Liberia’s 170th Independence Day Orator Dr. Hermon B. Browne has hailed the decision by Justices of the Supreme Court to reverse the disbarment of opposition Liberty Party vice standard bearer Harrison Karnwea and Alternative National Congress Jeremiah Solunteh.
He says the controversial Code of Conduct does not call for the disbarment of any candidate, and as such the court was right in its decision. Authorities at the National Election Commission rejected Mr. Karnwea and Solunteh’s vice presidential bids on grounds that they were in violation of the Code of Conduct which instructs all presidential appointees to resign their posts two years ahead of elections if they have desires to contest in such elections
The court in specific reference to Mr. Karnwea said it reversed the NEC’s decision on grounds that his “violation of the Code was not egregious in nature The 170th Independence Day Orator comments come amid criticisms of the superior court’s ruling by some lawyers and citizens who think that the Justices opinion had opened the flood gate for would be violators.
Meanwhile, Dr. Browne also slammed politicians here who are engaging in tribal politics, while also pushing for integrity and fairness. He warned politicians here to disengage in ethnicizing support base to gain leverage over opponents and win electorates’ support.
He described such campaign method short – sighted tactics that undermines the unity of the people. “My fellow citizens, this rhetoric by politicians of ethnicizing your support base in order to gain your support and leverage over their opponents is a well-known short – sighted tactics that undermines our unity as a people”, Dr. Browne cautioned politicians here when he delivered this year’s 26 July Independence Day oration at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.
He told his audience that he doesn’t vote for a candidate on grounds that such candidate is his father’s kins (or family), or from his mother’s clan, saying because he knows many of his father’s kins that are [highly] dishonest.
“Some irresponsible and others incompetent. I know many from my mother’s clan who are disloyal; some inexperience and some show no regard to principles of transparency and accountability”, he adds.
He said a candidate’s ethnic connection to him lays no greater claim for his support over another candidate with no ethnic affiliation. But a candidate who possesses the ethical standards, competence and commitment to public service, earn such support.
Dr. Browne noted that far too often, Liberians have allowed personal interests to supersede the common interest or goal of keeping the country united during elections. The 170th Independence Day Orator said such interest (personal) does not further the country’s cause for the nation’s search for a united, peaceful and reconciled people, adding “this must stop”.
Dr. Browne, however, told supporters of the numerous presidential candidates from about 26 registered political parties here, saying instead of asking their candidates what they intend to do when they win the October elections, they (supporters) should rather ask their candidates what they intend to do when they fail.
“Should the hope that one will be part of the victorious five percent preclude a discussion of what the defeated 95 percent plans for this country?” he asked.
He also stressed the important role of the media in properly informing and educating the public, but says it’s deeply concerning how except for a few printed media here, “we” are entirely tabloid with ill-informed assumption far too often forming the basis for public discussions.
He argues that one cannot go around the country and yet insists that “nothing has changed and mean it”, and then expect to be taken seriously by thinking people. Dr. Browne suggests the need for people to have respect for the truth in public space, arguing that while they may gossip and misinform in private, they have greater responsibility in public discourse.
In terms of what Liberia must do to embrace a future and enjoy the dividends yield from the years of peace, he says adults too must return to basic values of self – respect, respect women and constituted authority if the basic values that are expected to be seen in children must be taught and preached.
He calls for fairness in dealings with others by particularly upholding integrity when no one is looking, and see duty as a self – imposed obligation to serve the common good.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah