Emerging Historical Paradigm of Liberia's Political Failures

By Chorphie Charlie

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 18, 2004

Let me first express profound appreciation to the capable hands piloting this website. So far, the news journey has not only been an enjoyable one but also very informative and educational, please keep up the good work for Liberia.

I read an article, “Liberians Want 4- Year Presidential Term” and wobbled to the fact that of all the serious social, political and economy problems currently facing our nation we would again be making the presidency a mantra for democrat ic consciousness. The article was penned by Mr. Abraham Massaley, the presiding chairperson for the Movement for Democratic Reform in Liberia (MPR). However, upon reading, a second piece related to giving ex-combatants seventy-five dollars, I have since been trying to find the time to pen this response. You will understand the delay due to the social constraints of this our American capitalism, as we attempt to perfect ourselves as instruments of labor.

This is no beef with Mr. Massaley. The intent here is to challenge our political consciousness, especially for those who continue to champion the cause/s of our suffering people. The question here is whether we as Liberians are serious about democratic reformation. If so, this means we must be willing and tolerant enough to accept the kind of criticism that we have also showered upon others. Thus, without holding back, I am under serious conviction to scrutinize anyone, especially during our disquieting national journeys where military aggression has blotched our political landscape. We can no longer afford the complacency of yesterday's fathers, mothers, big brothers, big sisters, uncles, aunts, other relatives and friends, where the misguided, mis-educated, dishonest, sycophants, hypocrites, yes-ups, opportunists, and ruthless few were given the task of nation building.

Mr. Massaley, in his first piece echoed views from a convention of Liberians in the great city of Philadelphia. According to his article, the convention concluded with a firm position by those present to pattern a new presidential tenure, similar to that of the pre-S.K. Doe era, which they believed would create the necessary conditions for a better Liberian society. In the second piece, the honorary man hinted that providing minimum stipend for ex-combatants will ease the burden of renewed military hostilities.

I was shocked and bewildered by this mind boggling political resolution by the Movement for Political Reform in Liberia (MPR). Immediately, I formulated a hypothesis holding that such wild card by MPR was an instrument of political cunning. This is a complete hogwash and a total disappointment to the purported ideas of this organization, reformation of Liberian politics. It appears, to me, that the organization is a political nursery gearing up political capital to become a so-called relevant player in the orgy of political masturbation in Liberia. By this, I mean that behind this veil of political reformation stands a chance to participate in the looting and fleecing of Liberia's misery by some other agent of presidential ambition. We cannot afford this kind of false political consciousness.

Politics should be about ideas and hope, and not sensation. For me, the calls by MPR intents to sensationalize their political relevance lacking positive hope for our nation building process. Thus, they opted to punch issues that might raise heated national dialogue without offering substantive cause and effect on the democratic process. Presidential tenure has never been and is neither the cause/s of Liberia's historical and current political failures. Hence, instead of unwinding past disappointing publicity stunt, Mr. Massaley should concentrate his efforts on institutional reformation of the Liberia's democratic system, like the organization name states, Movement for Political Reform. This will require civil education for our people to understand the role of government and the separation of powers. Accordingly, instead of focusing on, and encouraging an imperial presidency, our people are educated to the workings of government, and in this way they are able to exercise their constitutional and GOD given right of ensuring that the presidency is held accountable to the people.

Regarding the ex-combatants, MPR should be mobilizing efforts to appeal for assistance to provide necessary training and man-power development for the former fighters, and design programs, which will address the social and cultural needs of those fighters. That instead of giving seventy-five dollars to those fighters, an amount that will evaporate in minutes without any positive effect on the social development of the nation. We need to face reality by instructing or schooling our brothers concerning the need to behave as patriots, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation by shedding their blood [bleeding].

Literally speaking, we should not be advocating tenure-ship of the presidency or monetary rewards to those fighters for negative behavior, as we have done to their masters, the warlords. This kind of thinking and advocacy on the part of MPR speaks to the decadent intellectualizing facing of national sojourn. Some of us see such thinking and advocacy on the part of MPR as intellectual suicide. That is, by misplacing our national priority and advocating for the wrong thing, this in time to come will negatively stimulate the irrelevancy of the Movement.

This misplaced and misguided sensationalism of extraneous political issues is an ugly historical failure attempting to re-emerge. We must demand change. The crucial issues now affecting our national psyche is economic security, which entails focus on the electoral process to galvanize the necessary human resources needed to redeem our national sanity, not presidential tenure-ship or monetary rewards for ex-combatants.

Lets us begin to think critically…….

Thanks for the space.

About the Author: Mr. Chorphie Charlie is a social and political critic who resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.