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Opinion

Fundamentals of Democracy -The Political Crossroad of Liberia

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Observing the political discourse of our beloved nation and motherland is encouraging, albeit, sometimes very discouraging. This nation has been independent for the last 164 years and has not much to show in terms of physical and social infrastructure, and most importantly, the lack thereof of the pillars of democratic structural institutions.

In recent years, politicians have come to this nation feeding on the high illiteracy rate of the population and the fact that Liberia is emerging from a protracted civil war, to exploit the nation for power and personal gain, in the name of sustainable development.

This administration was voted into office because the Liberians for the most part thought they were going to level the playing field for all, build sustainable infrastructure and fight corruption. Indeed, we are to credit this administration with what it has accomplished. What should be expected from any administration to ever govern, especially, giving where we just emerged? Anything Less? The negotiations to waive our debt lure multinational corporations and the cosmetic improvements.

What are lacking are the fundamentals in making democracy sustainable and functional and an articulated vision for the republic. Transparency, accountability and responsibility are non-existent within this administration. Corruption has inebriated officials and is the order of the day. There is no effort to control corruption. Government officials who are alleged of corrupt activities are just recycled into more lucrative positions. No one is ever held responsible for their shenanigans of public malfeasance.

There is no transparency when it comes to account for government funds. In this modern age, there is no documentation available online to articulate the salaries and perks of government official, including the president. Now, they will tell you it’s at the National Archives. There is no public accounting for the trips of the president or any government official. Everything is so secretive. Why?

This administration loves to boast that they have brought international companies to Liberia. The question is how many Liberians are in middle to senior management, alas, common laborers. How many are currently employed? What is this government doing to train Liberians for all aspect of the employment hierarchy instead of allowing foreigners to be employed by these companies. Rather than usurping the authority of local communities to clean beaches, agencies need to provide better skilled training so that the citizenry can have better paying jobs and not just election gimmicks.

The opposition in all this should all come up with their vision of Liberia. How are they going to address the fundamental problems of Liberia that goes well beyond just physical infrastructure. We can provide all the jobs and build Liberia into the most modern metropolis, but if the fundamentals of democracy and a sustainable society are absent, all will be lost and for naught.

Every Liberian who meets the constitutional requirement to run for office should have that opportunity, however, it is time Liberians be honest with themselves as to what they are qualify for. The office of the Presidency is not the only office in the republic. Well learned individuals are needed in the Legislature to counter balance the Executive.

In a democracy elected officials must be held accountable through the ballot for their actions. Change is good, especially when the incumbent is as dirty as other politicians that they have criticized in their past. There, the opposition needs to state in the simplest of terms what they can do better .

Liberia is at a crossroad. The fundamentals of good governance are demanded in this republic, as in the lack thereof, we are headed down the same perilous path from when we have just emerged. The last six years have made this path even more precarious, albeit with some cosmetic achievements.

Are Liberians so gullible that we can accept mediocrity for great accomplishments, just because we are coming out of a war, instigated by some of the very same politicians? Is the bar for good governance that low, that we accept corruption to be the order of the day? Are we to expect our President not to fight for and on behalf of nation?

Let us enjoy civil discourse and don’t personalize. Let us enjoy democracy, since freedom of speech, expression; movement and association are not given to us by any one individual or President, but by our constitution.  The constitution has endowed Liberians with fundamental inalienable rights that must be respected by all who govern.

May we choose the right person and party to lead us for the next six years. Even if Liberians want to choose a dog catcher, let us always hold that person and party, accountable and make them transparent in all their doings.

May God Bless Liberia!

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