Alfred P.B. Kiadii
Transition is the active vocabulary of Liberians in the politically cycle, as a result, the word has become a threadbare cliché due to overuse and sometimes deliberate misuse. It is almost eight decades since our country made such democratic milestone. Whether it will happen in this year is something to be seen, as the outcome of the process has been contested, thus leaving many to wonder whether the legal process will conclude in time for the runoff to be held.
Analysts are saying if this scene in our democratic process occurred, it indicates how firm our democratic is being rooted, and how our institutions of governance are becoming solid, stressing that the nation is gradually living up to the true essence of democratic norms. However, it is important to emphasize that democratic rights without the economic independence of the people is completely meaningless. It is a truism that the latter entrench the former and it is its lifeblood. The two have to be complementary in order for the former to flourish and blossom.
Whether this is anything to go by remains to be seen in the coming days, as four political parties have contended that the October polls were mired with systemic fraud and rampant irregularities that undermined the will of the Liberian people and compromised the outcome of the process. On the other hand, the National elections Commission has come in sharp defense of its imploding credentials. The NEC has consistently maintained that the elections were free, fair, and transparent.
The parties contending the authenticity of the result sought to use the legal means to channel their grievances. Initially, the National Elections Commission was lethargic to hear the case, as NEC decided to conduct the second round of the polls even though the Liberty Party filled a case before it. It took the nation’s Supreme Court told NEC to rescind on its arrogance and mandated it to hear the case of the contending parties.
When the dust finally settled and the National Elections Commission decided to listen to the case, before the start of it all, the incompetent Chairman of the National Election Commission in Jerome Kokoyah took to the airwaves in a façade of a response to render verdict on the case before trial. This singular but monumental faux pas compromises the fairness of the outcome of the matter and thus renders the hearing compromised, as it was to end up in the favor of the National Elections Commission.
As it stands, the Supreme Court is the last point for the matter to be settled. The contending parties, after the board of commissioners of the National Elections Commission upheld the ruling of the hearing officer, filed an appeal to the Supreme Court so the matter can be adjudicated. All eyes are on the Supreme Court to provide an impartial opinion on the issue, as the credibility of the polls hang in the balance.
Highlights of the Tenure of EJS
Africa’s first elected female leader in Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s tenure is gradually winding down, the election to get her successor has been littered with pre and post-election anomalies, ranging from poor management of the election by the National Elections Commission to systemic fraud.
On the morning of January 16, 2006, Liberians were full of exhilaration as some monitored from the wireless the inauguration of a lady whose life was committed to the struggle for total inclusion. Like all people coming from a fratricidal civil insurrection, our people were hopeful that the new government will dawn on them a vista of opportunities, deliver basic social services, place a dent in poverty, and roll out policy prescriptions geared at transforming their livelihood for the better.
For the most part of her regime, the aid darling in President Sirleaf was successful at mobilizing the international community behind the cause of the homeland. Many thought the unprecedented goodwill showered on Liberia by the International community would have been used to engage in capital expenditure initiatives so as to open the country, diversify the economy, and put the country on an irreversible path of development.
After eleven years at the helm of leadership, little has been done to improve the quality of life of our people in the rural areas and the urban Bantustans. The standard of living of our people is at an appalling low ebb, while access to basic social services remains a hallucination for dreamland. The happiness on the faces of the people when President Sirleaf took over has metamorphosed into grimaces. The literate and illiterate poles of our populations are in a constant state of winding about the hardship and the level of systemic poverty in the homeland.
A country with approximately 4.5 million people, far lesser than the population of Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, Abidjan, etc., with copious natural resources, massive marine existence, colossal ecological reserve and arable land, yet our people have been bruised by poverty on a wholesale. Yet the rate of infant mortality is on the increase. Yet the ratio of medical doctor to n patient is at 1 doctor: 15,000 patience, far exceeding the ceiling of the world Health organization.
Our country lags behind at the lowest ebb of social indicator of global comparison; it is positioned at 177 out of 188 counties and territories. Inequality is not only pernicious but also pervasive, and it is eating our population. Our country has a gini coefficient 0.32, signaling a huge disparity in the distribution of wealth. The average Liberians are terminally poor, while rogue elements continue to run amok with ill-gotten wealth.
On top of this, according to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, economic growth experienced a sharp decline from 8.7% in FY 2012/2013 to less than 1% in 2014, while the fiscal deficit stood at 8.4 percent of GDP in 2015. The total revenue slump from 23.5 percent in GDP in 2014 to 20.5 percent in 2016. The slump in the prices of Liberia’s chief export products in iron ore and rubber, compounded by the negative balance of payment and the whooping exchange rates, are all attendant consequences of the great decline on a wholesale.
Wailing odyssey is an apt description of the recurring constraints confronting the homeland, bartered on all sides, the Liberians dream is essentially a façade. The founding ethos of the land has been deserted, as each group sees patriotism as an anathema. It is now clear that the nation lags behind because elements in the political class are preoccupied with effortlessly acquiring wealth in a frenzy.
A tenderpreneur like rogue Jenny Bernard-Sirleaf owns supermarket chains and amasses millions while our people rummage dumpsites, take to crime, and indulge in unspeakable activities to obtain a livelihood. While elements in the first family has embarked on a great resource rush never before seen in the history of modern civilization, the nation bleeds on all fronts.
Scheming to rise to stardom in the political class with its handmaid of dishonesty sums up the modus operandi of the ideological degenerates that call the shots in the polity of this republic. To them either the masses are cannon fodder that should be bamboozled in order to attain political clout and amass wealth or they should always fall victim to the ploy of pillage and plunder.
The book “No Longer at Ease” is instructive about the unfolding reality in the homeland. Thus, the insatiable penchant for material possession is not the result of the diagnosis of the Liberian nightmare, but the symptom of a rancid putridity that backpedals the nation backwards. Liberians are corrupt through and through is now a threadbare cliché, as the social misfits that engage in the enterprise are the ones who are the leading figures in the polity.
In all of this the society has degenerated to the level where the African tradition of care is considered anachronism by economic parasites; the village community custom of sharing is repudiated as a primordial African lifestyle, while the idea of caring for the collective is airbrushed as a facilitation of laziness.
In order to cover the thieving enterprise with a veneer of deceit, the organized religion tell the people that the cause of poverty is God, and they justify this statement by echoing a phrase they attribute to Jesus about the poor, stressing that Christ intimated that the poor I leave here with you. Instead of the earthly misconduct of parasites in officialdom be the reason for the grinding poverty of the people, spiritual pretext is used to justify the malfeasance of the elites, because some establishment churches benefit from the looting enterprise.
A suffering people lurk in the manly affliction now turn to a supernatural deity to solve the creation of an elite with voracious appetite that plunges the nation into economic neurosis. Like all people living in unspeakable terror of corruption, they run amok in religious fundamentalism to seek remedy to a problem that can be resolved by patriotism. In the center of it all, quack prelates start to exploit them anew.