By Faliku Dukuly
A 170-year old small country in West Africa with a population of 4.5 million people in 15 counties still suffers from bad leadership structure. While many are still struggling under the burdens of poverty, poor education, and unemployment, the majority have slipped away from their careers and are focused on securing public offices. From all walks of life – businessmen, part-time politicians, musicians, soccer players, former warlords, Liberians have fled their vocations and aspire to Liberian politics.
The scramble for leadership roles in Liberia has been a primary source of income. There is only one Liberia, one seat for one person for each political office. The scramble for political offices has caused competition and strife with a result that interest in politics has begun to divide ethnic identity in favor of political partisanship. It is one Liberia with many tribes that are now separated in the name of politics. It is true that all Liberians have freedom and rights, but these rights should not allow us to devalue or defeat the purpose of unity and the peace we crave.
As Liberians move closer to electing new leaders in October 2017, many are overwhelmed by the scale and level of corruption while others remain optimistic. Crossing carpet from one political party to another has become a major game. As the clock winds down to October 10, the decision of choosing a political party remains critical.
Government operates on two legs: function and structure. The function of government varies from one administration to another based on various politicians’ platforms, while the structure remains the same for all administration. When an institution is established with certain tasks, the structure for such organization serves as the hierarchy for every operation. Hence, politicians use the structural framework of government to implement their various platforms through the implementation of public policy.
Leadership crises have become Liberia’s impediment over time. The same assessment applies to most sub-Saharan African nations. In Liberia, specifically, factors such as corruption, nepotism, the blurred vision of government officials and many other factors continue to be challenges for candidates, office holders, and citizens who vote. The people we elect to represent us are not doing the right thing. They do not represent us but their families.
Corruption in Liberia has gone from mere acts of accepting bribes to a strategy. It has become a way of life for some stakeholders, using it as a means of survival.
Madam Sirleaf termed corruption as a vampire of development and a major obstruction of progress to her government. It is fair to ask if the claim is more than a political posture. Should Liberia allow corruption to overthrow our government?
Nepotism also appears to have become a strategy. Liberians often say “Who know you?” That has become rampant and popular in Liberian society. Family ties, including close friends, ethnicity and tribalism are major factors that promote favoritism in public offices. It is fair to ask if personal family and friend loyalties are finally good for the Republic.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish’’ is a wise saying with relevance for today’s Liberia. When leaders lack a broad vision, they forget to consider the needs of all the people. It makes it difficult for goal achievement. Leaders who succeed after others are gone and those who adjust themselves to their new tasks are the ones who never lost sight/direction.
Most Liberian leaders today have failed and continue to fail along the way for many decades to deliver those basic necessities of life for their people due to bad governance and lack of vision. After 12 years of leadership from Liberian President Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Liberians still remain hopeful for a peaceful transition of power to the next administration that will take office in January 2018. It is still unclear who will become Liberia’s next leaders, from the Executive to the Legislative.
What is certain is that the freedom and the power of the ballots cast by Liberians in October will determine the future.