Co-Founder-Member, National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL)
For a fair, truthful and reasonable answer to this very important question, it is a compelling necessity to reflect on the 2017 political hype-expectations of the “chopping hoopla”, and the recent & recent past political activities of His Excellency, the Ambassador.
The Recent Political Activities
In a recent Article, “Periscope-ing 2017” the year of presidential “Kafu”, I outlined expectations, realities and the activities of some presidential contenders. I observed that the year 2017 promises no surprises, in terms of change, reforms and “transformation”, but “stay-the-course, business-as-usual” approach of lies, deceit, thievery, etc., now evidenced by the recent GW report. Some of the presidential contenders, past and present, have been accused of being, while others are known to be, citizens of foreign countries with families living, permanently, in those foreign countries. Others, who are members of the Legislature, were accused of being foreign citizens, a violation and reminder of Article 30 of the Constitution.
Caught in the grip of these socio-cultural, economic, political and legal realities, the New Dawn newspaper reports (New Dawn, July 8, 2016) that His Excellency, Ambassador Jeremiah Sulonteh “. . . was honored by (a group known as) Friends of Sulonteh (FOS) on July 2, 2016 . . . who is widely being speculated to become Stander Bearer of the opposition People’s Unification Party (PUP) for the 2017 presidential election” and that “the Liberian Envoy (Ambassador Sulonteh) . . . is (simultaneously) a member of President Sirleaf’s governing Unity Party . . .”.
The Recent Past Political Activities
The Honorable Jeremiah Sulonteh was an Executive Member of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL). He campaigned vigorously for and was elected at the convention in 2005 as Vice Standard Bearer and participated in the presidential elections as Vice Presidential Candidate on the Party’s (NDPL’s) ticket. Unfortunately for the Party and Honorable Sulonteh, the Party was defeated, but later, the Honorable Sulonteh was appointed Minister of Transport by the Ruling Party, the Unity Party.
From this position, the Honorable Jeremiah Sulonteh announced, in a press conference, resignation from the NDPL with scathing attack that the “NDPL is dormant” (The Analyst, June 5, 2007).
To the reasoning, not the resignation, I responded, datelined Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, in the following manner:
I held that “. . . Initially, we had decided to let sleeping dogs lie and to ignore his allegations that ‘NDPL is dormant’ – that is, that the ‘. . . party’s inactiveness in the-then, present political dispensation . . . failed to engage government constructively on national issues . . . the party, NDPL, . . . die a natural death right after the elections . . . and that after the presidential elections, all activities of the party collapsed’. But upon careful, political review, we changed our minds.
“Indeed, the Honorable Minister of Transport, serving contentedly in the service of a government of the political party that he opposed, bitterly, at the highest, political party level, hopefully, on basic, fundamental, philosophical/ideological grounds, must answer the crucial questions that arise; that is, what or who is to be blamed for the alleged, prevailing ‘state of affairs’ of the party that he so eloquently described during the press conference?”
“Conventional political thought and practice teach us that formation/organization and efficient/effective management of political parties, with consistent promulgation/application of party philosophy/principles, based upon ‘shared’ or commonality of ‘beliefs’ held by the party organizers, usually and notably, those who, eventually, become principal, party leaders – standard bearers, deputy or vice standard bearers, party chairpersons, secretaries-general, policy theoreticians/advisors, administrators and so on down to party workers/activists.
“For the party ‘rank-and-file’, choice of political party membership is a function of economic reality – the issue of ‘bread & butter’ or the Liberian ‘soup & rice’. To this class of party members, commitment to and/or ‘confrontation/engagement’ with opposition parties and/or ‘checkmating’ ruling parties with respect to ‘national issues’ based upon party philosophical finesse, is an abstract endeavor that is beyond their (rank-and-file members’) comprehension, but the critical responsibility of party leaders, mainly standard bearers, vice standard bearers, party policy theoreticians and related officials.
“In other words (and answer to the question raised by the Honorable Sulonteh above), the ‘buck’ of responsibility begins and stops on the desks of top party leaders, particularly, the standard bearers and vice standard bearers, for engagement/checkmating opposition and ruling parties ‘constructively on national issues’ – the Honorable Sulonteh, himself. The absence of this ‘constructive engagement on national issues, dormant’, and ‘natural death of the NDPL right after the presidential elections’ are due directly to lack of deeply-held, party (NDPL) ‘beliefs by Vice Standard Bearer, Jeremiah Sulonteh, as required by the NDPL Constitution and Bye-Laws.
“In the context of the foregoing allegations/resignation of the former, top NDPL Leader, we wish to note that these actions/events, disappointing and deeply troubling as they are, demonstrate a profoundly disgraceful continuation of ‘traditional’ Liberian political behavior that characterizes the activities of Liberian ‘politicians’, or reasonably, politrick-cians, usually members of losing political parties during elections in which Party leaders/officials who possess no fundamental, commitment/dedication or claims to party principles/beliefs/philosophy ‘cross carpet’ to the winning, ruling parties with bitter condemnation/denouncement of the party of which they were members, simply for positions and economic gain”.
Now, You Be the Judge, Mr. Mrs. Reasonable Liberia:
a) In the of the foregoing analysis and, given the critical challenges – socio-cultural, economic and political – characterized by lies, deceit, dishonesty/corruption and thievery by our so-called “politicians” or “politrick-cians”;
b) The resulting, prevailing national/international image-character of the Liberian nation & people in the comity of nations; and
c) The 2017 hype for “more of the same” – “stay the course”, “business-as-usual” and “you chop, we chop” – you be the judge, given his activities, whether or not, His tandardMember of the Ruling Unity Party, former Transport Minister and now Ambassador of the Unity Party Government, simultaneously campaigning for Standard Bearer of the opposition People’s Unification Party – is a political prostitute.
For us, or me, a lifetime political animal, co-founder/member of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (the “normal time Party”), His Excellency and all of those who, like him – Standard Bearers, Party Chairmen, Secretary-Generals, Party Policy Theoreticians and related party executives who cris-cross party divides, consciously ignoring basic political beliefs in search of greener pastures, translated to money, money and money – are all Political Prostitutes!!
By Bai M. Gbala, Sr.