By T-Mark Korpu
Dear today’s leaders, every 6 years, the nation is afforded the chance to change leadership. Known as a time of celebrating democracy and free and fair elections, the atmosphere is tense and politically charged as aspirants battle it out for a chance to join the various branches of government. As men and women bring to light what needs to be changed, there is a chance that many will feed the electorate with unrealistic manifestos and empty promises.
To the young leaders hoping to make their way into the corridors of power, there are several things that should never be forgotten. It is vital that one must not lose him/herself; stay true to yourself. Do not let the big dogs influence your character. Stay true to yourself. As your campaign posters litter the streets and the primaries fuel your hopes of higher office, remember that politics can be a dirty game. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Do not get swept away by the showbiz of politics, the colorful posters and the prevailing hashtags, press conferences, and non-effective day-long committee meetings. To effect change, one must truly be the change. Remember the promises you have made to your fellow youth: To the young man selling, loading a car you once boarded; to the group of young men who want more for themselves than having to wash cars by the rivers; to the mama who would like more than a shack, and one day establish a grocery store…stay true to the people you hope to serve and stay true to yourself.
To the women who seek to make their mark in the Liberian political scene, your time is now. Many continue to disqualify themselves before the race has even begun with their dishonorable antics. Take pride in your femininity; take pride in the change you can bring. Though gender equity may be a motivating factor, it will never prevail over the greater goal. Disgracing yourself with posed campaign posters that only serve to draw attention to your assets only cheapen your image. Embody the powerful woman you were born to be. Hold yourself in high esteem and stand for those in society often overlooked. Never let anyone belittle your message and the values of your stance. Instead, stand strong, and with grace and intelligence recognize your own power and make an effort to be the change you want to see.
To the incumbents, that seat is not your heritage, it is not your birthright. You are there at the choice, will and pleasure of the electorate. Many of you go to great lengths to hold on to power. Now that it’s elections time, a lot of our people are going missing. Some are fortunately found; they only wanted time away from people to sort out a few things unhindered. Sadly, a lot of them – some very young, children even, some very old, our grandparents’ cohorts, are found dead, brutally murdered, slaughtered in gruesome manner. Word is that these unfortunate souls have to be alive as parts are extracted from their living bodies. Can you imagine that happening to you, or your loved ones? If you are involved in such acts, please desist. Apparently some of you even sacrifice your own family members. Rather convince people by the strength of what you have done for them. Show them proof of what your time in office has accomplished for them, and with what you plan to do further if reelected.
And to you aspirants seeking to unseat the incumbents; please do so as men and women with the vision to further transform Liberia. Don’t come in with the same system of lies, corruption and violence that have become the norm in Liberia’s electioneering. Let us also act civilized. Let us not waste the lives of our young people just to win votes. Why should we allow the future generation of Liberia to suffer the indignity of still being beggars on the international scene, still engaging others with arms outstretched seeking aid for simple things like electrifying towns, building roads, schools and hospitals.
And why is it that after 170 years of independence, we are still discussing roads as viable elections promises? Why, Liberia? We should be discussing putting satellites in space, having elite universities and being the premier health referral center on the continent. Why are we, after 170 years, still one of the least developed countries in the world?
We have a lot of work to do. Our government and country need serious help. Let this election be about change. Let it be about progress, about leaders with new experiences who can introduce a new paradigm in how to make Liberia great, to make Liberia take her rightful place among the community of nations.
To the old, tired, power-hungry politicians, clear the way and pass the torch to a new generation of leaders. Your time is gone, instead of holding onto power, it is time to let others lead. The time to prove your effectiveness or lack thereof is now over. Do not be quick to criticize, instead offer your support from afar.
To the electorate, your vote is your voice. Choose wisely. Don’t sell your vote; it is your hope for a better future. Don’t give it to anyone who wants to give you a bag of rice and a few dollars that will go on to make close to a million US dollars in salary as a representative – over that sum for the president, by the time the next elections cycle comes into play. Please vote wisely!
(Contributing Source: Capital Campus; follow @ Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram: T Mark Korpu – Twitter: TKorpu; email: firstname.lastname@example.org)