secretary General, it was incumbent on Cllr, Varney G. Sherman to have ensured both local and foreign scholarship programs (if at all he didn’t at all) for his partisans since 2006, utilizing the party’s might as the ruling establishment of the day, as was done by those who led the former ruling National Democratic |Party of Liberia and National Patriotic Party.
The National Chairman must be fully cognizant of the fact that despite its emergence from the ‘new’ Unity Party, it doesn’t go to suggest that all must only be for partisans of the UP, but all Liberians regardless of status, creed or whatsoever. It was not only his partisans that elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as President, but all who also admired and sympathized with her quest for the country’s leadership.
Except for the issue scholarships, Cllr. Sherman’s concerns about the ‘way things are being done in the government, may be very genuine, and need to be quickly addressed to avert any anticipated disintegration of the current political marriage. He and other executives of the UP must be firmed enough to frankly discuss with the party’s political leader, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf issues that are currently hindering the togetherness, progress and survival of their party.
But to suggest that it must be only partisans of the ‘new’ Unity Party to benefit from local and international scholarships, as if they were the only Liberians, it is unfair, unrealistic and not befitting of a senior “jogger-knot” politician as Cllr. Varney G. Sherman”.