Ex-Labor Minister Cllr. TiawanGongole has warned that if Liberian voters were not careful who they elect as President, the country could fall into serious backwardness.
“We strongly believe that when civil society organizations, marketers, and independent institutions start to pledge support to a political party or a candidate then it is unfortunate, because this should not be happening; these are people who should remain neutral in any electoral process, we must stop pledging loyalty to politicians”, Gongloe warns.
He spoke Monday, 17 October on UNMIL Radio’s live program “Coffee Break”. Cllr. Gongloe disclosed that he raised the issue in Conakry, Guinea in 2009 when he honored an invitation that was extended him, saying “We must educate our people in order to avoid reoccurrence of the kind of governance that we are witnessing in this country.”
The Liberian human rights lawyer said Liberians should understand that they must not vote on the basis of receiving bags of rice from any political party or candidate, but vote someone who has the interest, and is willing to work to transform the country, noting for too long Liberia has suffered from the hands of bad governance.
“We should not be belly driven in this country, because even our politicians are belly-driven; there is a need for people to put the interest of Liberia first above every other interest. When this happens, then we can see ourselves moving forward as a country, other than that we will continue to praise other neighboring countries while ours still remains the same.”
Cllr. Gongloe, who formerly served in the cabinet of President Sirleaf, said it is shameful for a country like Liberia to have no foundation for development, saying all of what has happened over the past years in terms of development was done through partnership as the Sirleaf Administration has not built a single school in Paynesville for the past ten years, while pointing to the Freeze Zone – once an industrial hub, which has been abandoned.
Former Associate Justice and ex-chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights Gladys K. Johnson gave similar advice to voters not to sell their votes to anyone in the upcoming elections.
“For too long, we have suffered from the hands of our so-called lawmakers, who we elect on the basis of friendship, and this election must serve as a caveat to others who thinks they can buy our votes by giving things to us only when there is an election”, Justice Johnson noted.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne