The preventable horror and terror of the January 19, 2022 stampede in the Borough of Kloh Day-day Kpor (a.k.a. New Kru Town) motivated me to write this Commentary on the State of the People 2022. According to the Chief Medical Officer of Redemption Hospital in the Borough, 29 persons, including 11 children and a pregnant woman, died in the stampede. The horror and terror in Kloh Day-day Kpor, among other scary situations, like the deaths from land disputes in Montserrado and Margibi Counties, not forgetting the longstanding land dispute in Nimba County, mean that the State of the People of Liberia is not sound and stable.
Seventy years ago, other children and I were on the Old Kru (Krao but wrongly called Kru) Town Beach swimming and taking time off to pupu and peepee. Although Kloh Daka Kpor is now moved to Kloh Day-day Kpor, from old to new, the beach is still used for the same old purposes!! I am not asking for excuse in using the ‘p’ and ‘p’ words in the previous sentence because I want to communicate this particular message well. This is why the Elders say in Kraowihn that Nyihnpor-tay geepo chehdehdeh keh ee say torh blay (some people know book but they have no sense). Hopefully, this Commentary will help to prevent preventable problems through the sharing of knowledge.
The People of Liberia are clear when they say that they want Peace and No More War because of their bitter experience in the coup d'etat and the Civil War that took the lives of 300,000 persons (ten per cent of the population of Liberia at the time), damaged billions of dollars of infrastructure and left unrecovered to pre-war level the Liberian economy.
The longstanding and widespread poverty in Liberia has become the pretext for violence, including coup d'etat and Civil War. The People of Liberia want to prevent the bitter experience of War from coming back!!!
The People of Liberia remain in the state of poverty with no systemic approach to ending systemic corruption. There is boasting about the boosting of national revenue. But in the midst of corruption, revenue and national budget boosting necessarily means more corruption. Presently, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is investigating itself for the conflict of interest allegation against its Deputy Commissioner. LACC is also investigating the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia for the allegation in the misuse of funds involving the Chairperson of NEC. This is a situation of Pot Calling Tea Kettle Black!!
From credible data on the state of the People, we can see clearly that Legislators, who should be representing the interest of the voters, have access to at least USD1,000 a day and their foreign partners, in the commercial sector alone, have access to USD2 million a day while over eighty per cent of the People of Liberia have access to at most less than USD2 a day (Annual Reports of CBL, MFDP, MCI, LISGIS, ADB, UNDP, WB and IMF). Additionally, the People of Liberia think that Liberia is headed in the wrong direction (Afrobarometer, 2020).
Moreso, two-thirds of the children of Liberia who should be in school are not in school (UNICEF, 2019, UNDP, 2021). When they go to school, many of them sit on the gravel floor, even in the Capital City Monrovia. These children are sitting on gravel floors when Liberia's logs are being exported to foreign countries, leaving Liberia with no prioritization of Value Addition. With the prioritization of Value Addition, logs would be used to make local furniture and employment would be boosted to generate income for poverty alleviation rather than poverty generation through the present system of extraction of raw materials for export. Liberia continues to be a Beggar State when Liberia has a solution to the Climate Change Problem, as seen in the immense forests that can take in carbon dioxide (gas emissions) and give out carbon monoxide (oxygen). But Liberia continues to produce logs for export and is not engaged in significant reforestation, making Liberia a Beggar State as Liberia goes out to international financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF, begging for money.
Experience has taught some of us correctly that the MESS that Liberia is in can be turned around for the better through Community Ownership of the Anti-MESS process. This experience comes from the ending of the ebola crisis in Liberia. The Servants of Africa Fighting Ebola (SAFE), now Servants of Africa Fighting Epidemics (SAFE) has directly reached one and half million Liberians through the raising of awareness in the Community. As the corona pandemic continues, SAFE has to intensify its efforts by continuing to stress the need for hand washing, mask wearing and the observance of social distance. We must end the MESS by beginning with ourselves and our neighborhoods. Then we go to the garbage infested markets and the overcrowded commercial vehicles, not forgetting the places of worship, sports and other public places.
No wonder there is the saying that Liberia is in a MESS. This saying came out of the observation of Liberia's education system. The educational system of Liberia continues to be westernized. When we do not know about Liberia, we cannot solve the problems of Liberia. Western culture, not Liberian culture, continues to dominate national decision making in Liberia and this is why Liberia remains in a MESS.
But the MESS can be transformed into the BEST provided that there is the Will for transformation, the Will for relevant change. This Will for transformation does not exist in the powers that be because they are driven by greed. This Will can come about through the sharing of knowledge in ways that motivate people to take actions within the Rule of Law, as provided by the Constitution of Liberia, to transform the UNFAIR National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia into a FAIR entity in order for persons with poverty alleviation records to be elected into public positions to take actions that lead to poverty alleviation, thereby preventing violence. NEC remains UNFAIR because of: 1. its flawed, uncleaned registration roll; 2. lack of citizenship tests for NEC Commissioners and Candidates; 3. foreigners to vote and allowing citizens to vote outside of their registered areas; 4. lack of vetting of NEC Voting Centers Representatives and 5. the personalization of decision making. The unconstitutionality of NEC went to the Supreme Court of Liberia (SCL) in the Case of Tipoteh versus Korkoya (Mr. Jerome Korkoya, former NEC Chairperson). After two years, the SCL says that it is not prepared to give a ruling on the Case. Not a single national leader from the religious entities, the political parties, the business sector and the government has given support for this Case!!!