Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No Political Ambition? Woods Rules Out Being Ellen's Running Mate, 'Options Open'

Political Ambition

Samuel Kofi Woods who made his name as an advocate before turning tables for a government job is one of a handful of current government officials being tipped to run on the 2011 Unity party ticket as a running mate to incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. In the wake of the speculations, Woods is finally breaking his silence, dismissing an immediate interest in political office but strongly declaring that he is exploring his options and leaving them open.
Absoluteness belongs to God

In the midst of strong and continual speculations, coupled with some public perception that Woods could bevSirleaf's running mate come 2011 - and that he is eyeing the presidency, the former Labor Minister now Minister of Public Works Boss has for the first time publicly said that he has no political ambition but his will remain open, given the fact that he does not want to be absolute because according to him, absoluteness belongs to God.

Addressing speculations that he is being enticed with a membership of the ruling UP as an initial step that would see him taking up the likely-post of the party's vice presidential slot on its 2011 ticket, Woods denied ever being approached by any party executive or member, including President Sirleaf on the matter.

“Is that what they say?” he asked with outburst laughter. “No, no. I've not been offered any UP membership, except that there are plans of me being approached on the issue”, he clarified.

When further pressed on what would be his option in case a UP membership, wrapped in a vice presidential slot, comes flying-by as a golden package to him, he said: “Well, it depends on the circumstances and the time of it. Actually, I now want to spend more time with my kids and my family and other things like, book writings and lecturing. But as I said, I leave my option open”.

Woods said that when such a time comes, he would make an appropriate decision but his pre-occupation rests on the huge tasks resting on the Ministry of Public Works where he has already begun receiving positive grading from the public who voted his ministrywhere has spent just seven monthsas the best ministry of the year 2009 on a popular radio show.

The Minister of Public Works, coming from student activism to national advocacy, was introduced by President Sirleaf to work directly as a government official during the early days of the Unity Party-led government.

He was first appointed by President Sirleaf and subsequently confirmed by the Liberian Senate in 2006 as the UP Government's first Minister of Labor an appointment seen at the time by many as an embarrassment to the man whose advocacy had been very critical on past national governments, especially on labor and other human abuse issues.

The Liberian Leader then transferred him to the then troubled-Ministry of Public Works in May of 2006 after the Ministry was engulfed with acts of corruption, replacing the then embattled Minister of Public Works, Loseni Donzo, who is now an advisor on the hastily arranged post of Presidential Advisor on Infrastructure.

Leaving Room for Political Ambition

Woods, during an exclusive FrontPageAfrica interview, said, “I have no ambition in politics but I leave my options open”. The minister-advocate however said that he will not be definite on the issue, which means that turning to a political ambition cannot be completely ruled out of his mind as, according to him, the world has a way of turning dreams and vision around.

“I don't have a desire now to say that I will be contesting a political office, but I leave my options open because I will not be absolute”, he said. Woods further continued by adding, “I will not be absolute because absoluteness is with God”.

The minister added that since he does not know what might motivate him in the next years to come, he will not completely rule out the possibility of him contesting the Presidency or any key political office in the future. He cited what he called his dramatic-career swap from that of his college ambition of being a civil engineer to one of a lawyer as a case-in-point from which he has learned to not make absolute statements.

Following the path of Woods, it is normal in the typical Liberian setting that any individual trending such path on both the national and international levels would want to ascend to a political post, with the Liberian Presidency, the highest political seat, being no exception.

Serving as a student leader at the University of Liberia (UL) and Executive Director of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) of Liberia, Woods was the founding Director of the once-vocal Catholic-owned Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) where he took his advocacy for human rights and other abuses to the highest level with many thinking that he was having his eyes on the governmental circle.

With his appointment as President Sirleaf's first Labor Minister, some political observers were convinced that Woods had finally found his entry into national government as the stepping stone to gradually ascending to the Executive Mansion. This was further bolstered by his acceptance of the ministerial posts which many had previously argued he would reject and continue in the direction of advocacy.

Desire to serve country

In recent weeks, Woods has been dubbed as President Sirleaf's 'correction fluid' when he was asked to take over the image-tainted Ministry of Public Works apparently following a good performance and probably an impressive job at the Labor Ministry. Woods has since been placed in the perfect position of overseeing one of the major challenge of the ruling party- road rehabilitation and construction which remains very vital to Sirleaf's election pledge and re-election.

Woods said that his commitment and dedication to working hard is not aimed at any political position but rather on his desire to serve his country.

“I'm not serving my people only with the goal of wanting to be president of Liberia or with a political ambition in mind, but I'm serving our people because of the call to service”, Woods declared.

The minister boasted of serving Liberians in the past with dedication when he worked on other non-governmental organizations (NGO's) prior to taking up a governmental post.

On his political future, Woods appear to be buying his time, suggesting that time will tell. Political observers are keenly watching to see what happens in the near future. In his capacity as Minister of Public Works, Woods has been familiarizing himself in various counties and ensuring that the government fulfills its pledge to the people. Though he was a successful advocate, what remains uncertain is whether such success could be translated when he fully considers the presidential quest in the future or as UP vice-presidential slot in 2011. For many political observers, Woods has left open not only his options but the political future, which from all indication points to a long-waiting game mired in uncertainty for the advocate minister.

Source: http://www.frontpageafrica.com/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=10480

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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