Fellow Liberians what has Liberia achieve and where is it headed beyond the next two years of the current administration?
Firstly, let us look at the observations and concerns raised by the UN Special Representative to Liberia, Madam Karin Landgren. According to her, she emphatically emphasized the need for implementing the TRC recommendations highlighting its importance for achieving justice, social and political rehabilitation of Liberia. She perceived the TRC Report as a strategic Roadmap for national healing and the Agenda for Transformation.
Unfortunately, these reports continued to be ignored. She also critiques the poor and control judicial system in Liberia as the cardinal motive for the resignations of Minister Christiana Tah. High cases of rape and domestic violence, youth empowerment and job creation a myriad, as well as the provision of basic necessities such as electricity, safe drinking water, transportation, education and health still remain dis-functional.
With barely two years of President Sirleaf’s tenure left, we are asking ourselves, what are the tangible achievements that the three branches of government can actually claim as concrete gains for the greatest happiness of the down trodden people and nation? This regime over reliance on international supports for the running of government, the United Nations peace keepers for the protections of lives and properties and the failure to improve our national security is a recipe for pending chaos from now to 2017 and beyond.
What do we then need to have a lasting peace?
The United Nations, in my view, does not guarantee peace to any nation but rather mitigate hostilities. Try to philosophically answer these questions and be the better judge. In 1994 what was the UN Troops doing when Rwanda plunged into blood bath? Who encourage Liberia rebels to loot copper wires from the Hydro and Bong Mining Companies during our civil wars? The UN peace keeping missions is benefiting from African stupidity including Liberia. Why Sierra Leoneans are rapidly moving ahead without fear of another political violence after years of brutal civil war? Did the security sector reform meet its goals?
Are the salaries and opportunities to enlist into the AFL and LNP commensurate with the current economic realities? Why do we still have less than 3,000 men in the AFL? Why police officers refused to take up assignment in rural counties but rather prefer to be at Red-light and Duala in faded uniform and are not pay on time by GoL? Why must civil servants, teachers, doctors and others should demonstrate before government pay attention to them?
Our Honorable men, you too are contributing factor for the fragile peace in Liberia. How? Well, you are the embodiment of the Liberian people; you are their direct representatives to make laws that will better their lives, to advocate in their behalf and to develop your constituents. Regrettably only few of you are patriotic. Oh yes, the many concession agreement like the Orio in Cape Mount, Sami Derby also in Cape Mount, Cesca in Maryland, Mital Steal in Nimba, Golden Veroleum in Sinoe, the selling of Oil Blocks 13, 25, 30, 18 are improving the lives of those locals?
The decent work bill is indeed in the interest of the impoverish masses, Right? From 2005 your salaries and benefits have been sky rocketing from 3000 USD plus 30,000 LD to over 10,000 USD presently. Sierra Leone and Guinean Lawmakers advocated and passed the educational reform Law (Five years of free Education) after the Ebola crisis in their Respective nations. What did you do rather you send your kids abroad to go to school while the Liberian educational system still lies in ruins.
For Christ sake, what can $135 USD do to a police officer who has a family size of five dependents? Is the minimum wage really intended to lift Liberians from the dungeon of poverty? Instead of initiating critical reforms for meaningful changes, we constantly see the chambers of the House of Representatives turned in to a circus. It is based on such critical assessment of our state failure that I concede with Hon. Chambers for the maintenance of UN peace keepers till 2018.
Hon. Chambers I urge you to begin to lobby with your colleagues and work above the CDC and UP divide to pass better laws for security sector reform so that educated young Liberians can be attracted towards joining the police and the army. Remember, UNMIL will not be here forever.
Hon. Chamber, carpe diem (meaning while there is still time), remind your colleagues to remember the protest votes ‘’wind of change’’ that blew last year in the upper House leaving two survivors – Sen. Johnson and Sen. Taylor. Remind your colleagues that the tempest resentment is roving in the sky awaiting 2017 and that protest votes can only be pacify by the Laws you all enact from now to 2017.
Comgito Ergo Sum!
(Jeffery M. Askia is a poet, writer, teacher and the Co-chair of the Nelson Mandela Intellectual Forum in Virginia. His up-coming book, ‘THE DAWN OF JUSTIC’ will be launch in November.)