As one of the readers of the New Dawn Newspaper, I appreciate various articles featured under the Column:” Following The Issues”. In this respect, the article captioned: “The Fate of The Unity Party in 2017″,published in the Monday, February 6,2012 edition, Vol. 3,No.23 Page 14,is one by which I am moved to respond with humility and simplicity.
Fully aware of the responsibility associated with the ‘Freedom of Expression’, the views herein expressed are neither those of my constituency Sarbo Sweaken, River Gee County, South-eastern Liberia, fellow Liberians nor the Toe Family that I owe so much to and cherish. So, anyone taking an interest herein may kindly reach me through the above-mentioned contacts (cell and e-mail).
To start, the past political establishments referred to, namely the True Wig Party(TWP),National Democratic Party of Liberia(NDPL) and National Patriotic Party(NPP) comprised supposedly responsible individuals that performed their respective roles(in combined party affairs and administration of government), as the case is with the Unity Party. It becomes difficult (if not at all incorrect)to accept that such entities evolved around their focal persons, whose absence caused their natural death. An attempt to entertain such assertion sanctions an insinuation that all such persons in positions of trust were spoon-fed and found lacking in the spine for institutional development and viability.
There is no intent delving into the causes of regime change(which the issue is not).How, notes from my personal diary enable me to state that ruling parties often have overwhelming challenges related to institutional development and growth, with roots in lip-service and lack of stewardship. For a collective resolve is required, as opposed to relying on a single person (focal person),in working to uphold those tenets that would guarantee viability through necessary reforms.
In Africa, few exceptions are known that include the African National Congress(ANC) in South Africa and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Mozambique(FRELIMO) in Mozambique. Whereas, in Europe and America, the Labor, Conservative, Republican and Democratic Parties are all fine models. Unlike those, the parties referred to in Liberia in “ruling context”, have not proven independent of the national government, with the implication of a heavy reliance on the state resources in their governance quest.
There are no known laws as to what becomes of a party after exiting state-power.
After more than one and half centuries of existence, the body-politic appeared alienated to genuine democratic ideals and culture. Furthermore, they-the parties-reclined into mere opposition characterized by hatred, antagonism, power-bickering, split and defections. In addition, they-the parties- fell-short of consolidating values of constructive alliances, merges, coalitions or associations to advance national interests. Superseded largely by personal drives, their inability to adequately exert themselves over the years stagnated their capacities to building positive legacies through initiatives capable of addressing national gaps and challenges.
Notwithstanding, the True Wig Party (TWP), National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) and National Patriotic Party (NPP) are differed, one from another. And it is that difference (be it in structure, manifesto, policy or philosophy) that enables an understanding of each party and by which it thrives the way it does in changing political contexts and circumstances. This not to the extent of dying a natural death as they may seem.
During elections, a given political party has the sole prerogative and can make a determination of fielding a presidential candidate, based mainly on its level of preparedness. For our own situation with multiplicity of political parties (as some may understand democracy),it, in a way, served a greater good when presidential candidates were not fielded in the 2011 elections by some so as to reduce the high likelihood of confusing the voters with similar agendas or platforms.
In the same vein, it must be stated for the record that the National Patriotic Party (NPP), amongst others, performed splendidly in the 2011 legislative elections because of its cohesiveness. It, unfortunately, was re-visited by its past and missed a golden opportunity during the Senate Pro Tempore elections for the 53rd legislature. That ‘opportunity’ missed becomes its early warning sign for 2017.
For now, the Unity Party (UP) is not included among the three, since its “footprints” are still on the “sands of time”. But, it does not seem to be afar, in view of the 2011 elections. The party and state-resources could not be differentiated, and the party stalwarts/elements in positions of trust appeared wealthier than the state, when those stalwarts/elements cannot do without those positions being occupied. Here, the scenario may be similar, in some ways, to the True Wig Party, National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) and National Patriotic Party (NPP).
Granted that the Unity Party(UP),today, receives huge(and perhaps an unquantifiable)international support, there is an equally huge international scramble for Liberia’s raw materials(e.g. ore, timbers, rubber, gold, diamond, oil, etc) in the face of numerous drawbacks. For instance, most people live on less than US$1.00 /day, several citizens were forced out of jobs under “pension schemes” with peanuts to accommodate relatives, friends and cronies, the past 6 years witnessed massive corruption in government, rehabilitation/construction of roads into many parts of the country remains a “good dream”, feeble excuses(sometimes with invectives) given by individuals in defense of the regime as indicated by the introduction of “gutter-politics”, some persons “appointed” to electable positions have been at constant loggerhead and operated contrarily to the organic laws, the doctrine of the separation of powers in government is nearly mute, indicated by the re-nomination of a person by the Executive for a position several times after rejection by the Senate and other forms of interferences.
Strangely, as if the foregone were not enough for the Unity Party (UP),is a glaring contradiction-its post-elections policies of reconciliation and inclusion, without trust, are discriminatory and divisive in reality. Political party representatives and qualified citizens from all political sub-divisions of the country are yet to be appointed in the new administration, against the backdrop of mounting citizens’ uproar on various claims. In all fairness, the TWP, NDPL and NPP did not go such route, why the party of Africa First Female President and Nobel Laureate?
By running solo an administration of government, especially after bitter post-election experience in succession, the Unity Party seems to miss, yet, another golden opportunity. While the President may have all the constitutional powers to appoint or not to, the political mosaic of Liberia is quite sensitive to policies that may smell exclusion or division. Also, it recognizes the relevance of all which fundamentally means peaceful co-existence and the right to life and liberty. When policies crafted fall-short of serving the common good of all, they inevitably bore and breed the effects of disenchantment.
In advance of 2017, the Unity Party (UP) stands at the cross-roads. And the other political parties must watch, particularly parties which ranks are gradually being infiltrated by failed elements/millionaires that could not be sold to the Liberian People in 2011.
For the Third Term, as someone suggested, it was that person’s view, which the constitution guarantees. Maybe the international community could facilitate as usual.