Some questions for Liberian presidential candidates

photo: cipe.org

Dear presidential candidates: The Liberian people are looking for a fighting president.   The fighting president is the one who is willing to fight to give all Liberians equal fighting chance for better livelihoods.

He or she is the one who is willing to summon a new dawn to mark a renewed beginning for Liberia by ending the “semi-godly presidency” and the “oligarchy governance structure” in the country.

Which of you is the one?

Our founding purpose is clear, which was and still is building a country of strong institutions not of strong men or women.

You will agree, that all our bad experiences in Liberia is the result of turning our backs on the founding purpose, “the Love of Liberty Brought US Here.”

If the reason for Liberia is freedom, which the name of the country manifests, how then do we justify the situation of “gravy train” for 170 years at the expense of the majority?

Yes, this country was designated as celebration and symbol to mark the end of slavery.

It was about creating equal opportunities for the happiness and prosperity for all its citizens. It was about creating equal learning and empowerment opportunities irrespective of one’s religion, ethnicity, sex, disability and ascribed status.

Traditional backgrounds as well as country of origin are not factors of this promise. They are not also not a good determiner for a patriotism and love for one’s country.   

Slavery does not necessarily mean the legal buying and owing of individuals as property.

Depriving people of their alienable and constitutional rights are forms of slavery. This is true in today’s Liberia after 170 years. Oligarchy governance structure, which we now have in Liberia is a form of slavery.  

That the majority of the population has no guarantee of equal protection of the law and has no access to state resources is a form of slavery. 

When people are taking advantage of others because of their positions in government, that is a form of slavery.

When one percent of the population in power controls the nation’s resources at the expense of the majority, that is the form of slavery.

When heads of government institutions do not respect employees, that is a form of slavery.  

When those in position of power organize patronage networks as mean of protecting their power, from state resources, that is a form of slavery.

When the entire country like ours has no single public library, that is a form of slavery.

When majority of the population has no road network for vehicles, that is the form of slavery.

When majority of the population has no electricity, that is a form of slavery.

When majority of the population has no access to pipe borne water, that is the form of slavery.

The fact is development does not fall from the heavens. Development comes about from government priorities.

So my question is, what will be priority number one when you win the presidency? Please tell us in concrete terms with a timeline. What is wrong with Liberia that you want to fix and why?

How are you going to fix the things that are wrong with our country? How are we going to measure progress and how will citizens internalize your fixes? For example, how are your fixes going to ensure separation of power between the three separate branches of government?

How are your fixes going to ensure equal protection of rule of law for all Liberians?

Please tell us, in concrete terms,  how you are going take on corruption. Corruption has no color. It is not red, white, blue…. So for example, what will you do to prevent your government from taking bribes or kickbacks?

What will you do if one is caught?   

How are your fixes going to remove children from the streets to the classrooms?

How are your fixes going to prevent teenage girls from selling their bodies for school fees or as means of livelihoods?   

What are you going to do to cut salaries and allowances in favor of scholarships? 

 

Jarwinken Wiah, the writer of this article, is executive director of the US-based Emancipation Movement of Liberia 

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