The political leader of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Dr. J. Mills Jones, has urged Liberians to resist the re-election of any person from the ruling establishment, referring to the ruling Unity Party (UP), saying there should be “No 3rd Term.”
Dr. Jones, who spoke in Gbarnga, Bong County, during the weekend at the induction ceremony of the Cuttington Student Council Union, wants Liberians to use the recent American election as an example to discourage a third term leadership.
He cautioned Liberians not to vote on tribal or ethnic lines but rather on the basis that would ensure economic improvement.
“If Liberians can vote wisely and not on tribal lines, this country will surely move forward. We need to put the interest of the country first,” Dr. Jones said.
“It is clear that tribal politics plays a significant role in the country’s recent political activities with inhabitants of some counties giving their support to their kinsmen, but debate against a third term bid remains a major concern among Liberians,” he added.
According to him, any attempt to vote the ruling establishment for a third term would not be healthy for the country. He cited the unprecedented win by Donald Trump as U.S. President-elect, calling it a clear manifestation of ending a third term leadership in America which, according to him, Liberia should follow.
“If Liberians do away with tribalism and ethnicity and follow Trump’s legacy, it will break the barrier of continuation in Liberia,” Jones said.
The Movement for Economic Empowerment, Dr. Jones said, is a new agent of change, with a new vision for a new Liberia, and is committed to changing the development model from dependency to self-reliance.
“We cannot beg our way out of poverty. We must work our way out of poverty, taking ownership of our development agenda. We believe our partners will be more willing to help us when we adopt this posture as the way forward,” he said.
He further said there is no question that there have been some positive developments, including the international community’s embrace of this administration and providing substantial support, including debt waiver.
There have also been several years of growth in Liberia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the growth of the economy has been erratic, and the benefits have not trickled down to the grassroots, to be translated into measures that ensure the development and social improvements in the lives of the majority of Liberians, said Dr. Jones.
He said: “This is not a criticism, but a fact. And if we are to change, we must recognize facts for what they are. Too many Liberians go to bed without adequate food. Malnutrition is the single most common cause of death of Liberian children.”
According to him, “too many of us have less than US$1 a day to spend on basic needs. Too few Liberians are in the position to meaningfully participate in the economic life of the nation.”
He said the “free market seems to offer more and better opportunities to non-Liberians living within our borders, but not ourselves.” Neo-liberal economic orthodoxy would have Liberians believe that the market knows best, and that government’s intervention is an intrusion, he added.
“Prof. Robert Reich makes a contrary, but highly relevant point: that government doesn’t ‘intrude’ on the ‘free market,’ it creates the market by creating the rules of the market.
“He goes on to argue that those rules reflect who in society have the most power or influence to make them,” he said.
This suggests that, “we need people in power who will ensure that the economic system works for all of us. This also applies to the issue of access to financial capital, which has not been readily available to Liberians. When we tried to do something about this problem by promoting financial inclusion, some politicians turned our actions into a political football, even while some of them were benefiting by getting low cost loans through commercial banks to do farming.”
He told the gathering that the time has come for new thinking, to act appropriately and lead Liberia more effectively.