When will Liberia go from transition

By: Jarwinken Wiah

Free and fair elections are the foundation of all forms of democracy. In representative democracies, elections are the tools that citizens must use to practically hold political parties, candidates and incumbent governments accountable for their promises and performance.

Even though there are legal or constitutional grounds for monitoring or requiring politicians to meet electoral promises, Liberians are yet to grasp this concept for full utilization due to inadequate awareness and empowering structures. For this reason, elections are the only concrete avenues that citizens must use to reward or punish candidates based on their integrity and performance.

Despite Liberia’s old age, it is still in the emerging stage of democracy because of missed opportunities and a refusal to fully agree to good governance policies that will respond to the livelihood needs of majority of the population.

This refusal has made Liberia to remain in a transitional stage from July 26, 1847 to present, in terms of free, fair, peaceful elections and good governance practices after elections. These are still far from the norm because of the history of questionable electoral transparency, accountability, rule of law and good governance. Instead, most of the Liberian population continue to experience and tolerate semi-godly leaderships and patronage governance system in 173 years since independence.

Rather than summoning a new dawn to right the wrong, the Liberian society has allowed the culture of the use of money and violence to influence or intimidate voters.

There is high level of corruption in Liberian politics, which is problematic given the fact that Liberia, whose existence derived from the experience of the United States, is the oldest in Africa.

With this historical background, it is difficult to understand the refusal to adopt policies in practical terms to manifest the true purpose for which the country was establish.

While participatory governance promotes many forms of citizen participation for equal opportunities and competing ideas beyond elections, this practice is elusive in Liberia. So, the question is when will Liberia go on from transition?