Minor’s Oration: A Surgical Incision

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This year’s Independence day orator is to be congratulated for the forth rightness, yet balance, with which he delivered this year’s 26 Day oration. For a diplomat, Minor called a spade a spade and made a surgical incision that went straight to the heart of the nation’s problems.

Applauses were few and far between; but in surgery, that is to be expected. He was obviously not after popularity but after the cancer ravaging the nation. Surgeons don’t usually get thanked anyway until the wound has healed.

Minor’s incision exposed the cancer in government as well as the private sector. The cancer of corruption, he asserted, exists at every level of society. Those who criticized past governments over corruption and other vices took office only to repeat the same errors as those they criticized, he pointed out.

When he lectured the legislature on the meaning of good stewardship, a pin drop could be heard.

Too often, these speeches are manicured to be delivered with the highest degree of political correctness. No one wants to step on toes. Not that important issues are not addressed; but the core issues that go straight to the heart of the nation’s problems are left untouched or are at best superficially glossed over. A sort of political paracetamol is administered to deal with the symptoms while the root causes remain intact.

Minor’s oration spoke to the government official and to the ordinary man – both of whom understood exactly what “chopping” meant. The truths he spoke shed radiation on the cancerous cells of corruption. “Many individuals desperately search for jobs, but their intention is not to carry out the functions of the job. They mainly seek means to obtain money. As soon as they can, they begin to make profits on the job… This attitude of extra “chopping,” is becoming a measure of how good a job is. Paymasters must “chop” something from the employees they pay. Service providers expect fat extra tips that exceed their daily wages or even their salaries. Employees are found to be leaving their jobs if those jobs provide no opportunity for “chopping!” Civil servants expect lunch money to enable them to render the service they are engaged to render. Even some agencies of Government are now making provision for “facilitation” fees in their budget and expenditure accounting to ensure they can payoff whoever needs to be paid off for the entities to accomplish their mission. Those attitudes and practices cannot be parts of the foundation blocks for accelerated development in our society.”

Perhaps the best part of the surgery, however, was the cleanup session, where the Independence Day orator provided a slew of solutions to the problems he enumerated. The solutions he offered were practical, achievable and sustainable.

Now it is up to the patient, Liberia, to take the post-surgery medication prescribed and to follow Doctor’s orders to the letter for fullest recovery. We hope that officials of government will not take personal exception to the oration but will see it as an opportunity that catapults us into to the change we say we want.

As we say in Liberia, God does not come down to talk to people. He sends people.

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