Now, Liberians Are Showing What Their True Desires Are

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The confirmation hearing in the Senate in recent days has brought to public hearing what people in the Liberian society really want to see happening. Critiquing the credentials and deportment of the nominees, the Senate took everything into consideration — academic, experience, vision for the domain to be occupied and conduct in the public space.

And while it appeared to be a rather smooth-sailing process for Janine Cooper, Liberia’s new Agriculture Minister who convinced the Senate that she has the knowledge, experience and comportment for the post, the Senate appears not so convinced about Tarplah Davis, who was nominated for the position of Deputy Defense Minister for Operations. Davis’ rants on social media that he would kill any protester who would destroy his properties now appears to be dampening his prospects for confirmation to the position.

The public is also keen to know what the Senate will do in Davis’ case, as many previous confirmations brought unqualified characters into positions of public trust. Any outcome that will favor Davis, as far as views are concerned, may have an adverse effect, especially on those Senators who are going to election in October this year.

Concerns raised by the public now about doing the right thing and voters threatening lawmakers with dismissal during election seem to be diverting the traditional motive for electing public officials in Liberia.  Electorates are keener now to get the right person in the right position who will do the right things, instead of through frivolous sentiments, be they tribal, emotional or otherwise, which have wrought some painful lessons.

Liberians for years have always made public decisions in an election on the basis of kinship or kind (money or bags of rice), party or individual loyalty, and other motivations without taking into account what the person can do to impact the general welfare of all.

Perhaps the most notable issues-based election Liberians had ever was the 1985 presidential election.  At that time, voters overwhelmingly voted the political leader of the Liberia Action Party (LAP), Jackson F. Doe, against the leader of the ruling military junta, Samuel K. Doe, whom voters accused of being tyrannical and brutal in his leadership. That election was rigged in favor of Samuel K. Doe and, five years later, the nation was plunged into a war that cost a quarter of a million lives.

After the 14-year war, Liberians began exercising their civic rights in earnest again, without the threat of regressing to war. The elections to 2005 up to the last election of 2017, along with other by-elections, brought people on board not because of competence, but because of tribalism, individual loyalty, party loyalty and in most instances giving handouts for votes.

For instance, since 2005 people in Nimba County have voted Prince Johnson for the presidency on the basis of kinship and the senatorial position on tribal sentiment and war participation.  Members of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) have always voted on the basis party loyalty and love for George Weah, now President of Liberia, and this is why a lot of lawmakers in the House of Representatives are members of the CDC.  Fallen Liberian lawyer and political leader of the Liberty Party (LP), Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine first began drawing supporters to him through his identity as a Christian candidate and later via Bassa kinship.  He is on record for having said that “Bassa people must produce a President and they will beat dumboy in the Executive Mansion.”

Having lived with this traditional political nuisance for years, the trend appears to now be changing.  Liberians, regardless of political affiliation, kinship, or party want to see sincere, honest and principled people who will work in the country’s interest and depress self-aggrandizement, and this is where they are watching the Senate and the House now with eagle eyes.

Amid desire for honest, sincere and transparent people, one lawmaker that has landed on the fertile ground of public trust is Abraham Darius Dillon, Senator of Montserrado County.  While campaigning last year, Dillon promised to bring transparency and sanity to the Senate, and since he got elected in July 2018, he has convinced the public that he meant his words.  He promised to disclose his salary and other benefits to the public and not taking home more than US$5,000 monthly. After a month or two, he came out to disclose what his salary and benefits were, and he promised to commit the remaining money into Montserrado County’s account after taking his $5,000 monthly salary.

Not only has Dillon met up with his promise of salary reduction, his decision to disclose his salary and cut it down has caused other lawmakers who have been very confidential about their salaries and benefits, to do the same.

It is he in recent days who suggested that there should be no secret discussion on confirmation in the Senate.

The current political views in the media and public places now suggest that Liberians are getting out of party loyalty, kinship and tribalism that have strangulated the country’s progress for years and moving towards electing people conscious of justice, transparency, accountability, and rule of law.  In fact, a lot of views have said, “If we can have 15 of Dillon in the Senate things will be okay.”

The truth, therefore, is that Liberians were lost in the consciousness of doing what is right, but now experience has taught them to know; they were blind to honesty, sincerity, and transparency, but now they have realized that such virtues are the driving force to a better society and they are after them.

The growing demand for good people leaves no doubt that a lot of our Senators who have been in the public eyes for their deeds might have a slim to no chance of return after the October 2020 special senatorial election.

Yet, some remain skeptical, especially those who maintain that Dillon’s election to the Senate was merely a protest vote against the ruling establishment. Perhaps that may be true, but Dillon is up for re-election in October and how he fares might be a perfect litmus test of whether the election would be issues-based or a replay of the 1985 episode.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Webmaster,

    Thank you for your objective analysis of the Liberian electorates. I really love and appreciate your optimism for the October 2020 special senatorial election. If things turn out as you have predicted, some of us will go partying for an entire week. It would be the beginning of a great change in Liberia.

    My fingers are crossed. October may be far but not too far. If Liberians will finally decide on collective livelihood and hold their elected officials accountable, we will surpass most countries in the subregion in infrastructure development, economic boom and resourceful human capital.
    Our main stumbling blocks in Liberia are tribalism, nepotism and religious divisions.

    As for Mr. Tarplah Davis, everyone is watching the senate. They know our recent past. Such character could slip us back into it if not watched with an eagle eye. I personally think he should not have commands over our newly constructed army and police force.

  2. If Davis’ so-called “rants… now appears to be dampening his prospects for confirmation”, it would suggest govt. failed in critical ways. For instance, neglected to prepare him for the hearing; didn’t lobby enough on his behalf; and never arranged for him to meet with supportive senators before the hearing. And the only evidence for this editorial assumption is the nominee’s expression of the “Castle Doctrine” which provides one isn’t “obligated to retreat before defending against attack at one’s home, and said in the context of vigilantes burning down a police station and Henry Costa making terroristic threats of buying guns for old rebels to kill on his orders in bringing down a president over a radio station.

    How ironic that when a former US soldier talked of “stand your ground laws” while in America, there is a backlash we didnt hear when Defence Minister Samukai said “AFL had an option to use lethal or non-lethal force” about a planned protest against results of the 2011 presidential election. Incredibly, this statement was made at the Defense Ministry in the presence of then Minister of Sate -at- large Commany Wesseh, now Senator, and former National Security Adviser Dr. Boima H. Fahnbulleh. Liberia needs competent, credible, and courageous people in the security apparatus or otherwise our people will start fleeing again before 2023.

    • “Liberia needs competent, credible, and courageous people in the security apparatus or otherwise our people will start fleeing again before 2023.”

      Great!
      I agree with the above statement, but Liberia does NOT need disgruntle, peevish or churlish people commanding our women and men in arms.

  3. Petarus Dolo

    Hi Petarus, you are right on the target regarding some of Liberia’s socio-political blights: tribalism, nepotism, unabated corruption, and religious bigotry.

    Concerning Mr. Tarplah Davis, one needs to ask, “What is the source of his boldness to make such utterances?” He derives his boldness from Weah, the leader. Weah has set the pace both directly and indirectly for many of the social malaises the citizens are enduring now.

    The truth of my assertions can be found everyday in many organizations especially in workplaces of all kinds. For example: if a newcomer walks in a new work environment and finds out that sexism, racial discrimination, harassment, workplace violence, and so forth are going on, while the supervisor, does nothing to correct them, then whom to be blamed? The supervisor is the first person in the organization’s line of defense that people often draw attention to. Why?

    He is the head and for this reason, he has a lot of clout over those under his span of control; so, as a frontline manager, the ball is always in his court to promote the company’s policies with the utmost fierceness, force, and impartiality. The supervisor is the deterrence-in-chief.

    Bringing this analogy close to home, if only Weah had been the deterrence-in-chief from the beginning, Liberia would not have arrived to this depth the citizens have found themselves in, under his administration.

    Weah is the complete polar opposite of the dreams and aspirations of those who are wishing to see a united, prosperous Liberia. Many Liberians including some of his blind followers voted him in to combat corruption and instead, he has amplified corruption to a new level thus resulting in one of the worst standard of living of a marginalized people living in the sub-Saharan region; they voted him in to be a symbol of unity and instead, he has become a symbol of a disunited people with members of his tribe forming a Kru Defense Force thus arbitrarily apportioning to themselves security powers that can only be granted through constitutional mandates.

    So, like you, “I keep my fingers crossed,” and wait for the day when Liberians, in making national decisions, will awake from their sleep and begin to make the interests of their country number one and do away with the cult of the personality and the tribe.

  4. Despite the fact, choices of the presidency must bear in mind that they must bear in mind that EVERYTHING ABUT THE PRESIDENCY IS POLITICAL, HENCE, EVERY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE MUST THINK AND ACT POLITICALLY ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE CAPITOL, DAILY OBSERVER or Mr. Web Administrator YOU LIE like a cat or or dog when you claim that ”the Senate took everything into consideration — academic, experience, vision for the domain to be occupied and conduct in the public space.” ELITISM IS THE PROBLEM AND NOT TRIBALISM!

    What transpired between Coleman and Wisseh, and Davies the nominee was only a matter of POLITICKING OF ELITISM AGAINST THE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE!

    What Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said about ”leveling Monrovia and Liberia” is or was more dangerous from a person to occupy the presidency than what a mere deputy minister of defense said about protesters who threatened to drag the president through the streets!

    Are the likes of Peter Coleman and Commany Wisseh any supporters of the presidency? Those senators badmouthing the nominee are simply playing their party and elitist politics! And you know it! Stop LYING!

    Did you hear the very Peter Coleman, Commany Wisseh, or any editor including this Daily Observer John Stewart condemn such threatening statements from Henry Costa and his CoP??

    This writer or Webmaster Admin with his nose buried in the mud only knows about the problems of tribalism but not about the destructive dangers of elitism.

    He must be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to deceive himself that the Liberian people did not know or do not know the 2005 election and the 2011 elections were rigged and stolen respectively because of ELITISM.

  5. Wow!
    I will have to remind my boss, Alexander B. Cummings, of the immensity of the tasks that lie at hand. Not only should we develop our human capital and harness our resources for sustainable development, we also need to hire some of the best psychiatrists in the world to work on the trauma or derangement of some of our citizenry. Though superfluous expensive, we will underwrite them.
    The war had had really devastating effects on the Liberian populace.

    Dear God, you need to fortify us in the tasks that lie at ahead, Amen!

  6. Madam Kou Gontee, you are right to point out the hypocrisy on the part of the author of this article, and that of the elite, and that the problem we face as a nation is not tribalism but elitism!

    The Liberian elitism is an illness-spreading parasite. Elitism is a germ, germ carrier, an agent of political disease, a decomposing agent, fungus and maggot doing everything to destroy Liberia´s majority rule.

    Take for eample, Benoni Urey campaigning for the Masonic Craft to have SWAY over government policies and decisions, while almost 80 years old Bokai keeping speech from the then incumbent president because she refused to undemocratically and criminally use the election commission and her incumbent´s power to reverse the choice of THE MASSES for the sake of THE ELITE!

    The most effective political vaccination for this is THE CONTINUOUS AND ONWARD UNITY AND POLICIES OF THE PARTY AND COLITION OF THE MASSES – THE CONGRESS OF DEMOCRATIC CHANGE AND ITS COALITION OF DEMOCRATIC CHANGE!

    Truly, The Liberian elitism is an illness-spreading parasite. Elitism is a germ, germ carrier, an agent of political disease, a decomposing agent, fungus and maggot doing everything to destroy Liberia´s majority rule. And worst of all The Liberian elitism is an illness-spreading parasite!

  7. Dear Liberia : We must give God the Glory? Many Thanks to the Almighty for these Senators and Representatives : Yekeh Kolubah, Darius Dillon, Nyonble Karnga-Lawrence, Sando Johnson, Oscar Cooper, and a few others! Sadly, there is also Dictatorship with the Leadership in the House and Senate! Liberia, we need a CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, which must include Market Women and Men, Taxis, Buses, and Truck Drivers, Yanna Boys, Teachers, Money changers, Bankers, Educators, Lawyers, Doctors, Financial Managers, Auditors, Administrative Managers, etc etc! Our Government must respect the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia! Stop the stealing, Senior Government Officials! To our Senators and Representatives, you are the first Branch of Government! Please do your jobs faithfully for the people of Liberia!

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