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Reestablishing Democratic Tenets: The Case for the Direct Election of City Mayors in Liberia

By: Austin S. Fallah: A Progressive Nationalist and Student of Public Policy:

Democracy is a form of government renowned for its respect for every individual’s voice.

It places power in the collective hands of the citizens and encourages active participation from all quarters of society.

Broadly epitomized by the legislature and presidencies, the democratic government structure is emblematic of ideals that fortify the popular will of the people.

Liberia, like many other nations that pride themselves on democratic values, has evolved with this principle at the core of its system.

However, it is about time we go back to the fundamental tenets of democracy when addressing our City Mayor selection process.

Alongside the Presidency and the Legislature, City Mayors play a critically influential role in Liberia’s administrative landscape.

Nevertheless, the current method of their selection, which leans heavily on political appointments, is somewhat incongruous with the democratic ideals we so dearly uphold.

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To further democratize our system, the election of City Mayors should no longer be a political appointment.

Instead, it must be a decision derived from the collective and direct participation of the very people in whose interests City Mayors operate.

One might argue that political appointments ensure governance by capable individuals who possess the required expertise.

However, these appointments often fail to fulfill the popular will of the citizens, as they lack the citizens’ collective endorsement and don’t necessarily reflect their preferences.

Allowing the Liberian people to directly elect their City Mayors, reinforces the essence of Liberia’s democracy.

Liberians give the power not just to those appointed by politicians, but to the very people who live, work, and dream within these cities.

My opinion is anchored in the belief that the visions, popularity, and capabilities of prospective City Mayors must be tested with similar rigor as those of our Legislators, President, and Vice President.

This entails an electoral process involving the masses, whose lives and livelihoods these City Mayors have the pledge to uplift.

The Mayors’ allegiance needs to be primarily towards the citizenry they serve, not the political machinery, and direct elections serve as a promising mechanism to ensure this.

Moreover, direct elections can serve as a pathway toward city modernization.

City Mayors play a critical role in the development and modernization of cities.

Through their leadership, they have the potential to catalyze significant strides in urban infrastructure, digital inclusion, public amenities, and numerous other areas that directly impact the citizens’ quality of life.

However, for such changes to occur, Liberia’s City Mayors need to be fully embedded within the local context, understand its challenges, address its concerns, and visualize its potential.

A City Mayor chosen by the citizens from among themselves inherently has a better comprehension of the city’s pulse and, as such, becomes a more effective agent for modernization.

Liberia’s democratic foundation can be bolstered by advocating for the direct election of City Mayors.

It is not merely a question of decentralizing authority but rather empowering the citizens through their solidified participation in governance.

It emphasizes that the essence of democracy lies in the trust and voice of the populace, which should ultimately chart their nation’s trajectory.

It is time the nation Liberia goes back to the fundamental tenets of democracy, wrests the power from the political elite, and hands it over to the deserving citizens in electing their City Mayors, thus embedding the true principles of democracy within Liberia’s administrative structure.

Let the potential candidates be tested by the masses, it is by their will that people shall uplift the modernization of Liberian cities.

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