Special: Reject Calls for a Gov’t of inclusion: Liberians Must Say No to School-yard Bullies!
For months Liberians have largely discussed nothing but the just ended electoral process. Whether it is while riding on public transportation, at work places, on street corners, on Facebook, or at home, the major topic of discussion, in one form or another, has been the elections.
During the first few months of this year the discussion centered on the August referendum, which sought to amend four provisions of the Liberian Constitution. All four propositions failed at the ballot box, but one got strangely passed into law by the Supreme Court!
While the referendum debate was ongoing, the electoral temperature was also being raised. If it wasn’t a presidential candidate being accused of contracting the service of a lady for sex, it was claims from one of the parties that they had more partisans than the country’s population!
Then there were the debates about the electoral slogan and campaign song of the Unity Party. Some said the party’s use of monkey for itself and baboon for the opposition was insulting. Others had problems with the song “Pressure” being used as a campaign theme song because it agitated the opposition. Interestingly that song had been played in Liberia as early as late 2010. At the time it didn’t cause agitation for anyone!
After the referendum defeat, there was also a legal challenge to stop some of the candidates from getting on the ballot. That attempt, which was launched by some Liberians based in the United States, was effectively quashed by a Supreme Court ruling. The court, while agreeing with the rationale of the claimants, decided that the implementation of the 10-year residency provision, as contained in the constitution, would apply only at the next presidential elections.
No Appeasement for Bullies
Election Day came and 16 people, including the incumbent were presented to the Liberian people to choose as president for the next six years. About a thousand others were also put forward for about a hundred legislative seats in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Following the long months of campaigning, Liberians, like in 2005, 1997, and 1985 got in long queues early in the morning of elections day to vote. Following this big show of patriotism, a few of the parties that participated in the process decided to call it into question, though they have consistently failed to show a modicum of evidence that validates their claim of fraud.
In spite of this, there are now calls by these same people and others to reward them by having a government of inclusion. People making this call provide the flimsy excuse of unity and healing the wounds of the electoral process!
Do such claims make any sense? Definitely not! Every electoral process is bound to result in people emerging from it with bruised egos and torn wallets. But are those tangible reasons for appointing such people to high level government jobs?
This situation even becomes very alarming, when considered in the context of using jobs as an appeasement so that the CDC doesn’t resort to violence. Liberians were of the view that gone were the days when the country had forced on it governments made up of people who don’t merit the appointments but got positions because of their loyalty to some warring faction, political party or “interest group”.
Most Liberians had in recent years come to be of the view that the last time such a government was formed was the one that came out of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord with the birthing of the Gyude Bryant led interim government in 2003.
Haven’t gone through numerous failed transitional/power sharing arrangements throughout the civil war years, it is sad to note that people are once more bouncing around such inane ideas! For the country to be once more standing on the threshold of being bullied into giving jobs on the basis of appeasement is just unimaginable after six years of an elected government.
President’s Legacy on the Very of Being Tarnished
The current president has always being known as a strong willed person who isn’t easily bullied, but if news that have been swirling around of late is anything to go by, she might have become softened to the extent of allowing herself to be bullied by an old man that doesn’t even have his own political following.
No Liberian is against other Liberians being offered the opportunity to serve their country, but if anyone is to be accommodated in any democratically elected government, that person must be given that appoint on the basis of merit. On the other hand, no one, regardless of how many degrees he has from London School of Economics, Cambridge, Harvard, etc should be accommodated into government when that person behaves like a common school yard bully and threatens the peace with unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud!
Such individual, instead of being given government appointment should be given a jail cell! Instead of being given a government appointment, he should be the scorn of society! He should be shunned by everyone in and outside the country!
Failure to treat such persons with disdain only emboldens them and in the long run sends the wrong signal to everyone in the country. People would start thinking that when they participate in an election in Liberia, they should reject the result when they lose and they should threaten the peace and resort to terror. That way everyone will bend over backwards to find them a cozy cabinet position to recoup your electoral losses and massage their bruised egos!
Stern Pre-condition to any Accommodation
If madam president has to accommodate anyone from the CDC, especially from the Weah/Tubman axis, into her in coming government, she must demand that they make a public apology to the Liberian people for the mayhem they have attempted to cause in the country as a result of their rejection of the elections result.
Failure to demand this, the president will be losing authority and is bound to appear like a weakling to many people. She would even lose the high degree of respect a lot of her admirers have for her!
As indicated in a previous article, it isn’t anyone’s birth right to be a minister in a government which comes out of policies/platforms which the person doesn’t believe in.
If the CDC and its allies felt so strongly about being in government in the absence of their party winning the elections, they should have merged with the party they felt was most likely going to win.
They cannot participate in the process and lose and then demand that they must have a share of jobs! Presumably, there are over two dozen political parties in Liberia because all of them are ideologically different from each other. So if this premise is right, no political party should be clamoring for jobs in a government formed by another party!
This then brings about the issue of motive for wanting the government positions in the first place. Is it to have access to money in an unscrupulous way? Is it to rip-off the state coffers? It is strange that the same people, who have consistently charged the current group in power of being corrupt, are the same ones now prepared to employed extreme measures and threaten violence just to get into the system they have so long lambasted as corrupt!
Madam President, the Liberian people are watching you to see whether you would give in to these school yard bullies! If you fail to call their bluff, you stand to lose far more than just making job concessions to them.
Madam President, you have the law, the Liberian people, and the international community behind you on this. You don’t have to please people who have consistently shown that they are greedy! Crucially, you’re not seeking another term of office to make political decisions!
Do what is right and don’t allow yourself to be intimidated into accommodating/rewarding bad behavior!
LamiiKpargoi is on a State Department sponsored Community Solutions Program (CSP) fellowship in the United States. CSP is run by IREX USA. He currently covers the mayoral elections and public transportation in San Diego, California for Voice of San Diego (voiceofsandiego.org). Mr. Kpargoi is the author of numerous political commentaries. He’s never shy of making his views known on serious issues. He’s also a licensed attorney-at-law in Liberia. Lamii.Kpargoi@voiceofsandiego.org or email@example.com.