Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh’s promise to “enforce the Liberianization Policy” is not new.
So many of his predecessors and even Liberian presidents have come and made the same promises and gone with things remaining absolutely the same — with the Liberianization Policy stalemated or totally ignored or forgotten, and the Liberian economy remaining right where it has been since the 1940s — Tubman time — that’s over three quarters of a century years ago — firmly in the hands of foreigners!
That is long before this and the previous Commerce Minister, Axel Addy, were born. A few years ago Commerce Minister Miata Beysolow announced in her confirmation hearings before the Liberian Senate that she was going to implement the Liberianization Policy. How far did she get?
But we say without any fear of contradiction that this trouble is not new — it started long ago. Yet, the Apostle Paul tells us that we are “prisoners of hope” — hope in God Almighty that every problem under this sun can be solved.
Remember that before 1957 when Ghana gained its independence, the entire sub-Saharan Africa was colonized by the imperial powers—Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal and, before World War I, Germany (Cameroon, Tanzania and Namibia).
We also know how long the racist Boers, exponents of the Dutch, German and French Huguenots (European Protestants), ruled South Africa with racist brutality. They arrived there in 1662 and established the Union of South Africa in 1910.
A series of wars ensued between them and the British, the colonial power. But by 1948 the Boers were ready to declare their racist nationalist ideology, apartheid, which means “separate development.” From then on they embarked upon their racist domination of the African majority.
But the African National Congress (ANC), born as a non-violent movement in 1912, later under its young new leader Nelson Mandela, a lawyer, began to wage an armed struggle. President Tubman invited Mandela to Liberia in the early 1960s and gave him financial support for his cause and also money to help take care of his family.
Not long thereafter, through the instrumentality of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Boers arrested Mandela and imprisoned him for 27 years. But that, too, came to an end when he was released from prison in 1990, and the Liberation of South Africa became unstoppable—and the white racists knew it.
The ANC was quickly unbanned, and the election that followed gave Mandela overwhelming victory. South Africa was liberated and Mandela became its first black President! A long time in coming, wasn’t it?
But it came at last. It is now a matter of time before much of the rich farmland, which the whites have been holding on to for centuries, is ceded to the black majority, just as it was in Zimbabwe a few years ago. A very long time coming, but it is coming!
One more historical lesson: They used to say a while back that “when the English were wearing skins, the Phoenicians, great, grandfathers of the Lebanese, were controlling the seas.” And yet, as time went on, who became the world’s great imperial power, controlling nearly three quarters of the globe, including India, other parts of Asia, China and Africa?
Not the Phoenicians or Lebanese, but the English, inhabitants of a tiny island in Western Europe, founders of the British Empire. Why are we saying all this? Only to offer proof to the ancient saying, “What man has done, man can still do.” So yes, Liberia is today being dominated by foreigners. But the day we are ready, it will all change—and it can change in an instant, once we are ready!
A quick question: Can Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh and our new President, George Weah, make it happen? As we said to President Weah in yesterday’s Editorial, the quickest way to end poverty in Liberia is to empower Liberians to play a more meaningful role in business in their own country.
Unlike the foreign businesspeople, Liberians in business would reinvest their money right here, not in Lebanon, India and elsewhere. Liberian businesspeople would empower their fellow Liberians to expand their business up country.
That is what Nimba entrepreneur Tomah Z. Floyd is doing right now. He started his business in Sanniquellie and is now big in Ganta where he owns hotels and other businesses. He is the only Liberian in the wholesale business in Clara Town, Monrovia.
It is a matter of time before he invests in Grand Gedeh, River Gee and other south eastern counties.
We hear you, Minister Tarpeh, when you say you want to enforce the Liberianization Policy. We are ready to help you and our President to make this happen.
We are ready to do all we can to fulfill our and most Liberians’ lifelong dream, to help our people take business more seriously and begin to play a more substantial and meaningful role in business.
Let us begin NOW!