By Artemus W. Gaye, PhD
Today, the ALDC examines the incumbent ruling party through the lens of its economic or political participations in the Liberian public sphere. The Unity Party has led Liberia’s executive branch for 12 years under the leadership of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the associate degree holder of Madison Business College and the Harvard trained Master of Public Administration; assisted by her deputy, Vice President Joseph Boakai, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business administration from LU and graduate certificates from Ghana and Kansas in agriculture. Ironically, the two septuagenarians have led the world 3rd youngest population (64% under the age of 24) according the United Nation Population Fund (UNPF) 2016 report. The Unity Party seeks a third term under the leadership of Vice President Joseph Boakai and Emmanuel Nuquay, the current speaker of the inept and corrupt Liberian House of Representatives. So, what can new can this party offer in the next six years that it didn’t do in twelve years if elected? To advance this argument, let us retrospect on its past:
The UP inherited a broken structure, briefly stabilized by the international community though an interim arrangement under the leadership of the late Gyude Byrant. There were very little data on Liberia. However, the Sirleaf led regime, like several African nations, had its external debts of nearly $4.2 billion waved by the international community. The UP regime outsourced its security to the United Nations for almost twelve years, with the UN spending nearly $700 million dollars to protect the fragile peace. Since July 2017, Liberia can rightfully be labelled as the nation with the 2nd longest budget deficits after Zimbabwe. With less than 8 days to go, Liberia recorded the 3rd lowest GDP in the world and an all-time GDP at $67 million according to the World Bank.
Liberia is ranked so low on many international indices: the 2nd poorest nation on earth according the Wall Street 2016 report on poverty, yet, it claims to have the 3rd lowest unemployment rate (3.8%) after China. Liberia is the 90 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries according (Transparency International). It lawmakers are the highest paid in the world and its top civil servants in the executives are the 12th highest paid in the world. For example, in 2009, in a New York Times Interview with Deborah Solomon, Madam Sirleaf admitted of making $7500/month ($90,000/ year) while the average Liberian civil servants made $80/month ($960/Yr.) but the latter has increased to $150/Yr. However, in her recent asset declaration, Madam President claims she now makes L$1,645,500 ($13, 915.4) as gross salary per year and US$72,000 in allowances per year.
In 12 years, Boakai and many of its members in the executive and legislative branches have amassed the lion share of the Liberian economic resources, wherein, 80% of its revenue was spent on recurring expenses and 20% on development. In the last 12 years, the Liberian government has raised on an average $737,000.000.00/year (WB Report, 2016). Here is how the current UP leadership binged on 9% of the Liberian finances (32 men and women) for 12 years:
- Joseph Boakai: $ 2,000.000.00 x12 years = $24 million
- Emmanuel Nuquay: $ 180,000x 11= $1,980,000 + $1. 6 million = $3,580.000 million
- 30 lawmakers (endorsing ticket) x $180,000/yr. = $5,400,000 mil x 12 = $64,800,000 million
- Total: $92,380.000 million excluding all political appointees.
- Ordinary Liberians (4.5 mil people) $1.00/a day x12 months =$54 mil/year for 12 years = $648,000.000 million.
This is where Liberia finds itself. Can this party right the ship or are we in for the ride to be led by the ruling party that Mr. Boakai truthfully admitted, squandered twelve years? The onus is on you the voters. For us who are denied our right to vote as absentee Liberians, according to article 80 section C, of the Liberian Constitution, you have the power to make or break Liberia. You ought to cease the moment!