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Editorial: The Koon/Nyekan Uncivil Discourse

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Two representative aspirants of the governing Unity Party made a rather irresponsibly disappointing appearance at a live radio talk show Wednesday in Monrovia intended to have provided them an opportunity to tell the electorate why they should elect them to the House of Representatives.

Rather than fulfilling that key expectation Gabriel Nyekan, who reportedly won the UP primary for District #11 and Richard Koon, who was defeated at that primary and is now an independent representative aspirant in the same district, both used the entire show to pull each other down rather than saying clearly, why they want to go in the House.

The two aspirants, who bragged about having masters degrees, took what should have been a very civil exchange below the atta-yie shop level. They used invectives and all kinds of disruptive techniques against each other, totally ignoring the public’s interest to knowing why they should get the votes of the electorate.    Both aspirants should be told in no uncertain terms that public discussions are meant for others to listen, learn and make contributions where necessary, but when such fora are allowed to degenerate into market environments then they lose their significance.

Firstly, both individuals have demonstrated that they lack the maturity to handle state matters or to address issues of public interest by the manner in which they conducted themselves on the live talk show. They should now understand why it is often said that education is not all that matters. Experience and maturity matter most!

Secondly, the aspirants who are vying against incumbent Representative MosesTandanpolie have exposed their inability to debate issues as they unfold rather than rambling in a vicious cycle.  Hon. Tandanpoli may speak in his Liberian penchant English, but he is not for getting his points across, leaving no room for doubt.

We challenge both men to refine themselves before going for any future public debate. The mark of an educated person is to be able to remain intellectually alert and responsive despite attempts to get you sway from the main issues. The two aspirants are yet to demonstrate whether they are able to debate issues brought on the floor in plenary with sometimes provocative responses from the opposing side without totally losing balance or being drafted away by emotions.

The National Legislature is the First Branch of the Liberian Government therefore, it is important that individuals wanting to serve in those sacred offices be of well mature and refine personality not only in terms of academic qualifications, but intellectually astute standing. The performance of Nyekan and Koon really needs much to be desired if they truly want to represent the people of District #11 and to articulate their interest in the House.

We raise these concerns not because we have something personal against both aspirants but to provide an early warning that the 53rd Legislature that they seek to serve in should represent the best that Liberia can ever have in terms of representation both at home and abroad.

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