Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Liberia: Tipoteh On Ellen's Back


When President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf quietly but flashily assessed and dedicated several development projects in Nimba and Bong counties as a lead-up to Sanniquellie 2010, few raised eyebrows; but supporters hailed her as pragmatic and 'having the people at heart'.

Now those who raised eyebrows - one of them being Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh - are becoming vocal, warning of possible irregularities in the 2011 polls unless the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Liberian people stood up against the violation of electoral guidelines and the reemergence of "old bad politics". The Analyst, reports.

Former presidential contender Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh has accused President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of campaigning illegally thereby "spoiling" the 163rd Independence Day Celebrations in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, as was the case in many prior instances.

He described the President's action as "the same old bad politics" and called on the Liberian people and NEC to react appropriately to ensure that she does not extend the practice to the 2011 general and presidential elections.

The lifetime chairman of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA), who is also the standard-bearer of the opposition Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD) and presidential candidate-apparent, made the observations when addressed a press briefing, over the weekend, in the Point 4 Community on Bushrod Island.

He said instead of providing patriotic leadership to motivate the Liberian people and friends of Liberia to appreciate the message of the Independence Day Orator and the projects unveiled, President Sirleaf chose to put her political campaign for a second term, started over a year ago, above national interest.

The veteran political activist claimed that from the intercessory service to the dedicatory services in Nimba County, the President presided over choruses, charting the course for second term through 2011 presidential and General elections.

He did not say exactly how the President conducted the campaign and how it affected the quality and sanctity of the celebrations vis-à-vis arousing the patriotic spirit of the citizenry, but he was adamant that what happened in Sanniquellie was a major challenge to Liberia's new political dispensation.

According to him, President Sirleaf conducted the "illegal political campaign" in the full view of officials of NEC and Liberia's foreign friends, who he said were providing huge sums of money, including the funding of the new NEC Headquarters, to promote free, fair, and democratic elections in 2011.

Taking into consideration what happened in Sanniquellie and what had happened prior to that without NEC's reaction, Dr. Tipoteh said, he doubted that the 2011 elections would be free, fair, transparent, and democratic.

This was mainly because, according to him, the President's illegal activities were being ignored even as she used state funds to perpetrate them at the detriment of the sanctity of Liberia's electoral system.

He did not also say which law - electoral or otherwise - the President violated by declaring her candidacy just like other opposition leaders have already done, but he recalled past occasions during which he claimed she diverted national attention to personal political agendas.

He recalled that the President successfully transformed the Belleh Yallah Road Opening ceremonies into a political campaign with Unity Party partisans in their party T-shirts and lappas lining the route to receive their 'first partisan'.

Besides the Belleh Yallah incident, after which the President received a petition from the citizens of the area to run for second term, she "unconstitutionally and illegally" turned the solemn occasion of the delivery of the 2010 Annual Message to the National Legislature into a political rally when she declared her intention to run for second term, Tipoteh said.

Again during that time, he recalled, UP partisans donning party T-shirts and lappas and waving welcoming posters and portraits of the President, were on hand at the Capitol Building to hail her exploits.

What was surprising, he said, was that the outcry that preceded that political gaffe did not deter the President from consistently turning national occasions into the opportunity to push her second term agenda, neglecting to realize that she was breaching the laws.

The ADP presidential candidate-apparent then regretted that a president of Liberia, who had declared full commitment to enforce the constitution of Liberia and to abandon the all-powerful executive presidency and adopt zero tolerance for corruption, was now brazenly flouting the law without remorse - while using government resources to pursue personal agenda.

The Economics professor told the press that the President's exercises in impunity should remind Liberians of the bad politics of the past, which led Liberia to a civil war described locally and internationally as "senseless".

In the past, according to Dr. Tipoteh whose political opposition spanned the Tubman, Tolbert, Doe, and Taylor administrations, government officials seeking to improve their personal welfare lied to the president, saying that all was well and that another term for the president would make things better.

He lamented that if only the government officials had told the truth, the administrations of the day would have taken appropriate steps to prevent the civil war that followed.

Unfortunately, like before, he said, government officials today were making the same terrible mistakes of the past, telling the President that Liberia would be better off only and only if she sought second term to complete what she has started, as if the President did not base her programs and activities on plans that can be implemented in her absence.

Dr. Tipoteh, who prefers to be dubbed "The Only Man on the Ground" - for not running into exile as other politicians did during the civil war - said he chose to expose the 'ugly deals' of the President because that was the most patriotic thing to do now as the Liberian people look forward to a free, fair, and transparent democratic elections in October 2011.

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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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