Liberia In Urgent Need Of Leadership

By Charles Alake Williams

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 8, 2004

Where did Chairman Bryant go wrong? What did he do right? Why all the fuss? Where is the love? How soon we forget that yesterday we were at war. Yesterday, shells were raining down on the most populous city in Liberia, Monrovia. Yesterday most of our basic needs were not being met. Yesterday Liberians were pleading to the world to come to their rescue. Just yesterday, law and order was absent and chaos and disorder reigned. Today, Liberia is back on track. Back to where the real issues are somewhat displaced.

Gyude Bryant was selected to lead Liberia (after the crisis) because Liberians of prominence, with support from the masses felt that he could run the affairs of a disheveled state of state; that he would manage our government to the time when an elected government takes control. In taking this official position, as Chairman of the NTGL, Mr. Bryant should have also realized that the Liberian situation was not a “laid back”, “cool-and-collective” situation. He was coming as a non-warrior to lead and command a government of warriors and politicians. The warriors had their agenda, and the politicians had theirs. The citizens were left in the middle. Mr. Bryant’s agenda was to combine the three agendas and come with an executive agenda.

The “executive agenda-to-be ‘executive policy’” was lost somewhere in the power play. But does this warrant the former warring factions to make uncalled for demands on Mr. Bryant? It’s politics, and in politics, timing is everything. The pressure on Mr. Bryant did not gain momentum until one of his principal advisors got on the presidential aspiration bandwagon. It is not that Bryant didn’t have pressure on himself to please all sides in the debate, but the players seized the opportunity to push their agendas by making reference to his senior advisors’ intent - to run for president.

Will the president please stand? The president, chairman can take a stand. He can come to the Liberian people and dare them. He can defy them. He can plead with them. He can command them. He can “ride” with them. In a non-poll poll, Liberians wish to see a commanding “father figure”. As he must lead Liberia during these critical times, he must also control external forces within Liberia. Liberians are not asking for a dictator. They are asking for guidance. In true guidance, considering fourteen years of decline, the people will complain less about directives when “things are going all right”. As warring factions still seem to have some grip on Liberia’s destiny, national leadership is the only direction to point to in order to bargain for, deal with or disrupt the peace process.

It’s so sad that the fingers pointing at Bryant should be the fingers point back at themselves. The leadership being sought today is the one that was lacking in every faction prior to Mr. Bryant’s inception; therefore, the inference, “back on track”. The last track Liberia was on was war without end in sight. To resort to our past circumstances will lead to another disaster. To blame it all on Bryant is somehow insincere. If a more defined and acceptable leadership of the people is called for, then may the chairman please step up to the plate and say, that he took upon this office to carry us through; and as we are realizing the healing process, he will seek to unify us as one strong, prosperous and enlightened nation, The Republic of Liberia.