Sunday, July 10, 2011

LIBERIA: T.Q. HARRIS JR. BECOMES FREEDOM ALLIANCE PARTY OF LIBERIA STANDARD BEARER

FAPL NEW STANDARD BEARER
T.Q. HARRIS JR.
TQ HARRIS ACCEPTANCE SPEECH DELIVERED AT

THE FREEDOM ALLIANCE PARTY NATIONAL CONVENTION
GBARNGA, BONG COUNTY

SATURDAY, JULY 9, 2011


SALUTATIONS:

I am pleased and indeed honored to accept your nomination and selection as the Standard Bearer of the Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia, especially in light of the fact that I am not the founder of this party, yet you have entrusted me with this high office. At a time when our country is in desperate need of institutions, FAPL certainly is a model worthy of emulation.

Let me begin by quoting this famous Latin Phrase that says: “AMAT VICTORIA CURAM.” Translation: Victory Loves Preparation.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been a lengthy preparation process and there is still much more that I have to learn, but the hour has come when I must advance to the next stage. For 22 years I have waited patiently for this moment while at the same time searching diligently for a man or woman capable of leading us out of this wilderness where for decades we have wandered aimlessly, but I have yet to find such a leader. Today, for me, the search is over. I WILL LEAD!

My journey began in 1990 as a humanitarian providing aid to Liberian refugees within the Sub-region and attending peace conferences organized by Liberians in the United States. Realizing at the time my knowledge of the issues was limited I always sat at the back of the room. Gradually I worked my way towards the front…asking questions and taking in every bit of available information. It wasn’t long before I was called to the podium and asked to speak.

Seven years later after a grueling 75,000 miles of travels for meetings in the Capital of a dozen nations involved with the Liberian peace efforts I found myself in 1997 on the national stage standing alongside former vice president Dr. Harry Fumba Moniba as his vice presidential running mate.

Now, having gained a better understanding of the issues, I launched in 1998 an aggressive internet campaign for the purpose of rallying international support for the formation of a war crimes tribunal for Liberia. The website was called RepublicofLiberia.com. Before long my Sierra Leonean counterparts latched on to the idea and applied same to their own crisis. It was then we began collaborating.

Ironically, five years later the Special Court for Sierra Leone provided respite for Liberians by handing down criminal indictments against the sitting president which led to his removal from office.

Recently I opted not to form yet another political party in order to participate in the impending Election, but rather join an existing party and become its standard bearer. But when it seemed my chances of heading an existing party were slim, I then proceeded to petition the National Elections Commission for certification as an independent presidential candidate. As we were gearing up to launch the TQ HARRIS FOR PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN, leaders of the Freedom Alliance Party contacted us and proposed that we combine forces. In the spirit of unity we accepted. Today I am proud to stand before you in the capacity of standard bearer of the next ruling party of the Republic of Liberia.

Already, I’m beginning to smell victory because not only have I personally undergone intense preparation for the task at hand; the Freedom Alliance Party itself also has endured moments of severe testing evidenced by its remarkable performance in the 2005 Election and recent victory in the courts. Incredibly, within a span of 5 years FAPL has become a household name.

If the saying is true “Victory Loves Preparation,” then -- Folks – TQ Harris and the FAPL are poised to win in 2011!

Tribute to the FAPL Founder

It is not easy to fill the shoes of our illustrious Founder – the late Reverend Dr. Margret-Tor Thompson -- a Mother, Teacher, Sister, Pastor and bona fide Leader. However, I stand here humbled in the presence of Almighty God and before man to say this: Sister Margret, as you look down upon this gathering rest assured we will do our utmost to keep the dream alive. The seed you planted while in our midst is about to become a gigantic tree towering above this land protecting the people you loved so dearly. We will do our utmost to build upon the good work you have started.

Follow Partisans, let me say to you, from this day forward and until the National Elections Commission makes the final announcement declaring FAPL the winner in this Election; do not relent…do not despair…and do not become complacent. We are Grass-rooters and have nowhere else to go but the Executive Mansion.

A country with Potential

Why is this election of such great importance to you and me? Why TQ Harris and the Freedom Alliance Party must take over the leadership of this country? Why you must give all that you have so that FAPL may win the Presidency and majority seats in the Legislature? Here’s why…

The outcome of this Election will no doubt determine the kind of country Liberians will live in for the next 50 years. So it is a serious mistake for anyone to think that the 2011 Election is just another political exercise. No, it is not!

In the aftermath of the bloodletting that broke this nation apart, this Election is a God-given opportunity to prayerfully and carefully select the right leaders that will lay a solid foundation for the building of institutions which will empower the people and transform Liberia into a vibrant post-modern nation.

To put it simply: this Election will decide once and for all whether Liberia will forever be known as a country with Potential; or, it will rise to the occasion and become a self-sufficient, productive member of the comity of nations. The decision we make this time at the polls will certainly impact generations yet unborn. This, my friend, is a defining moment.

Never before has this nation been confronted with so many critical issues threatening its very existence. This is the reality: A generation of Liberians now in their mid 20s have never set foot in a classroom, but are experts at the worst forms of warfare…today the average citizen is unable to execute basic instructions…teenage prostitution, child mortality, and death during labor are at an all-time high…illiteracy and unemployment pose a serious threat to national security…the vast majority of the population are hungry and homeless…the economy is depressed…domestic food production is nonexistent…the country’s infrastructure is in shambles…tens of thousands UN troops are here to stop us from killing one another…Liberians now have more confidence in witchcraft than their national leaders and institutions of government…and most troubling is the real possibility that this country could yet again return to war. Folks, we need a strong leader that will get us out of this mess! That’s the reason I’m in this race.

The worst manmade disaster

As the campaign progresses you will be bombarded with promises and pledges by all the candidates, but don’t be distracted by the noise. This Election is not about roads, hospitals, schools, free education, concession agreement, debt waiver, women issues, men issues…or that magical word often tossed about – “Development”. Election 2011, my friend, is about the kind of country that will emerge from the worst manmade disaster ever recorded in our history…it’s about coming to grips with the cold-blooded murder of more than 250,000 of our friends and loved ones…it’s about balancing justice and compassion…it’s about personal accountability. Yes, it’s about healing, unity, stability and finding the best way forward. It’s about the TRC report…It’s about knowing who we are and what we are. It’s about you!

The responsibility to shape this nation now rests squarely upon the shoulders of this generation. Therefore, in this Election, we must elect a man or woman who has not held key position in government within the past 30 years, and certainly no one who led or supported a warring faction. Rejecting these individuals is absolutely necessary in order to separate the ghastly past from the luminous future that lies ahead.

President Sirleaf’s failure to heal the nation and improve living conditions is further evidence that entrusting our future to recycled politicians has serious negative consequences. Sadly, the past six years under the leadership of the Unity Party is yet again a lost opportunity for the Liberian people. It’s time for CHANGE!

Take the good news to the people

As we leave this place let us go into the towns, clans, villages, cities and throughout our neighborhoods knocking on doors – sit with friend and foe and tell the good news! Tell them that CHANGE has come and it’s called TQ Harris! That he is the voice of the voiceless! That the age of “Country people” and “Civilized people” is over! That all Liberians are equal under the law! That Rule of Law will replace lawlessness under TQ Harris’ leadership! That poverty and hard time soon will be no more! That there is no need to fear! That those who suffered abuse at the hands of warlords are going to receive justice! That no one mentioned in the TRC Report will be a candidate in future elections! That the people can start dreaming again! Tell them light has come that darkness may flee!

I thank you

God Bless Liberia









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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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