Benoni Urey, the political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), came out recently with a stinging attack on past governments, including the current one, saying they had failed the Liberian people.
He made specific references to the high cost of rice and poor healthcare and education systems as some basic areas of failure on the part of past governments, including the current one.
In his speech at the launch of his presidential campaign last Friday, Mr. Urey, like any other politician, claimed that he has the ability to make Liberia a better place.
The ALP political leader’s statement raises two concerns that must be carefully evaluated if Liberians should trust him with the nation’s highest office.
The first is the issue of failure of past governments. The term “fail” is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as “To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in any measure or degree up to total absence.”
Comparing his opinion with the meaning of fail, Mr. Urey’s statement remains ambiguous without specific instances in which past governments and the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration can be blamed for failure.
If Liberians were to believe Urey as the messiah with knowledge of how the country should be led, what can he point out to be a failure in the economy, education, health, agriculture and basic social services?
Is he saying there were no schools, hospitals and roads built by past governments? How did Liberia get the John F. Medical Center, Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital and others that we have? Have there been no scholarships for Liberian students to benefit from in past administrations and this one?
In addressing Liberia’s needs, Mr. Urey, who boasted of having the capacity fix Liberia, did not state how he would bring into reality his intent. He but just stated that, “I will do…,” which any politician can rhetorically say.
Secondly, Liberians would like to know how trustworthy and credible he is to bluntly criticize past governments and the existing one when he had served in one of them.
Benoni Urey served in the regimes of Charles Taylor and Samuel Doe. In the Taylor regime, he served as Commissioner of the lucrative Bureau of Maritime Affairs (now Liberia Maritime Authority). There he helped Charles Taylor to purchase arms while the rest remains unaccounted for. If Liberians can believe that past governments and this one failed, what can Urey boast of as a past government official? Is he divorced from the failure of the Taylor Administration, which built nothing in Liberia but continued the war until that President was forced into exile?
What is Urey’s perception of having been part of failed administrations? If he must make Liberians believe him as an exceptional person, he must clearly explain to the people what he did in the respective positions he served.
In one of our editorials, we challenged Mr. Urey to clarify whether or not placing him on United Nations sanctions list was right, or publicly clarify if he were ever audited and went free of corruption at the Bureau of Maritime.
He is, however, yet to respond.
Mr. Urey can build trust in Liberians beginning with his clean record in public life and clearly explain how his government is going to achieve what he has in his platform.
He must let the Liberian people know how he intends to improve health, education, infrastructure, culture and other social factors that need improvement instead of criticizing ills that he was a part of.