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Editorial – Encouraging Competition For Sustainable Development and Democracy in Liberia

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The next General and Presidential Elections in Liberia are scheduled for 2011-probably in October or November depending on the outcome of the electoral bill before the National Legislature. For the top jobs in the country– President, Senators and Representatives, there are many, including President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and incumbent Senators and Representatives gearing up with political parties. Characterizing such ongoing political exercises are “cross-carpeting, defections, political pedelumming and bad-mouthing”-all due to either greed for cash or jobs in the current administration.

With such ingredients in the ongoing political ball game, and cognizant of the negative effects of such game on Liberia’s emerging democracy, eye-brows, including ours, are being raised in a number of quarters of the Liberian society. On Wednesday, June 9, we published a front page sub-lead story, attributed to veteran Liberian business man and political activist, Dew Tuan-Wleh Mayson or Dew Mayson, under the caption: “No Viable Opposition” with which we do concur considering the current unfolding political events in our country.

In that publication, Dew Mayson was quoted as acknowledging the strength of the opposition in the House of Representatives, Liberian Senate and elsewhere immediately following the 2005 general and presidential elections, but later noticed a complete decline due to a change in political variables, wherein members of the opposition were lured into the ruling party by jobs or huge cash. Mayson described such political behavior by both the ruling party and opposition members involved as very dangerous for Liberia’s young and emerging democracy. We do indeed share the concern of the veteran politician that if we were to consider the cross-carpeting, appointments and policies of the present regime since its inception, the suspicion would be that Liberia was dissolving into a one-party state again if politicians remain in their little tight corners.

Being very cognizant of the trends and political behaviors of past regimes and the presence of some players of those regimes in the incumbent, the fear of people defecting to the ruling party just for job security and not the party’s ideology may likely lead to  a one-party state, if those left in the opposition do not see the urgent need to rise up to this challenge to amalgamate all of their contemporary political traditions and ideologies to resist the possible re-emergence of such an unwholesome political system in our country by coming up to form formidable oppositions instead of splinter groupings.

It is an open fact, if we may agree with Dew Mayson, that considering the advantages the regime has over the opposition, in terms of resources, it was now time for the presence of a strong, viable and credible opposition to champion the cause of those who believe in multi-party democracy as opposed to those who thrive on the path of “lip-service” democracy. This, we believe, is only achievable if opposition leaders and party executives completely distance themselves from selfishness and other personal achievements to construct a formidable alliance, coalition or merger to engage the 2011 electoral process in the interest of not only their general memberships, but all of those throughout the 43,000 square miles undergoing abject poverty at the moment.

Though we commend ongoing efforts and discussions for political marriages in anticipation of the 2011 general and presidential elections, we equally doubt the sincerity of some of the actors, who may likely sole a seed of discord at the eleven hour. Perhaps, sensing the foregoing as we believe, that’s why Dew Mayson last Monday evening during a dinner at the Palm Hotel in Monrovia, emphasized  the urgent need for opposition leaders and party executives and stalwarts to rise up to the challenge in order to politically and democratically resist the temptation of everybody queue behind the ruling party and thus setting the stage for a return  to a one-party state .

And we do concur with Dew Mayson on this matter. This is only because, we at the New Dawn believe in competitive democracy as the way to political growth and sustainable development in Liberia.

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