|Presidential aspirant TQ Harris|
Presidential aspirant TQ Harris has cautioned the international community against imposing a fixed solution on the Liberia people based on what he called classic formulas.
Mr. Harris who conducted a press conference last week to address 12 core issues, which he believed were at the bottom of Liberia’s backwardness, however called for the involvement of the international community in solving some critical problems facing the nation.
As the nation goes to the polls later this year to elect new officials, he said, it was important that those who wanted to help lift Liberia out of the abyss of poverty understood the hopes and aspirations of the people.
“As preparations are underway for presidential and legislative elections and the citizenry eagerly looks forward to a new beginning that marks the end of war, senseless violence, lawlessness, impunity and moral decadence; it is important that voters and the international community are reminded of issues weighing heavily on the progress of this nation,” he said.
Even though he fell short of saying what the purpose of the 2011 elections was, he insisted that there was a purpose that must be made clear lest the electoral process turned out a national rat race in futility.
“So we say to all those desiring the best for the Liberian people that you please listen…and listen attentively…to what is being communicated in our unique style and fashion. Do not attempt to impose remedies, or exhibit biases in your good intentions to contribute to Liberia’s reconstruction,” he said, adding that Liberia was too old to adjust to classic formulas.
Again, he did not say what “classic formulas” means, but he warned that it would be wrong to interpret the absence of political protests and poverty-provoked street violence as the absence of disillusionment in the country.
The presidential aspirant, who attributed the prevailing peace in Liberia to the resilience of the people, then thanked the international community for actively engaging in the nation’s recovery efforts in the areas of security, economic resuscitation, and reconstruction.
“We thank you for contributing to the overall revitalization of the country,” he said.
The presidential aspirant has meanwhile called on the Liberian government to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) without further delay.
He said the recommendations offer the best opportunity to end the era of violence and launch Liberia into the age of sustained peace, stability, and economic prosperity.
“Therefore, we strongly suggest that decisions are taken on this matter before the start of official campaigning,” he said, perhaps ignoring counter opinions that the holistic implementation of the TRC recommendations may actually drive the nation back into chaos rather than redeem it from its ruckus past.
Such opinions often refer to the TRC recommendation that sanctions the summary debarment of some 50 renowned Liberian politicians from national leadership for 30 years without the due process of law as provided for under Article 20 9(a) of the Constitution of Liberia.
Analysts say it will take several years and series of national debates before Liberians understand the full impact of the holistic or selective implementation of the TRC recommendations.
By then, they say, the roles of national security, poverty, intra- and inter-relations, and vindictiveness in the search for justice or reconciliation will be clear.
Meanwhile, TQ Harris says Liberian oppositions can do this much to create a leveled-playing field as a way of making more meaningful the 2011 presidential and legislative elections – “for the sake of national healing, field one presidential candidate and a combined single slate of legislative candidates in the upcoming elections”.
He did not say whether any such consensus is possible within the highly polarized opposition, but he said the international community, with the cooperation of the Liberian government, could support such amalgamation in recognition of the sacrifice of creating such an electoral field.
Still on the election question, Mr. Harris has expressed the need for NEC to expand the pool of qualified voters by registering individuals who would turn 18 before the voting date in October this year.
Regarding gender issue, Mr. Harris has called for an affirmative action that would put women on par with their male counterparts, noting that the height to which this nation ascends must be determined by the level to which its women are elevated.
He did not say whether this, plus his concern for adequate food production, adequate commercial transportation, upgraded road networks, and the rehabilitation and employment of ex-combatants should be addressed under the current administration.
But he noted that the achievement of these feats held the key to the eradication of abject poverty. “The current level of poverty throughout Liberia is unsustainable, and it must be addressed now,” he said.
He then called on the Sirleaf Administration to overhaul immediately the criminal justice system, prompting observers to wonder whether the presidential aspirant was out of touch with realities on the ground or whether he was simply playing the devil’s advocate.