Liberia after Elections 2005: Problems, Prospect and Opportunities

By Winsley S. Nanka

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

July 31, 2004

Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, presidential hopeful for the Liberia Unification Party (LUP), says “social economic development in Liberia depends on the participation of all Liberians in the national development process.” Cllr. Brumskine was speaking in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 24, 2004 at the 157th Independence Day Anniversary celebration of Liberia. The Liberian Community Association of Greater Pittsburgh organized the event to mark Liberia’s birthday.

Speaking on the topic, “Liberia after Elections 2005: Problems, Prospect and Opportunities, the LUP presidential aspirant stated, “my vision for Liberia is based on “the 4Rs of Reconciliation, Reform, Rebuilding and Recovery”.

Cllr. Brumskine explained that if the Liberian people grant him the opportunity to serve as the president of Liberia, his administration would develop strategies to ensure ethnic, political and religious harmony. Continuing, Cllr. Brumskine stated, “A Brumskine administration would reconcile our two parallel societies (customary and statutory). Under the customary system in Liberia, women have no inheritance rights, while the statutory system in Liberia allows for inheritance rights for women.

Speaking further, Cllr. Brumskine stated, “my administration will develop a new framework for governance in Liberia including political reform, constitutional and legal reform, economic reform, and educational reform…”, Continuing, the former Senator in the deposed regime of Charles Taylor explained that his administration would “rebuild the physical infrastruture of Liberia”. Concluding his presentation, the LUP presidential hopeful said, “my administration will restore the morals and dignity of the Liberian people”. The statement appeared to be in reference to the humiliations Liberia suffered during the deposed regime of Charles Taylor.

During the question and answer period, Cllr. Brumskine was asked if he considers his association with the deposed Liberian dictator as a political liability. He replied, “I do not consider my participation in the past government as a political liability”. The LUP presidential hopeful stated, “ I served in the Liberian Senate humbly. Continuing his response, Cllr. Brumskine said, “my tenure in the Liberian senate witnessed the true separation of the legislative and executive branches of government for the first time in fifty years.”

When asked what his administration will do to help develop a Liberian business class? Cllr. Brumskine answered, “ A Brumskine administration will Liberianize the retail trade sector of the Liberian economy. Expatriates cannot be importers and retailers at the same time. Liberians must remember that no nation develops without the participation of its citizens in the social economic process”, he said. Concluding, Cllr. Brumskine called on all Liberians to participate in the political process. He also suggested that the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas ( ULAA), forms a political action committee to influence United States foreign policy toward Liberia.

Earlier in the evening, the two presidential candidates of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), Morris Koffa and Arthur Watson gave competing visions of where they want to take ULAA in the next few years. The two ULAA presidential hopefuls were invited by T. Momolu Massaquoi, the president of the Liberian Community Association of Greater Pittsburgh to address Liberians in Pittsburgh. During their presentations, Arthur Watson pledged to complete his term if he is elected as ULAA’s president, an apparent reference to Mohmed Kromah and Ranny Jackson, two ULAA officials who represented the association at the Accra Peace Conference and subsequently took positions with the interim government.

For his part, Mr. Morris Koffa who is the current executive vice president of the association decried attempt by certain individuals within the association to undermine its effort. Morris Koffa promised to work with Liberians in the Americas to make the organization more meaningful in the lives of the Liberian people.

The program was attended by a cross section of Liberians including Mrs. Estelle Brumskine, the wife of Cllr. Brumskine, Mrs. Roberta Rashid, the National President of ULAA, the African community in Pittsburgh and American friends of Liberia.