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Liberia has wept for the past 178 years and she continues to because she is dying gradually. She is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU) on life support. She has begged and is begging for help. She has cried with tears of blood. She needs your help. You have to make a choice; Help her or let her die without fulfilling the goals and aspirations of the founding fathers, which was exercising their natural, inherent and inalienable rights to establish a framework of government for the purpose of promoting unity, liberty, peace, stability, equality, justice and human rights under the rule of law, with opportunities for political, social, moral, spiritual and cultural advancement of their society, for their posterity. These were the basic rights and opportunities they were denied prior to their departure from the United States of America because they were of the Negro Race. And for 178 years, they have not fully achieved these rights. If you let her die, the Negro Race will go back into slavery. To the newly elected leadership, will you let her die? This is the million dollar question to you and your team. Before you answer the question, we will take you into three periods in the history of the country.
The period 1778: This a period before the establishment of the country or even before the arrival of the first ship that brought the freedmen of color to the shores of present day Liberia. Many years before 1778, a young man from the north trekked northwest and landed the Federation of Western Mandingo Kingdom which extended from present day Gbarpolun in Liberia to Masadu in Guinea Conakry. The young man was an Islamic scholar and when he arrived, the legendary Chief Mabulu hosted him in present day Kamatahun, Lofa County. He lived in Kamatahun for three years and his famed spread throughout the Federation of the Western Mandingo’s Kingdom and the father of the king Sao Boso/ Boatswain heard of him. He sent a messenger to Chief Mabulu with a message asking his friend to send the Islamic scholar to his chiefdom to perform some work for his son. Chief Mabulu obliged. The scholar went to Gbarpolu and taught the chief’s son Sao Boso Arabic and converted him to Islam. That is the reason, when you read Liberian history, Chief Sao Boso/Boatswain is referred to as a Mandingo Chief. He was not a Mandingo, instead he was a Muslim. When the scholar completed his task, the father of the great Chief killed him. But before he died, he told the Chief that his son Sao Boso would be last legendary chief from his family lineage.. And that for the federation to prosperous, they needed to honor an elderly man from the West.
The period 1944: In 1944, a young man, who attended and graduated from two of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard and Columbus, Mr. Didwho Welleh Twe was selected to deliver the 97th Independence Day Oration. Mr. Twe was delighted and expressed his sentiments on this occasion as follows: “As the sun rises in the east and sets in west, so the great revolutionary force which has influenced the progress of mankind has always come from the East and marched westward, but never from the West to East, nor North to the South. The ancient civilization of Africa marched from Egypt to the West. Where is he that was born king of Jews? Said the three wise men. And from the East, t Christianity marched westward.
When Mohammed of the Islamic Faith lifted his sword, he pointed it to the West and he marched from the East to the West. The Pilgrims Fathers planted Anglo-Saxon Civilization on the North American Continent not in the North, nor West or the South but in the end from the East. American Civilization and democracy marched westward. To fulfill her destiny, Liberia must turn her back to the East and march westward.”
The period 1999: In 1999, the late Michael K. Francis, Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Liberia sent a report/prophecy to the Vatican. For the purpose of this feature, we will quote only the last two paragraphs, follows:
“The worst is not under Taylor, it is yet to come when mayhem will take the land and a dictator will rise, but no one who celebrates him will see. By then, they will all be blinded and will end up as a blind leading the blind.
At the end of that reign an astute statesman will rise, and the nation will prosper forever.”
Didhwo Welleh Twe did not prophesy. In fact, during the early days of the Tubman’s Administration, Tubman was greatly supported by Didhwo Welleh Twe. He was the brain behind Tubman’s Integrations Policy. He did the zero draft. Since that July 26, 1944 Independence Day Oration, the southeast has produced five heads of government (Constitutional Presidents-Tubman, Doe and Weah), one of whose mother came from the southeast and two interim heads of government (Dr. Amos C. Sawyer and Gyude Bryant). Some even said that he said a young man from the southeast will be the one to transform Liberia. Tubman was 48 years, Doe said he was 35 years and Weah was 51 years of age. All these three were young men. It appears the answer to Liberia’s prosperity will not come from a leader from the southeast given the leadership record of the three sons of the southeast.
The Islamic scholar said an elderly man would come from the West and Archbishop Francis wrote that an astute statesman after the young man he referred to as Saul would emerge. Remember the story of Saul. After Saul one faction selected his son Ishbaal who was anointed by the northern region but the elders of southern anointed David. The southern region defeated the northern region. Therefore, it was David that succeeded Saul. Those of you who read the Holy Bible know how David transformed Israel. Do we have a David now?
We just read the first speech of the President- elect where he intimated that he will fight corruption with all the resources at his disposal. Tolbert declared war on corruption, but he did not succeed. Madam Sirleaf tried, she too failed, President Weah did not even try; instead he promoted corruption bald-facedly. We say to the President- elect that corruption is a cancer and to defeat it, you have cut-off its legs, or arms, breasts and other related appendages. You must have the POLITICAL WILL. PROMP ACTIONS against officials would be needed, irrespective of their contributions to your success.
Corruption has different meanings, but the definition that we like best is that which was given at the United Nations Convention against Corruption. It reads, “Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or organization/government which is entrusted in a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefit or abuse of power for one’s personal gain”. Forms of corruption include bribery, embezzlement, extortion, networking, under table transactions, manipulation of election, money laundering and the list goes on. If an individual/ organization/branch of government is charged with the responsibility to distributes resources and a large portion of those resources is allocated to that individual/branch that is corruption. Mr. President- elect, you will have to first fight corruption in the first Branch of government. If you do not success winning the war of corruption in the first branch, it will be difficult to win the war on corruption because this branch oversee/supervises the other two branches, If this first branch is corrupt, the oversight will not be effective.
Corruption erodes trust, weakens democracy, hampers economic development, and further exacerbates inequality, poverty, social division and environmental crisis.
Mr. President- elect, we will hold you responsible for the full enforcement of the constitution, particularly the following articles and clauses:
Article 5-c states that the Republic shall: “Take steps, by appropriate legislation and executive orders, to eliminate sectionalism and tribalism, and such abuses of power as the misuse of government resources, nepotism and all other corrupt practices.”
Article 6 reads: “The Republic shall, because of the vital role assigned to the individual citizen under this constitution for the social and political well-being of Liberia, provide equal access to educational opportunities and facilities for all citizens to the extent of available resources. Emphasis shall be placed on mass education of the Liberian people and the elimination of illiteracy.”
Article 8 reads: The Republic shall direct its policy towards ensuring for all citizens, without discrimination, opportunities for employment and livelihood under just and humane conditions, and towards promoting safety, health and welfare facilities in employment.
The Budget: If you sign any budget that is not people-friendly, that constitutes the basis for corruption. Over the past eighteen years, recurrent components have been in excess of 50% of the national budget. This has to change. Best practice is 30% of the budget. We have seen no Capital Development Budget over the past eighteen years. It is time to allocate an annual Capital Development Budget. We suggest a minimum US$100 Million, maximum 20% of the National Budget.
We need to review the government’s depreciation policy on vehicles. New vehicle depreciation should be six years. The procurement of expensive vehicles for government ministers and operatives should be discouraged. For a country struggling to emancipate its people from the shackles of poverty, it makes no sense to procure vehicles for the operation of the government at such a high price. Our research shows that during the Tolbert’s Administration, Ministers, Legislators, etc. procured their own vehicles. Only five officials of government the government procured vehicles for, they were the President, Vice President, Speaker, Chief Justice and the President Pro-Tempos. We need to return to this practice. Utility vehicles were parked at 1800 hours.
There is a need to review the salary structure from Assistant Minister upward. The Legislators’ salaries and benefits need to be reviewed also. It is insane for our ministers and legislators to earn more than their peer in Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast etc. These countries have far bigger national budget than Liberia. We cannot continue to live on false hope. If we do not sacrifice, we will never build the infrastructures we need for the social and economic transformation.
We hope and pray that passing brown envelopes will come to an end. The expectations of Liberians are high and they believe that your administration will resolve all their problems. They look up to you as the MESSIAH. Liberians are waiting to judge you on your appointments at the following ministries and agencies:
YOU are referred to in the ECOWAS Region as Mr. Clean. Your appointments should reflect the caliber of people that have similar characteristics as you. Find Liberia’s best minds, Liberians who believe in your vision and mission and the slogan “Think Liberia, Love Liberia, and Build Liberia.”
- Ministry of Justice 7. Liberia National Police Force
- Ministry of Finance 8. City Corporations and Monrovia and Paynesville
- Ministry of Agriculture 9. Liberia Electricity Corporation
- Ministry of Commerce and Industry 10. Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation
- Ministry of Public Works 11. Ministry of Labor
- Ministry of Health 12. Ministry of Education