2023 presidential election will bring change to Liberia

Wolokollie is eyeing the Liberian presidency in 2023

By: Mengistu Eddie Wolokolie

Liberians home and abroad, I want to take this time to ask you to join me in 2023, as I seek the highest office in the land. I am as of today, making my intention known that I will run for the president of the Republic of Liberia. I am asking all like-minded people young and old to join me in this endeavor to create a better future for our children and grandchildren. I understand and know there are long roads ahead on this venture. Liberia is our country, and if we don’t make the sacrifice for her, who will?

To the people of Liberia, I do not come to this decision easily, but with the utmost respect for the future of our country. For all the family and friends that know me, know that I have been planning for this journey for decades. To the country we all love, and some tend to hate what it stood for at times, I ask you to join me for a better future for Liberia. Liberia is Africa’s oldest independent nation, but the world doesn’t know that. I think it is time that the world recognizes what and who Liberia represents. I am excited for our country and countrymen to realize our potential.

For one-hundred and seventy-one years, Liberia has been at the forefront of history-making in Africa and the world. At this time in Africa, we need to be part of the solution for our nation and the continent of Africa. So please join me to bring a better future to our nation. We have to build a future that is better than what our parents did for us. We must move our nation into the 21st century and not build for the 1970s. We must be a nation of inclusiveness and not of divisiveness. I want my candidacy and presidency to be of the future and not one of looking backward. My candidacy is about innovation and not stagnation. We are about education, not ignorance.

Why do I want to run for president, and why do I believe my candidacy is essential for the future of Liberia? I have seen and heard the complaints from Liberians that our current leaders have placed focus on what they can get right now and not the future of the country. I have come to realize that this is a “zero-sum game” we are all playing when it comes to building Liberia, for the future generation. The current leadership and government are the product of their predecessors. Our parent’s generation brought our nation fourteen years of civil war that killed more than 250,000 of our mothers and fathers, brothers, and sisters. They turned our generation of children into child-soldiers, rapists, and killers. It is only befitting that our generation will fix the problems of our nation. The people that cause the issues cannot be the ones that take the lead to repair this nation. The phrase “you broke it, you fix it,” cannot apply here for this situation. The war that was brought by our parents’ generation displaced our families all over the globe, to some good and bad experiences.

Now is the time we all should come home and build a better country. It is time that we take our experiences from around the world to lift Liberia out of trepidation. After the fourteen-years’ war, we elected the first female president on the continent. Most saw it as a milestone for the nation and the continent. It was a major accomplishment, but it did not yield the results we as a nation wished for when we elected the first female president. President Sirleaf’s administration helped bring our nation out of chaos; however, it did not address the fundamental issues that still plague our nation today. Our current administration is going down the same path. A path that leaves our nation vulnerable to past conflicts and division.

The past four administrations did not address this, and the current administration is not addressing the lack of education to create and grow a middle class in the country. Healthcare services are at best hard to find and at worst non-existent. Jobs’ creation for the populace is for the well-connected and their families. The last four administrations did not set a vision for the country that would inspire the people; instead, they settled for the same old tactics to stay in power.

I Mengistu Eddie Wolokolie, present you with visions that I believe are reachable if we work together as a nation. These are visions that we will not complete all in my time in office, but we could lay the foundation for the future generation. My candidacy is not for my ego but the country. I am the generation that was affected by the fourteen years of civil war. I am the generation who doesn’t judge his fellow women or men for which tribe they belong to or the amount of money their parents have. I am the generation that has traveled the world and knows that development is possible in our country. I am of the generation that went from eating three meals a day to not knowing where you would get your next meal. I am of the generation that, as children, saw bodies lying in the streets. I am for the generation that was forced to leave his/her homeland to settle in a foreign land for a better life. I am of the generation that was robbed of their youthful innocence. I am of the generation that some of us lost one or both parents due to someone killing them or the lack of medication. No, I did not lose any of my parents but lost family members that made an impact on my life. I am for the generation that knows what it is like going without eating for days, and when you do finally, eat, your body was not used to the food you ate. I am of the generation that you drank water all day to survive. I am the generation that was told by their mom, “that you had to eat late and go to sleep so that you won’t be hungry throughout the rest of the day.” I am the generation that first experiences what it means not to attend school because it was not safe to attend. I am the generation that flew to a foreign land who had to repeat a grade because we were forced to sit out of school for a couple of years. We had to grow up fast to survive the world.

We can change all that with the 2023 election. We can restore decency and hope to a nation that is lacking in so many ways. I am not a Messiah and will never claim to be one. I’m not all the answers to the country, but I believe I am the start. I am not rich and don’t want to be rich. I will not approach you with false promises of money. But I will come to you with ideas about how we can work together for you to earn your own money. I will not bribe you for your vote, I will ask you for your votes. I will ask you to look at what sustenance I’m bringing to the table for your family.

To the naysayer, that will want to doubt my candidacy by saying, “you have been out of the country too long, you don’t know the country.” I will say to them that it is an excuse to keep the country in the select few. They are right; I don’t know what Liberia wants, but I believe I understand what Liberia needs. As a son of this land, I will try my best to live by these seven values, Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. My campaign and, if elected, our administration will try and live up to these seven values day in and out. We are accountable to you, the proud people of Liberia. Our loyalty will be to bear true faith and allegiance to the Liberian constitution, the people, and the offices I shall hold. Our duty would be to fulfill our obligations and never take shortcuts. I will always take the hard right instead of the  easy wrong. We will respect our constitution, our country, and its citizens. I will strive to demonstrate selfless service by putting the wellbeing of the nation and the citizen before myself. I will show honor by living up to the seven values I have laid out here. I will have integrity by doing what is legally and morally right for the country. I planned to have the personal courage to face physical or moral danger, fear or misfortune with courage for the people of Liberia.

I believe I have made Liberia proud to call me one of her sons. I have worked and lived my life to always bring joy and pride to the soil of Liberia and Africa as a whole. I have my flaws, but I love this land. I will lay down my life for this land. So, announcing today that I will be a candidate for president in the general election for the President of Liberia in 2023, is an honor. It is an honor to let the people of Liberia know that there is still hope. Let them know there are better days ahead for all of us. It will be hard, but it will be a fight for our children and the future generation of our nation. I want them to know that I will wake up fighting to make their lives better than it was when I went to bed. I want them to know that I will fight to restore the soul of our nation and not to divide her. I need the people to know that I’m an addition to the nation and not the subtraction that takes away the hopes and decencies of our country. I will be the president of all citizens. I will not be the military president because I served 20 years in the military. I will not be the Loma president, because I am from Lofa county. I will be the president for people, not of my tribe, and those that didn’t vote for me. I will not be the president of the educated people, because I will be the president of those with or without education. I will strive to educate or create an environment that every citizen sees the God-given potential to get an education. I hope to be a president that will bring all sides together, that will work for the masses in our country.

I understand, I’m announcing my run sooner than most people would, but I want to be that candidate of change. Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” Let my announcement serve as a small indication of my desire to break the status quo and of greater changes to come. I want to be that person that a kid in 9th grade can look at now and believe that real changes are coming to Liberia. I need that 17 thru 21-year-old woman in college now, thinking that we have a candidate that will put their needs as a priority to them and not just pay “lip service.” To know and understand, I will stand up and fight for the rights of women. I won’t go along to get along. I want the girls and women in the rural parts of the country, like Kakata, Shabli, Yibuke, Fish Town, Kpeaple, Palala, Pilbo, and Bokoa to know that I will wake up every day and fight to pass laws that will give them equal rights as boys and men in Liberia.

I want the people to know now that they have someone who will always put the needs of the country before his own. I want you to know that I’m a selfless servant to the people of Liberia. So, to all the folks out there that are going to dismiss this, please dismiss me at your peril. To the citizens of Liberia, please join me to start now to fight for these beliefs. Do not listen to the naysayer, we can, and we will get this done.