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CommentaryON 2ND THOUGHT

ON 2ND THOUGHTS: Defining Liberian politics

By Othello B. Garblah

Politics they say is based on interest and shared values. It involves a group of people with the same political ideas and ideals coming together to form a political party. Political parties are essential institutions of democracy.

These ideas and ideals are often referred to as political ideologies- the basis or the fundamental values upon which a particular political party is established or binds its members together as opposed to the others.

Therefore, these ideologies are regarded as political traditions in places like Ghana- those who subscribe to these traditions hold and believe these values are the best ways to govern the people.

The beacon of democracy-the United States of America could easily explain this with its Right-Wing and Left-Wing Politics-Democrats and Republicans.

Individuals within these political institutions hold these ideas and ideals as key and therefore, would practice and live by these very shared ideals.

Furthermore, those who believe in these values queue to sign-up to these institutions and practice-not only that but support these institutions morally and financially because they believe it’s the right way for their country to go.

However, the situation is totally different in Liberia. There are no political ideologies, values, or traditions. In fact, the establishment of political parties clearly proves that.

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Political parties are established based on an individual desire to gain power not because he or she has political ideas and ideals that are better than the ruling party or other opposition political parties. No, it’s all about personal interest at the expense of the people-the masses.

Moreover, a critical analysis of the platforms of all political parties in the country is the same. In fact, these platforms are abandoned during the first 100 days in office.

Thus, the lack of ideologies within the Liberian political system has resulted in parties being built around a single individual-the one with the cash to bankroll the party. Those who sign up for the party do so not because they believe in the single individual and what he has to offer-the vision or ideas he/she must proffer. No, they do so for their personal aggrandizement.

Therefore, if he or she keeps supplying the cash, loyalty from members is assured. At the same time, officials of the party were individuals of their own choosing-Here shows the beginning of the imperial presidency that would rear its ugly head on the national scene as soon as the individual takes power.

Another critical point-since there are no ideas and ideals binding these groups of people together in the party, individual interest would reign supreme.

Therefore, it is frequent to see an individual who has been elected on the ticket of another party jumping ship to another as soon as he or she enters the Legislature as was done few weeks ago by five opposition lawmakers.

Imagine, a lawmaker who has been elected by championing his party policy soon abandons same upon being sworn in. This means that the person has no loyalty to the party or the people that elected him/ her to office.

Now, what happens to the social contract between the party represented by the lawmaker who has just jumped ship and the people who elected him to that office?

The people elected you (lawmaker) and rejected the ruling party candidate because they believe that your party is best suited to provide or advocate for those things they need. But what did you do-you put personal interest above their interest following your ascension?

What happens to the social contract theory? The contract between the lawmaker and the voters of that party? So, what is the justification of the lawmakers who defected to a party the people rejected in the same election?

Thus, it appears that rather than putting the interest of the electorates, lawmakers would seek to put personal interest rather than the interest of the electorates.

And who can you blame, by the way, it’s all about the individual interest and not the people and that is the Liberian politics.

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