By Kusee L. Armstrong
Politics is a science of governance with systematic models and philosophical theories that are applicable in a leadership context. The application varies from society to society depending on the contextual understanding and ideological acceptance. The outcome of December 8, 2020, Senatorial Election sends a signal that the Liberian post-war democracy is getting matured and decent.
In 2017, we join the revolution to emancipate our people; through constructive collaboration and share ideological understanding, we got the popular votes of people on the mantra of “Change for Hope”. But the consistent and careless betrayal of the collective hopes and shared aspirations of the masses of our people and the platform which we sought power on during the elections have angered the very same people that overwhelmingly supported us. It is woefully embarrassing and ridiculously shameful to see just three years ago the very people who once supported us now redirecting their energies to the same people who they rejected in the 2017 polls for us. The decision of the people to redirect their energies and support to the former ruling party and its collaborators in the just ended mid-term senatorial elections tells us that there is a serious problem with our approach to governance and our inability to deliver on the change we promised.
Let’s not be under any illusion and spell that we are delivering on our promises made to the people in the elections that brought us to power! We need to reassess our governance model and be genuine about the change we want to deliver. Our people chose us over the Unity Party because they wanted a better Liberia that works for all and not a privileged few. It is no joke that if we do not redirect our governance course of actions by working on the development needs of our people, I sincerely sense the wave of December 8, 2020, repeating itself in October 2023.
Our attitude in leadership does not reflect the change we got elected for. We promised to fight corruption and to ensure that public resources do not end up in the pockets of the corrupt. But sadly, we have defaulted on that pledge as the massive accumulation of unexplained wealth, uncontrollable social actions in our various communities, sickening employment of unqualified people to sensitive positions that required technical expertise, lack of respect for constituent parties, coupled with a display of gross arrogance and greed, have dogged our leadership and threatened our chances of securing re-election in 2023. The very cabinet officials and others whose lives yesterday were an embodiment of poverty and deprivation have now prided themselves in opulence and extravagant lifestyles and are yet to share some of their overnight wealth with the masses. Yet, they go at the party headquarters occasionally and tell our supporters who walked behind us for 12 years and printed their own t-shirts to bring the party to the helm of power that the party remains supreme, when in fact, they are enriching themselves at the expense of the country. They most often create social media impression than governance performance. Unconsciously, they came out on December 8, 2020, asking the same neighbours and community members they have abandoned to vote on party mandate
Moving towards the future requires holistic changes in our political model, social behaviour, and attitude, with a significant outward reflection that will be embraced by the people.
In taking up the time to clearly understand and analyze the wave of December 8, 2020, we must strongly consider both intended and possible unintended consequences of the responses of the people before taken collective actions. We do not need external political analysts to tell us the political happenings of the political scope of the day. Our problems are internal, and until we can correct them, surprising variables will continue to emerge.
We need to rethink internal political reconciliation and strategic planning with the holistic involvement of primary stockholders that brought us the overwhelming victory in 2017. The new future political roadmap must be constructed with sincerity and inclusion that reflects dynamicity in structure and practices. It is not yet late; we still have people within our political tendency with diverse skills in governance and deep political understanding to achieve our goals for the future.
The political philosophy that brought us the overwhelming victory was based on trust and love for the country, but the composition of the governance structure does not reflect our founding philosophy. Many of the zealous young people who stood with us are still been left living under the illusion of hope, with no real strategy to empower them. Secondly, our Vice President with vast capability in governance and political leadership is disregarded, and most often disrespected by key members of the political marriage. If we will succeed going forward, we need to seek the path of genuine internal reconciliation among constituent parties.
Furthermore, the structural compositions of the technical team, which should drive governance, have disregarded the hope of the people over personal accumulations of wealth. I most often imagine which set of political model was applied, when those that stood in the struggle were compromised in the name of inclusion.
Let’s take a deep look around us and reflect on our political tendency, how many big names and financially positioned men and women we have that are capable of helping others?
In reality, we just have a few; this means more needs to be done in empowering people from our side. We must understand that a political plan is a commitment, not a moment. We must avoid the pageantry and antics that exploit the moment, our people are very hungry and impoverished that they need to be empowered.
Moving forward, the CDC needs to work on the disenchantment of constituent members to regain the hope of our people.
- The President and the Vice President in collaboration with the party leadership must set up a technical working team that will conduct an internal independent assessment regarding the views of our people.
- Restructure the government at the most senior level and get rid of underachievers lacking the most minimal understanding of their functions.
- Identify a small community development initiative and empowerment program for youth and women.
- Set up a committee to investigate the acquisition of unexplained wealth acquired by public officials.
- Prosecute current and former corrupt public officials.
- Prioritize the timely payments of civil servants’ salaries.
- Seek the needs of healthcare workers and ensure they are treated with decorum and decency.
- Cut down the huge delegation that flies with the president to attend regional and international functions.
- Prioritize the employment of qualified and competent members of the constituent parties who struggled to bring the CDC to power.
About the Author
Kusee L. Armstrong is a lecturer at the Cuttington University in Suacoco Bong County. He holds a Masters of Public Administration in Local Government and Rural Development and Masters in Education. He is currently pursuing his third masters of Science in GIS and Remote Sensing with a concentration in Urban Land Resources Management at Wuhan University in China. The author is an erstwhile member of the Mano River Union Parliament. Currently, he is the Executive Director of the Urban Development Initiative. He is a leading community development policy specialist and researcher.
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