‘Tribal Endorsement of Political Parties Wrong,’ Says Prof. Sayndee

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Professor T. Debey Sayndee at the Kofi Anan Institute for Conflict Transformation at the UL

With the increase in tribal endorsements of political party leaders for the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, a professor at the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation at the University of Liberia (UL) has advised Liberians that the practice is not good to sustain peace and security as well as protecting the country’s emerging democracy.

“This trend is one of the early warning signs of political crisis, and it is wrong; and it must be addressed in time,” Professor T. Debey Sayndee observed, adding, “our conflict map has shown that tribal support to political parties, youth marginalization, ritualistic killings are some of the potential issues for war in Liberia. It is bad for our country, it stifles democracy, promotes insecurity and is bad for our children and their future.”

Sayndee sounded the warning recently when he served as a keynote speaker at the opening of a two-day multi-stakeholders dialogue on peaceful elections in Liberia-2017, organized by the Rights and Rice Foundation, a local advocacy group. The dialogue was held under the theme: “How can key actors, including the Government of Liberia, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), religious groups, leaders of political parties, and development partners ensure a peaceful 2017 Elections in Liberia?” The dialogue was also intended for the stakeholders to discuss means by which they will contribute to sustain Liberia’s emerging democracy and consolidate peace in the country.

Ethnicity played a major role in Liberia’s 14-year civil war and is arguably one of the important causes of conflict as compared to land disputes, Professor Sayndee emphasized.
The 14-year war was believed to have claimed the lives of more than two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) Liberians and others. According to him, in the past, tribal peoples made agreements and respected them, “even if those agreements caused them to shed their own blood to keep their promises,” although he did not give any specific examples of such past agreements.

“How did our people support political parties? Do they understand the value of tribal groups? What does it mean for tribal support to political parties? And those who are engaging into that endorsement, do they understand the culture of our people?” Sayndee wondered. “While the path to ethnic orientation of parties is gradually entering into our politics,” the professor advised, “as we head to the presidential and legislative elections, we must not lose sight of a country that is for all Liberians, and to ensure a united and peaceful country that can stand the test of peace, unity and democracy.”

Political parties should be genuine organizations and vehicles for influencing Government’s policy and development agenda, but they are fast turning into tribal enclaves, he said. “Be aware that we are busily building tribal groupings and beating up ethnic support,” the professor noted.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. I couldn’t agree with Prof. Syndee more. And you asked that Prof. Syndee to give you
    specifics? Let me give only two. When the invasion of Liberia was imminent, it was
    published either Dailies in Monrovia that: “Time will come when people will say, there
    was once a Tribe in Liberia called Krahn.” And in Monrovia group meeting you hear the
    that: “If you know that you are a Krahn and want to save your life, leave the country.”

    Those who organized the war including Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Dr. Amos Sawyer’s
    among their plans was to eliminate the Krahn Tribe. Tribe that they did not organize,
    but was established by the Almighty God himself. They told Burkinabees and the
    Ivoriens to annihilate only the Krahn people, but when the war entered, it killed almost
    everybody; not knowing the sanctity of tribes, Krahn Tribe being one.

    Recently, rebel turned Senator of Nimba County, Prince Y. Johnson, took the Vice
    President of Liberia, H.E. Joseph Nyema Boakai to task why he did not take his Vice
    running mate from his Nimba County. Pure tribalism!

    Liberia urgently and seriously need to establish a national commission charged with building a real peace between and among all the Tribes of Liberia. This will hold the peace that the country needs.
    However, it will be a good thing for the country to depoliticing all the Tribes of the country; the
    practice of getting endorsements from tribal people. Instead, politicians should just get their
    endorsements from their partisans. In fact, Prof. Syndee said it all!

    • It is so convenient to point fingers at others especially, when hiding behind technology while we refuse to clean the cold from our own eyes! Tribal unity especially among the Krahns, is nonexistent – we seek each other’s downfall through betrayal and outright deception. We gloat about it.
      Additionally, some of us took part in the counting of the result of the election held in 1985, declaring an awful result that got us to this Point today. Pointing fingers at others nearly three decades later is irrelevant!

  2. P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. August 14, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I couldn’t agree with Prof. Syndee more. And you asked that Prof. Syndee to give you
    specifics? Let me give only two. When the invasion of Liberia was imminent, it was
    published either Dailies in Monrovia that: “Time will come when people will say, there
    was once a Tribe in Liberia called Krahn.” And in Monrovia group meeting you hear the
    talks in the Streets that: “If you know that you are a Krahn and want to save your life,
    leave the country.”

    Those who organized the war including Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Dr. Amos Sawyer’s
    among their plans was to eliminate the Krahn Tribe. Tribe that they did not organize,
    but was established by the Almighty God himself. They told Burkinabees and the
    Ivoriens to annihilate only the Krahn people, but when the war entered, it killed almost
    everybody; not knowing the sanctity of tribes, Krahn Tribe being one.

    Recently, rebel turned Senator of Nimba County, Prince Y. Johnson, took the Vice
    President of Liberia, H.E. Joseph Nyema Boakai to task why he did not take his Vice
    running mate from his Nimba County. Pure tribalism!

    Liberia urgently and seriously need to establish a national commission charged with building a real peace between and among all the Tribes of Liberia. This will hold the peace that the country needs.
    However, it will be a good thing for the country to depoliticing all the Tribes of the country; the
    practice of getting endorsements from tribal people. Instead, politicians should just get their
    endorsements from their partisans. In fact, Prof. Syndee said it all!

  3. Interesting! We are just now recognizing Liberia’s “TRIBALISM PROBLEMS”. It’s a problem that runs through every aspect of Liberians lives; not just POLITICS. Anyone, who lives in Monrovia/Liberia knows it. First of all, let’s remind ourselves that people have names. We must stop refering to one another as that such and such man, using the modifiers: “Country Man, That Kpelle man, That Krahn man, That Congo man…” Every Liberian is guilty of some sort of TRIBALISM; from the highest/highly educated to the least. The issue of TRIBALISM, should have been addressed long ago; when Liberia was first established. It was not. Blame it on the elite/educated establishments; who when put together as a group, are the most TRIBALISTIC of all Liberians. Remember? The Liberian saying: “One for all; all for one” which ones were they talking about? Perhaps a member of their(own) tribe? *The root cause of Liberia’s Civil War, was that “BARBARIC SCENE”; when our loved ones were savagely murdered. There was no “LEGAL JUSTIFICATION” what so ever. What do anyone expects? Let’s get REAL…

  4. Professor, this is part of the democratic process and should be encouraged.Liberia is made up of tribes and their participation is vital to the success of this ” Experiment”.They are the rightful owners of this Land now called Liberia.They were for a long time excluded from participating in the decision making of their land and it is about time for them to be empowered.CDC will enchance that.

  5. The people care about their interrsts., and the will with candidates who speak to their interests. In fact, most of the presidential aspirants are picking their VP choices from voter rich counties. So where did this professor get his evidence that Liberians are supporting candidates based on tribal affiliation? Weah is from Montserrado, his VP is the hardworking senator from bong county. Cummings is from Maryland, his VP is from bong. Brumskin is from Bassa, his VP is from nimba. So who are the tribal people endorsing candidates, and trying to cause trouble? Tell the professor todo his research again.

  6. Mr. Wreh-wilson you are quite correct that the people care about their interest but sadly it is about tribal interest and not national interest. If you don’t believe the prof. assertion just look a little bit keenly and honestly or better still watch the outcome of the election. If we want a better Liberia we have to be sincere to ourselves.

  7. Democracy works best when you have lots of individual human beings voting in their own personal interests rather than having large voting blocks.

  8. Prof. Snydee, your observation is on point. I hope VP Boakai gets this Powerful Message. The VP has been campaigning on DIVISION since he became STANDARD BEARER of his PARTY. TRIBALISM in this ELECTION will create disunity in the Country that may lead to instability. MR. BOAKAI continues to promote CONQUAS vs NATIVES in this ELECTION. I believe his divisive polity is the same as TRIBALISM. He can not lead Liberia with such a disunity mentality. Voting ‘NO’ for Boakai is Liberians best options.

  9. “Tribal endorsement of political parties wrong”, but elite endorsement correct and very right. Look Sayndee, if you have nothing logical to say, just go back to your book shelves or the library to help yourself.

  10. Greetings Professor:

    I have a question for you.

    1). How long have you noticed this and

    2). have you made this know before this time and if so when was it.

    3). why have you waited so long to make your voice heard.

    4). Do you visit the internet and do you read comments from time to time, if so, have you seen the talk of tribalism in the election fever and if so what have you done about it?

    Kind Regards
    Charles E. King

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