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“Wakeup Call on Annual Message” – Analyst : Some Thoughts

P e r s p e c t I v e s

Public Policy . Economics . Democratic Politics . Political/Economic Decentralization . Public Dishonesty . Dual Citizenship

Indeed, the newly-elected Senator, the Honorable, B. Commany Wesseh (UP, River Gee County), should and must be commended for the courage, shall we say “guts” or the “political will” to remind his colleagues of the Upper House of our National Legislature, the Law- and Policy-making Body of the Nation, that the cardinal, required rules of logical debate of any proposed issue are comprehensive information/knowledge, pro & con, for rational debate and informed action, and that such information, in terms of relevant, documented information should and must be provided to all members of the Senate .

Indeed, also, it is reasonable that we, the Liberian People, remind ourselves that the Honorable, B. Commany Wesseh, is an old hand in the interplay of give and take, necessary in this most important, naturally-endowed process of human activity – politics. We must recall that The Honorable, a long-time, socio-political critic/activist, is former or was member of the Liberian gathering of prominent personalities or Delegation to the Accra, Ghana Convention that argued and produced the-now famous Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which recommended/provided:

a)The Liberian Transitional Legislative Assembly (TLA) in which the Honorable, B. Commany Wesseh, was a prominent member that brought into political power the present “new breed” of “Political Dispensation”. 

b)The Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the modern roadmap designed for post-conflict democracy, a condition urgently required in our country. That recommendation was enacted into Law by the TLA in which the Honorable B. Commany Wesseh was, also, a prominent member. However, the reports/recommendations by the TRC have been side-lined, disregarded, abandoned and are gathering dust on the shelves in offices of officials of the current, “Political Dispensation”.

c)That until a few months ago, the Honorable, B. Commany Wesseh, was Minister of State without Portfolio in the current “Political Dispensation”.

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d)Regrettably, moreover, some of the “brightest minds” ushered in by “Presidential and Legislative elections . . . in the last eight years of (our) post-conflict situation . . . particularly, in the legislative domain . . .” are dogmatic custodians of the current “Political Dispensation”, characterized by pervasive atmosphere of Conspiracy of Silence within Liberia’s officialdom, and that it is highly likely that the request/Wakeup Call  made to and of the Senate Leadership to make available to all members complete, precise information of the President’s (of Liberia) Legislative Agenda, may fall on deaf ears.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the “Wakeup Call”, by the newly-elected Senator, must be given the benefit of the doubt. For, among the President’s recent requests, as contained in her Legislative Agenda, include favorable consideration of a pending, dual citizenship Bill, reportedly sponsored by several senior Senators, some known to be dual citizens. It will be reasonable and compelling for the President to provide lawful support for the illegal practice of dual citizenship in which many Senators and Representatives are flagrant violators (Article 30 of the Constitution). The Requests include the following, among others:

President’s Request for passage of Dual Citizenship in Liberia. 

The President’s request says “. . . Honorable Legislators, we . . . once again ask your consideration of the Act to permit dual citizenship . . . our citizens who are compelled to seek refuge in other countries to become more active participants in the process of nation building”. That is, that Liberians who are naturalized citizens of foreign countries to return to Liberia as Liberian citizens, simultaneously, a violation of Liberian Law that is currently in force and effect and, therefore, not a valid, legal argument. Granted, however, that laws are made with provision for amendment/repeal in the event of historical change – socio-cultural, economic and political change in life-styles and all other conditions of human history that may affect the basis for making, passing a given law which influence these conditions, creating the necessity for amendment/repeal of the given law.

 But, in the case of Dual Citizenship in Liberia, our laws were made and passed to guard against Political Infidelity – disloyalty to the nation – and public dishonesty (corruption) in government. Also, to promote and encourage self-reliance – research and development, with commitment and dedication, for planning and establishment of production entities, with emphasis on production of goods & services for local and export demand/consumption; and for transport/communications nationwide, etc., etc.

In all of this, the facts of our past, recent past and prevailing activities show painful opposites. Not only of our excessive demand for and dangerous dependence on consumption of imported goods & services, but also that few (less than 3% of the population) illegal dual citizens  constituted, now constitute, the ruling, political class; dominated and controlled, continue to dominate and control, currently, the political economy, politics and government of Liberia; that, almost, all leading personalities in government – heads and deputy heads of all revenue-generating, state-owned enterprises – are illegal dual citizens; that there had been, and is widespread, seemingly, uncontrolled disloyalty; that there had been, and is, also, massive public dishonesty (corruption, “public enemy #1”) in Liberia; that Liberia imports much, much more than it exports; and that the painful results had been, and are, that Liberia imports and  consumes more rice and cooking oil (national staples) than it produces, although there is more land in Liberia than there are people. In this way, the domination and control of Liberia’s political economy by illegal Dual Citizens under illegal dual citizenship, brought the nation, Liberia, under the prevailing socio-economic and political under-development.

Therefore, given these grim facts, circumstances and conditions, there is absolute need to   amend, strengthen and enforce, not weaken/repeal, the laws against illegal Dual Citizens & illegal Dual Citizenship in Liberia.

Decentralization, Local Governance and the Unitary System

We, and others, have argued over the years since we re-introduced the notion of decentralization (political/administrative/economic) with a call that our Unitary system of government be replaced. Enshrined in our Constitution and practiced during these 167  years, with political power vested in an imperial presidency, rigidly centralized in and dispensed from  far away Executive Mansion, the Republic of Monrovia, the Unitary system is archaic, obsolete and not, any longer, responsive to changed and changing realities and conditions of pro-democracy movement worldwide and 21st century Liberia. The system has outlived its usefulness and must be replaced by the much more democratic system of decentralization/federalism.

Concluding Notes

Now, given this opportunity, it is appropriate and compelling that we draw the attention of the reading, Liberian people to the critical conditions/realities, prevailing.   Quite recently, on dual citizenship, the President of the Nation declared that there are several personalities – high-level, high-profiled, high-flying officials in government, in all three branches, – who are dual citizens, an  illegal, reasonably- and morally-detestable practice, but widely pervasive nationwide.  

There are, also, flagrant violations of the Constitution (Article 3, Separation of Powers) by the high-level, high-profiled and “High & Mighty” Liberians in government. This practice tells us and the world, clearly and unequivocally, that Liberia is a country of Men & Women, NOT “of Laws”, because we do not honor, respect, promote, defend, protect and OBEY the laws that we made and make.

Regarding the feared, awesome Power of a sitting, Liberian President who, under our law, appoints all officials of government who, also, under law, “serve at the will and pleasure of the President, one person”, we noted elsewhere that “. . . these (appointed) individuals – highly-trained & experienced professionals – are the intellectual, academic, technological and socio-economic and political “cream of the crop” of Liberia; they write, teach, research, study, analyze, prescribe and recommend, as well as manage/implement, the plans and programs that determine present and future directions of our nation; they constitute the upper and middle classes of Liberian society”. 

“However, their lives – hopes, fears, careers, dreams, personal growth and professional development, etc. – depend upon and are determined, to a large extent, by the ‘will and pleasure’ of one person who is answerable to no one, according to the doctrine of our Unitary Structure of government. Very few, if any, will or can muster the “guts” or courage to challenge ‘presidential power and prerogatives, for fear of losing it all’, including being labeled a ‘trouble-maker’ who wants to ‘rock the boat’ and be ostracized socially, economically and politically”.

The awesome, feared power of a sitting, Liberian President, according to socio-organizational psychologists, influences the behavior, in terms of performance, of top-level, policy-makers/implementers as well as low-level individuals in organization/government, and affects, in turn, the over-all direction and general outcome of national/organizational perspectives, in the case of government and all presidential appointees. These, indeed, are the conditions, circumstances and realities in which we – Liberia, Liberians and the Nation – find ourselves at this particular point in time, characterized by Secrecy, the mother of mango-mangos & dee-deebahs. 

How do we get out this dol-drum and find a wayforward through open, free, fair, truthful, unbiased approach, with loyalty and patriotism to the nation and people? 

Regarding our Thoughts on the “Wakeup Call and the Newly-elected, Honorable Senator, it is said that there is, inevitably, change in perspective as one progresses in education, training and experience (a proven, lifetime phenomenon) from varied positions, conditions and circumstances; and as one grows old/older with contacts, interactions and interface at various socio-cultural, religious, economic, academic and national/international levels, one experiences positive/negative or “hills & valleys” results; therefore,  conclusions or rational choices are and must be based on empirical evidence and truth, gained from such experiences with age.

With Bai M. Gbala, Sr (March 17, 2015)

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