It’s Time To Wake Up And Act On The Electoral Reform Bill

By Gbe Sneh


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 7, 2004

Is this what our fate will always be? Are Liberians always going to sit pat, do nothing, while a handful of the conscienceless engage in unconscionable ploys to keep us perpetually in the abyss? The United States, through its Ambassador, Mr. Blaney can issue all the threats it wants. The ECOWAS, through its Envoy, Mr. Chambas, can blast away, from here to Jericho, sounding a time-wasted warning regarding the upcoming elections. While all these are welcome steps, who would argue that the strongest pressure that is yet to be mounted is in the hands of the “stakeholders” themselves?

“Stakeholders” here applied to its true meaning. Forget its link to faction representatives, especially those elements that we now know as the “coalition of the unwilling”, who are bent on perpetuating themselves in power. Never mind those NTLA elements, now turned “quasi lawyers”, who are flaunting the Liberian Constitution, a constitution that they are yet to adhere to. It makes one wonder why the term is used so carelessly to reference them. They have nothing at stake except looting. The reference to the term is the Liberian People whose livelihood is at stake, hence the true stakeholders. The true stakeholders are the ones who have to realize that it’s time to wake up and act. Acting is exercising People’s Power.

How else do we intend to let the “coalition of the unwilling” know that we do not condone their selfish practices? The international community, our friends, has taken a stand for us. We have voiced our concerted displeasure through the newspapers, the Internet, and the talk shows over the radio waves. When do we, as a people, the ones who have everything to lose, take a real stand? Who is hurting from the lack of donor funds flowing in to help in rebuilding Liberia? It is definitely not Speaker Dweh and his “rubber stamp” NTLA followers, or Minister Yaya Nimene or Chairman Bryant. All these people have luxury cars. They have generator-powered air conditioned homes. They are living well off a “self-Tailored “ Government MisAppropriations. Or is it “self-Taylored“? See.

Where are the “president-wanabes”? Don’t tell us that they agree to the Draconian Bill passed as an Election Reform Bill? Keeping quiet breeds complacency. Complacency begets acquiescence. Why are they not galvanizing their “constituencies” to stand up against this NTLA passed senseless bill. Don’t also tell us that some of these “wanabes” are just as some call them, “one-man gangs“ , ZERO constituency. That would make for something to watch for come voting time.

What makes the NTLA passed bill a senseless bill? Imagine having to travel to Mecca. Then imagine having to trek through the dusty roads to Bethlehem. Now imagine canoeing to Fishtown, Maryland County before you can cast your vote in the October 2005 Elections. See. Even if Liberia had a huge fleet of Boeing 747”s and the plane tickets were free, every voter could not be flown to his hometown in time to vote. OK, you will also be required to take part in a census before the voting date. For that one, even if for once, Mr. Conteh were to succeed in convincing the entire University Of Liberia squad to work for free to conduct a National Census, it still would not be completed on time before elections. Now you see the sense that the NTLA passed Electoral Reform Bill makes. NONE!

From where does the NTLA derive its apparent authority to approve the NEC Electoral Reform Bill? If the NEC were only trying to be nice just to make the NTLA feel important, it should have known better. See what they have done to the reform bid. Is it not clear that reforming the electoral process and conducting elections for these special times are dictated ONLY by the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) ? Now the NEC knows what happens when you give the leopard a chance to scratch you. It does exactly that.

So, where also are the leaders of national civil organizations, the priests and nuns, the mullahs, and the pastors and evangelical ministers? Why are they also not organizing their followings and those they represent respectively, in one MASSIVE PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION, in one UNIFIED and LOUD VOICE, to let the “coalition of the unwilling” know that ENOUGH is ENOUGH !

Here are some points on how to organize a peaceful mass demonstration:
1. All the civil leaders hold a meeting to plan the course of action.
2. Recruit volunteers to act as marching guards. Outfit them for visibility.
3. Urge the public to abstain from alcohol on the day of the march.
4. Have a team of poster makers, select an appropriate slogan.
5. Educate over the radio waves.
6. Inform and work with the national security forces.
7. Select a convening point, e.g. SKD, Antoinette.
8. Have keynote speakers address the people.
9. Readout the rules of the march.
10. Invocation for calm (a selected prelate).
11. Start the march.

It is time to get our message across, A TIME FOR ACTION!