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Tiawan Saye Gongloe: The President Liberia needs

By S.Karweaye

The Presidential candidate of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP), Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe declared himself the most qualified person to rule Liberia, saying he has what it takes to move the country in the right direction and transform it.  He made the declaration in Grand Bassa County where he went to celebrate the holiday festivities with rural communities while expressing optimism about being elected president of Liberia in the 2023 election.

Liberia deserves a patriotic and selfless leader at this critical juncture of her chequered history. The nation needs a man whose public actions, utterances, and opinions of the running government are deeply rooted in rule of law, honesty accountability, and transparency. Liberia needs a transformative leader, who will drive an all-inclusive pluralist democratic process in transforming the country for the betterment of all its citizens. A man full of wisdom and understanding of the diversity of the nation and its associated political, cultural, regional, and religious dynamics. One with the desired temperament; who has held the reins of power in public service and emerged incorruptible.

Tiawan Saye Gongloe, a former minister of labor, and solicitor general of the Republic of Liberia fits into this narrative. He is a prominent human rights lawyer par excellence, and was the president of the Liberia National Bar Association, before venturing into the foray of presidential politics in Liberia. Those who are familiar with the terrain of Liberian politics could testify to the fact that it takes the ingenuity of a man like Gongloe to want to be president in order to bring sanity to politics in Liberia.  Political hawks had invaded the political spaces and held almost everyone hostage. Liberia is in the news for the wrong reasons and is notorious for electoral brigandage and is under a siege created by some political stalwarts and shylocks, who see Liberia as their personal or family estate.

However, Tiawan Saye Gongloe, who is flying the flag of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) is determined to navigate through the murky waters of Liberia politics with a unique brand of people-oriented politics to emerge victorious in 2023. Gongloe, who puts the needs of people before himself, is currently visiting and greeting residents of ‘Gbehnzon door to door while the other contenders for the Presidency are celebrating the holiday season with their families. In 2021,  he spent Christmas in Grand Gedeh. Nobody believed or saw it coming of Cllr. Gongloe entering presidential politics, but his entrance into presidential politics is a breath of fresh air.  He does not fit into the definition of who some people expect to win because he is a poor man lawyer. When one talks of political moneybags in Liberia, he comes a distant last. However, People are starting to believe in his philosophy of  “A better Liberia is possible.”

From 2006-2010, Tiawan Gongloe changed the face of governance as solicitor general and as minister of labor. The central theme of those positions he occupied was anchored on honesty,  accountability, and transparency. While in Grand Bassa County, Gongloe promised to tackle waste in government by championing frugality in the management of Liberia’s finances. We are all aware that the running cost of servicing the comfort and conveniences of those big shots in government eats far deep into the budget than appropriation for infrastructure and capital projects. This has affected visible development in security, health, human capital development, education, water, roads, electricity, and others. Gongloe told rural communities in Owensgrove, Little Bassa,  Compound #1,  Ben Logan Town, Moryou (new hometown of Cllr. Gongloe), Samuel Brown Town, King Farm,  Edina, Sand Town,  Kru Town, Waka Town, and  Compound #2 in Grand Bassa County overhauling the huge and unsustainable costs of governance in Liberia.

What stands Tiawan Gongloe over and above his political contemporaries, one may ask? Firstly, in the public offices he held, he discouraged corruption and personal enrichment in official high places. The idea of looking at government as a place for quick accumulation of primitive wealth and deployment of government resources to service mundane avarice of families, friends, and associates will be dismantled when Gongloe is elected president of Liberia.

Second, wastages in government spending will be deliberately plugged and money for infrastructural development for the people of Liberia will be saved. Typical examples were the numerous positions Gongloe held in government. When he traveled abroad to represent the government he often brought back his remaining per diem after his mission abroad was accomplished early.  He did the same as the President of the Liberia National Bar Association.

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Third, Gongloe contends that Liberians as a whole have failed to demand decent government, work for it, and make the necessary difficult decisions and sacrifices, which is the primary cause of Liberia’s underdevelopment. The country’s economic and social progress is being hampered because corruption has become so ingrained in Liberia that the country now faces a threat to its security. Through the misappropriation of public funds, irregular payments, unlawful spending, employee fraud, and bribery, Liberia’s citizens are denied access to essential services including inexpensive healthcare, employment, and education for the young people of the nation, among others.

Speaking to rural communities in Grand Bassa County, Gongloe proposed quarterly Lifestyle Audits for public employees when he is elected president. Lifestyle Audits involve an intensive probe into their lifestyles in order to detect sudden and suspicious affluence that may suggest fraud. He wants salaries, and benefits of the President and all officials in the three branches of government to be published, and that any official that interferes with the functions of the police or any law enforcement officer shall, upon summary fact-finding, be immediately dismissed. Gongloe argued that the chronic deficit of leadership characterized by greed, a thirst for illicit wealth, and self-interest, as opposed to the welfare of the nation, is a significant factor in the current state of Liberia.

Fourth,  Gongloe is an economist and taught economics for over eight years at the University of Liberia, so he understands that moving the country from a plantation economy model to a more industrial or manufacturing economy model is the best approach for genuine growth and development in Liberia.  He told the gathering in Grand Bassa county that his economic plans include creating an enabling environment where local and international companies established their presence in Liberia.  He has promised to ensure that the nation’s resources are used to bring out the best in the citizens and prepare a great future for them.

Fourth, quality education is a top priority of Gongloe’s transformation agenda. Gongloe is currently the assistant professor of law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University, where he lectures human right law and criminal and criminal procedure law and volunteer his time at the Supreme Court’s James A.A Pierre Judicial Institute and the Liberia Police Academy lectures on lectures on constitution laws, evidence, criminal procedure, and human right laws.  Gongloe  argues “education is a right not a privilege for every child.” Education is also a right that every citizen is entitled to under the universal declaration of human rights.  According to Gongloe, Article 6 of the constitution provides, “The Republic shall, because of the vital role assigned to the individual citizen under this Constitution for the social, economic, and political well-being of Liberia, provide equal access to educational opportunities and facilities for all citizens to the extent of available resources. Emphasis shall be placed on the mass education of the Liberian people and the elimination of illiteracy.” With this, he believes the government must provide school buildings to accommodate all the children of Liberia to have access to education because their parent’s lack of money should not stop any Liberian child from going to school. Gongloe’s plan includes scrapping tuition for public schools (from kindergarten to 12 grade), paying teachers livable wages as well as building new schools and rehabilitating existing ones for a conducive learning environment.

Liberia is not in short supply of political leaders. What we lack are patriotic leaders and inclusive institutions to drive leadership processes and developmental agendas. The nation, unfortunately, is wrongly blessed with leaders deliberately promoting extractive institutions to suit their whims and caprices.  The missing link is choosing those aspiring to political offices from the prism of objectivity and track records. Have we not paid enough price for our primordial and ethnic tendencies towards electing leaders? The total absence of political leadership exhibited by President Weah from 2018 till date and the general consequences of the lax on citizens should be avoided. Given the opportunity as president of Liberia, Tiawan Gongloe will replicate his performances in the public and private sectors and do much more. Every election year, those who have nothing tangible to offer our elected leaders. Consequently, people are subjected to all forms of hardship as a result of a lack of a good leadership compass. In the end, citizens are left to pay dearly for the choices they made.

Gongloe’s clear understanding of the ugly state of the nation, what leadership is, the shape and structure government should take at this crisis stage and appropriate recommendations for a whole range of national issues are inspiring. His public support for fighting the government and the general overhaul of the current governance structures is timely. It suits the kind of politics that will bring succor to citizens and Liberia out of the woods. 

Come 2023, aspirants have to give citizens ideas of what their intentions are. It is not good enough to only say vote for me for the future of your children. Or help me to achieve my lifelong ambition. Show us in concrete terms what drives your aspiration to lead. The bitter menu served to Liberia by  Tiawan Saye Gongloe is enough reason to vote for that man, who sees fighting corruption and promoting the rules of law as priorities and a way of service to the country and humanity. Some of the old guards and crops of recycled leaders have fooled us for too long and do not have a place again in our political history. Affliction shall not arise the second time. Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe is the president Liberia needs.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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