Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has obliquely confirmed that he would be a contender in the ensuing 2017 general and presidential election to play the rightful role that history and providence require of him.
Serving as the keynote speaker at the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) government Friday, in the main auditorium of the university, an organization he served in as president for two consecutive years 1998-2000, the former Finance Minister said he has made a conscious decision to step out and play the rightful role that will see his country moving higher heights.
“I have made a conscious decision not to be inactive in 2017 and to step out and play the rightful role history and providence have assigned to me,” he said, urging the students, whom he referred to as members of the ‘Intelligentsia,’ not to sit idly and allow the wrong people elected in 2017.
These comments from the minister further confirmed speculations from intellectual centers, social gatherings and social media forums about his apparent ambition to ascend to one of the country’s two highest offices.
Minister Ngafuan indicated that he would not indulge himself in preaching sectoral or divisive politics; that he does not believe that the leadership of Liberia should be given to a particular class, craft, cult, tribe, county, or religion.
“What I will tell you is that leadership should be given to the positive forces of Liberia – the honest, the dedicated, the selfless, the competent, the nationalistic, and the visionary Liberians,” he said.
The minister noted that positive forces, no matter where they are, must align or re-align so that progress can be assured for Liberians, noting that if they do not do so, even urgently, the space may be taken up by the undeserving or negative forces.
“Nature hates vacuum, positive forces don’t step up to fill the leadership voids that will be created in 2017, retrogressive forces will fill the vacuum to the detriment of the nation,” he said.
He, however, called upon those he termed as “conscious men and women,” especially those at the university, to also step up and join the coalition of positive forces to ensure that Liberia goes to higher heights.
In a persuasive tone Minister Ngafuan told the audience that they can all rightfully be considered members of the Liberian intelligentsia, calling on them to come together and seize the opportunity to take over the leadership of the country when President Sirleaf’s tenure expires in 2017.
Regrettably, he said, the Liberian intelligentsia is a community of people who are very powerful but still accept that they are powerless; very rich but still believe they are poor; people who should be driving but accept or resign themselves to be driven.
Explaining this sad, but paradoxical reality, he said this is because the community is overly critical, sometimes even more critical than criticism itself. As a result, instead of backstopping the intelligentsia community, it witnesses backstabbing among the members.
“While most members in this community can easily forgive the trespasses of non-members, they find it extremely difficult to do similarly for members of the community. We in this community need to seek forgiveness for our own individual trespasses as we at the same time forgive those who trespass against us,” he said.
Minister Ngafuan said the intellectual community must make a conscious decision to cast aside petty differences and squabbles, urging them never to forget the poignant advice of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah when he said, “Let the forces that united us earlier be stronger and more intrinsic than the superimposed influences that may tend to keep us apart.”
He also made mention of the words of former US President John F. Kennedy, who said, “We must come together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.”
If John F. Kennedy’s words are not clear enough, he said, then “let’s listen to Benjamin Franklin who once said ‘we must hang together or will we hang separately’ and in short, I will say we must unite now or we may have no choice but to unite in hell.”