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Editorial: Repeating the Errors of the Past

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Liberian government and politics have always been characterized by vices which instigate disunity and agitations. Even though such a divisive system of governance has existed since the inception of the Liberian nation,  ordinary Liberians, including marketers and students were initially in the mid-seventies and eighties  made  by so-called opposition politicians and ‘progressives’ to believed that the Tolbert Regime promoted nepotism and partisanship. While they may have been on course in certain instances, they also fell short to acknowledge the fact that President William Richard Tolbert equally continued Tubman’s Reintegration and Unification policies at all levels.

In furtherance of such continuity, President Tolbert incorporated many so-called native Liberians into the governance system of the country, as well as providing opportunities to several of them to study abroad in various disciplines so as to return for major roles in the progress of the country. Similar and very negative criticisms were made against his successors by many of the architects, officials and decision-makers of the current Liberian administration.

Delving into our country’s current governance system with emphasis on how appointments are made by President Sirleaf, one does not have to go through astronomical research to conclude that the nepotism and partisanship practiced in previous Liberian administrations in the absence of ‘modernity’ were considerably free of sentiments and vindictiveness.

Perusing the list and trends of appointments of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the realization is that relatives, friends and close associates of the President, as well as those of most of her cabinet ministers are in dominance despite the fact that many of the appointees may have no ideas of the offices appointed to or be inexperienced. Even if the issue of nepotism and partisanship is something to consider as the hall-mark of her decision to appoint, it must be characterized not only by academic degrees, but also experience and maturity.

Interestingly, many of the so-called progressives who once claimed to have  been working in the cause of the people in the seventies and eighties and were now decision-makers, consultants, international diplomats, etc., etc in the current administration, have become advisors and praise-singers for the promotion of nepotism and partisanship in our country’s governance system.

Our fear is the rifts and animosities that are now finding their way into the various government institutions as a result of the manner and form in which appointments are made in the government, as well as the reprisals that may follow Ma Ellen’s six years of governance which could be counter-productive to our existence as a people in the future.

While some in the present governance arrangement may consider this editorial as an offense/affront in whatever way they think, it must be understood that this is a sincere effort on our part to alert President Sirleaf so as to avert whatever political crisis that may ensue following her departure from the Liberian Presidency in the future. Administrative decisions/actions by the President must incorporate true inclusiveness based on meritoral principles, other than the current nepotistic trend.

As a way of eliminating the fears, bite-biting/gossips and undermining (all attributes of nepotism and partisanship) which may have characterized her past term, especially among close associates of hers, the President must begin to expose perpetrators of these vices not in public, but in cabinet, community, county and other forums as was done by the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. during his administration.

If these negative attributes of governance must continue to take precedence in influencing the decision-making ability of the president as we have had over the past years, the issue of national reconciliation and unity would be far from achievable.

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