Politicians here are taking Liberian electorate for granted. They are avoiding the real issues confronting the country and its people and instead, playing the personality game characterized by name-calling and blame-shifting. That’s not what the people want to hear, and certainly not what they deserve.
Let’s look at some recent comments by some presidential hopefuls, beginning with businessman Benoni Urey, leader of the All Liberian Party or ALP. Mr. Urey announces to the public that if elected President in October, he would not take salary for two years, but does not say how he intends to use the national resources for that same period for the general good of the people except that he would empower citizens of Bong County and Caresyburg in Montserrado County.
He stresses that the living condition of Liberians needs improvement, but refuses to make any promise and claims that the real problem is lack of leadership, so he wants to give Liberia back to the common people.
Next is Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, standard bearer of the Liberty Party, who claims he is upright and spotless, but there are others in the race whom he alleges have tainted records, describing some as “little boy running around with stolen money.”
According to him, if given the opportunity to serve as the next President of Liberia, he would lead the country like it had never been led before, whatever that means. Cllr. Brumskine also promises to create an enabling environment under his presidency where every Liberian would feel part of his transformation strategy, but fails to explain how he intends to achieve this.
Ex-bank governor Dr. Joseph Mills Jones is calling for change, promising to elevate poverty from Liberia where President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s poverty reduction strategy fails. He wants the old system to go away, and for change to come, he must be elected President without clearly detailing what kind of change he has for the people, except that he enjoys popularity dividends from his controversial loan scheme while serving at the Central Bank of Liberia.
Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) standard bearer Senator George Weah is not saying much either, but insists that this is his time to become President of Liberia. During his recent visit to Grand Bassa and Gbarpolu Counties, he spent his entire time denigrating the governing Unity Party Standard Bearer, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, whom he claims has nothing to offer to the people of Liberia.
On the other hand, Alternative National Congress (ANC) standard bearer and Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings, new on the political scene, is moving from county to county, thanking Liberians for endorsing him as standard bearer, and promising empowerment for the people.
Now that official campaign has started, we are looking forward to the platforms of political parties. The Liberian people want to know how candidate X or B intends to transform Liberia, but none of the above candidates is yet to specifically say how health, education, corruption, food and national security, among others would be addressed if any of them were elected President in October.
The ruling Unity Party standard bearer, vice President Joseph is no exception. He has tried to distance himself from the failures of his ruling party asking citizens to judge him on his own record. But one can only wonder which record he is talking about.
The Liberian people expect specifics from those aspiring to become their next President after Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. They want a leader that would build on where she stops rather than who is short or tall, and that Liberia will become a paradise if any of them were elected President.