Friday, July 30, 2010


07/30/2010 - FPA EDITORIAL

Source:  FrontPage Africa

ALEX TYLER AND CLETUS WOTORSON have two things in common these days: They both head bodies in the National legislature in post-war Liberia and both happen to be presiding over what is probably the most controversial piece of legislation in post-war Liberia, Threshold Bill viewed by many as a key component to the holding of the much-anticipated elections in 2011.

AFTER MONTHS wrangling over the legislation, House Speaker Alex Tyler recently called on the National Elections Commission to go ahead in making preparations for the holding of Legislative and Presidential elections later next year as members of both the Senate and the House moved to adopt a joint resolution to pass the controversial Threshold Bill with no county losing a seat while deciding that an additional nine seats will be awarded to five counties(Montserrado, Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Bassa).

THE SETTLEMENT yet to be set in stone leaves many unanswered questions and appears far from solving the Threshold dilemma.

TYLER’S VERDICT is already turning heads and is not sitting well with many of his peers in the House of Representatives. At least twenty senators signed the resolution and twenty-two Representatives voted to adopt the resolution which may lead to another try of signature from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who had previously vetoed the bill.

BESIDES the possibility of Sirleaf not signing the bill in its current state, some members of the House of Representatives have threatened to go to court on the Threshold Subject claiming that Speaker and some members of the Legislature were attempting to provide seats for constituencies where there should be no seats at the expense of the constitution of the Republic of Liberia.

TWO OF THOSE Representatives, Eugene Fallah Kparkar of Lofa County and Gabriel Smith of Grand Bassa County and Chairman of the House Elections Committee said they will move to the Supreme Court to seek redress on what they say is a deliberate attempt by their colleagues to circumvent the law.

IRONICALLY, the Senate resolution is suggesting that members of the Legislature among other things: “that the 64 electoral districts set-up and used by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the conduct of 2005 presidential and Legislative elections shall remain constant. But for the purpose of the 2011 presidential and Legislative elections, each county shall retain the existing number of seats it has in the House of Representatives, except the counties of Bassa, Bong, Margibi, Montserrado and Nimba. Accordingly, nine (9) additional constituencies are hereby prescribed and established. The National Elections Commission shall reapportion such constituencies herein prescribed to the Counties specifically named in the resolution based on the fraction of a percentage contribution of the current seats each of the county herein named above to their total number of seats in the Legislature.”

SO WHERE do we go from here? It appears the bill is still in neutral gear with both Wotorson and Tyler apparently unable to break the ice and show leadership on the issue.

MILLIONS OF DOLLARS has been pledged by the United States of America to ensure that the 2011 elections is held in a peaceful and non-violent atmosphere. United States of America Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton during a recent visit to Liberia as part of a five African nation tour announced the US$17.5 million support from the United States of America to Liberia to strengthen the democracy of the post war country. Ironically, the most tension so far has come from elected lawmakers who should be responsible and show leadership by bringing this controversial legislation to a swift conclusion. So far, both Wotorson and Tyler have been toying with their peers.

JAMES FROMOYAN, Chairman of the National Elections Commission has persistently described the delay in the passage of the electoral threshold bill currently stalled at the National Legislature as one of the major hurdles to elections in 2011. “The fact that the National Legislature has not yet acted on this critical threshold bill is a major setback for the NEC work and we are of the conviction that the lawmakers will see wisdom in passing this bill without further delay”, the NEC Chairman appealed recently.

THE ELECTIONS Commission boss could not have been more right as he said, “We are already behind time, so it is important for them to pass this bill for us to begin doing the delineation of constituencies”.

THE BALL has been in the court of the Senate and House for sometime now. Passage of this bill is long overdue. Mr. Wotorson and Mr. Tyler must muster the courage to convince their peers about the urgency of the bill and end the playing game over an important piece of legislation now swirling in debates and uncertainty. If both leaders failed to deliver as they have done so far, they owe it to their constituents and the people of Liberia to step aside and give way to someone who can deliver. The looming 2011 elections will be much different from 2005 and those with seats on the line better watch out. Liberians will not be repeating the mistakes of 2005. It is about time that lawmakers recognize, take notice and pay heed to the cries of their people.

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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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