By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed., PhD
As an indigenous citizen of Liberia, I hope and pray that the government of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC), headed by President George M. Weah, who is also of indigenous roots, succeeds. Failure is not an option, because should President Weah fail, it means the indigenous people as a class have failed.
President Weah has appointed individuals as his advisors to guide him in the decision- making processes, but it is equally important that President Weah goes beyond those appointed and bring closer to him other individuals of impeccable characters so that collectively, Liberians of all persuasions can equally and peacefully cross the bridge, the bridge where the Pro-poor agenda will be realized. This is not an indirect or direct indictment of those on the President’s present legal advisory team, but critical analysis dictates that some appointees who currently surfaced in the CDC-led Government did not appear during the twelve years of the Government of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
One must ask, were their absences due to the lack of political connections with President Sirleaf, or President Sirleaf personally knowing some of these appointees, carefully and deliberately distanced and alienated these new appointees in question?
Again, I ask, what were the performances of these so-called advisors during the reign of Presidents William R. Tolbert, Samuel K. Doe and Charles Taylor? What are their standings with the West, especially the United States? I am not playing the social class warfare by questioning the characters and performances of these advisors, but in the final analysis when the government does not deliver the goods for the Liberian people as expected of the government of President Weah, no advisor, especially advisors of the repatriate Liberian decent will be as culpable as President Weah, his indigenous class, and the overwhelming majority of young people, who voted for him.
Discussions and Justifications for an Advisory Council
The purpose of this article, therefore, is to propose to you, President Weah, to appoint a national council of non-governmental advisors (NCNA), comprising two persons each from the 15 counties. These council members, consisting of both men and women, could serve as an auxiliary advisory group to you.
This Council is not being proposed for job creation where budgets will be needed or formulated, because these carefully identified individuals have consented to serve voluntarily without salaries. They come with vast reservoir of knowledge, experience, and expertise in various areas.
The Council’s role, in an ad-hoc capacity, would be to periodically look at local county and national issues brought to its attention by the President. Since the President by proclamation is inclined to seek reconciliation among Liberians and by extension to have a government of inclusion and unity, these council members will also guide the President in such an endeavor.
Here again, I put my full trust and confidence in the chosen council members because these council members, God forbid, when push comes to shove, do not have a second passport or another nationality; they are typical Liberians, who were born in Liberia, who are living in Liberia, who will mostly die and be buried in Liberia. In similar light, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, and stalwarts of the Congress of Democratic Change, all of whom want the Government of President Weah to succeed, is like all other patriotic Liberians. Considering myself also a patriotic Liberian, I present and recommend the following individuals I have selected from the fifteen counties to be members of the National Council of Nongovernmental Advisors.
Grand Kru County: former Senators Cletus Wotorson and Blamoh Nelson who, regardless of political affiliation, are statesmen and have equally contributed to the growth of Liberia.
Grand Gedeh County: Phillip Duoye and Bishop Abraham Gbeweay, who are outstanding citizens with vast experiences in government.
Nimba County: Daniel Bartoa Bartuah and Gabriel D. Gbanlon, who are distinguished sons of the county.
Grand Cape Mount County: Drs. Momo K. Rogers, Sr., and Foday Kromah, who have vast experience in successive governments and with impeccable records.
Grand Bassa County: Reverend Albert Karngar and Wesseh Weah Bestman, who are considered with high regards throughout their county and beyond.
Maryland County: Thomas G. Bedell and Thomas W. Nyamah, who are opinion leaders and have served their county with distinction.
Lofa County: Ma Kebeh Mongar and Yassah Varbah, who are individuals of influence and integrity in their county and beyond.
River Gee County: Welleh Bohlen and Mother Esther Dickson, who are two influential citizens of their County.
Bong County: Andrew Tehmeh and Tornorlah Varpilah, who are opinion leaders of the county with vast experience in government.
Gbarpolu County: Nathaniel B. Johnson and Boimah Quaye Kpaingba , who are influential opinion leaders of their county.
Montserrado County: Kenneth Y. Best and Francis Greaves, who are outstanding leaders in the private sector.
Sinoe County: Cllrs. Elizabeth Nelson and Henry Nagbe, who are influential legal minds with impeccable records.
Margibi County: Sandy S. Johnson and Pastor Oliver Kerkula, who are opinion leaders and influential citizens.
Bomi County: Elizabeth Zoe Addy and Charles H. Fundo, Sr., who are influential and respected opinion leaders of their county.
River Cess County: Robert Tommy and Joseph O. Gbassagee, who are outstanding citizens and respected individuals of their county.
President Weah, this proposal is made in good faith for the betterment of your government, the indigenous class, and that of Mama Liberia. Let me be emphatic here: I did not vote for you during the first or second rounds.
As a matter of fact, while Senator Prince Y. Johnson was canvassing vote for you in my home county, Nimba, I was also canvassing vigorously for former Vice President Joseph Boakai, during which time, I was the chief architect for his last campaign gathering in Nimba County.
In making this proposal to you, I am reminded of the late Gabriel Baccus Matthews’ statement when he said of President Sirleaf: “This is not the President all of us voted for, but this is the President all of us have.” You are our President, Your Excellency, whether we voted for you or not.
In conclusion, let me repeat what I said earlier was my purpose: you as an indigenous president, if you fail, we of the indigenous class, of which this author is a member may equally so have failed.
Also, remember you are President of all citizens of Liberia, so if you fail, you also fail all citizens. Your failure particularly could be detrimental to the young people of Liberia who overwhelmingly reposed their confidence in you and elected you as their President.
About the author: Kadiker Rex Dahn holds a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He also holds two masters respectively from University of Oklahoma and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the United States. He once served as Deputy Minister of Education for Research, Planning and Development and Deputy Director General, National Commission on Higher Education. He is author of the book, Learning from the Lives of Exiled Liberian Women: An Oral History from 1979-2006. Contact: [email protected]