Why Moral Issue Should be a Major Determinant for Elections in October 2005

By Dorsla D. Farcarthy


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
January 22, 2005

As we prepare ourselves for the much awaited elections come October 2005, the issue of morality in my mind must be a major determinant for the next President of our country. This is something we need to look at critically because our society is being eroded of those good values that once characterized our country and people. The issue of morality is not only very cardinal to our survival as a nation-state and people but forms the basis for our growth and development. As a young lad growing up in Liberia, I was told by my folks and teachers that our country, Liberia was built on Christian principles and to support this claim, our capital city which is called Monrovia today was once called Christopolis, meaning a city after Christ.

I believe that those who initiated this action saw this great country as a land of hope and trust where morality will be a guiding principle for our upbringing and instill in us a sense of discipline. They also wanted our young to appreciate a culture of decency so that as they grow up, those values will not depart from them. But in today’s Liberia, it is sad to note that this country, which was to be a bastion of hope for the rest of Africa in terms of morality and leadership, is itself bleeding in turmoil with a complete breakdown of the value system. In Liberia today, our leaders see immorality as a way of life and this has penetrated our society so much that nothing is being heard about these vices.

If our nation is to once more regain her lost glory and become a place for civility, the issue of morality must be taken very serious because the renewal and rebirth of our nation will begin from there. The issue of immorality in Liberia is being practiced by our leaders, prelates, professionals and so many others. There is no respect for the family system and moral values in Liberia and if we refuse to acknowledge this fact and take the necessary action, we will continuously remain in this retrogressive stage with great harm to our nation.

It is quite evident in contemporary Liberia that government officials abuse and misuse their offices and power and use the poverty of the down trodden to exploit young girls and boys of school going ages and engage in sexual relationship with them. Some of our officials are also engaged in extra marital affairs and furnishing homes for their “girlfriends”. They use material gains and tainted wealth to corrupt our young. This is done to the extent where these young teens are caught in a web. They cannot leave these so called "God-Fathers" because doing so will put an end to their livelihood and whatever material gains they were getting out of these relationships.

This is a very bad practice and it is prominent in today's Liberia. People use governmental functionaries, status in society and their professions to abuse our young people. I believe, if this practice is left unchecked, we stand to remain a wrecked nation because this is a major pre-condition for the new Liberia we all envisioned. It is about time, we begin to check our presidential candidates and begin to scrutinize them on the basis of morality and their respect for societal values. If we are to be competitive again among the comity of nations, we must be discipline, honest, trustworthy and people worthy of emulation. I believe, if we are to achieve this, then we must elect a leader who does not meet the educational requirement alone but someone who is morally upright with a very good track record of service to the Liberian people and mankind.

With the high level of poverty looming our country, a lot of parents cannot afford decent meals in their homes. A lot more are unable to send their kids to school. Parents hardly take pay and so at the end of the day, the burden of survival is on their children especially their daughters. Because the parents are incapacitated, they are coerced to countenance the action of their children and become limited when it comes to discipline because the children have assume their role. These so-called God-Fathers are free to enter the homes of these teens and do whatever they want. These are some of the many ways people misuse public offices and their portfolios to harm society. I must state emphatically, that in the last decade, 98% or so, of our officials, members of the clergy and other professionals were involved in this diabolical act, which is today draining our society of, much needed values and respect as well as corroding the family system.

There is a correlation between corruption and immorality. A lot of these public officials take government jobs when they are starting life from scratch. From the onset, they found themselves to be people who could not even buy a cup of rice. In just a matter of weeks, they begin to get fat, buy new cars, sew new suits and build decent homes by engaging in thievery. After acquiring what they need personally, the next ambition is to go out with teens and abuse these children in their prime. To continuously support these children, they will have to get money by whatever means necessary to satisfy them while at the same time abusing them sexually. These are people who are supposed to be exemplary in our society. They lack discipline and allow their ego to destroy the future generation that is suppose to be the bedrock of the country. To continuously support their concubines and young boys, they engage in the skullduggery of government coffers and steal. Because they are in power, the local dailies use the word embezzlement to refer to their criminal acts.

The sad thing is that these young teens start life before getting in their prime. In most instances, when they are being supported by these godfathers, they begin to show disrespect in the homes, listen to no one except the God-Pa and grow up with this attitude and the end result is a total loss to society. These young people are suppose to be trained to take up responsibilities when the older ones shall have phased out. Because they start life too early, they sometimes do not value their education anymore and begin to engage in other activities. Unfortunately, these things come and go, and it is like normal life in Liberia. No one cares. A lot of people do not see the level of destruction these things bring. These are some of the factors responsible for corruption, the spread of HIV, teenage pregnancy, poor health of our young teens and poor level of education at times. Our laws are weak on these things and because almost everyone is into this practice, no one cares to comment about these.

The next President of our country should be a God-Fearing person who is not only God-Fearing by word of mouth but in practice as well. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. If our next leader will truly fear God, he will be morally discipline and support legislations that will deal with immorality. We must elect someone who will not abuse our value system. These things are counter-productive to good governance and the rule of law. The President of a country is like the father of the nation. If his lifestyle is embedded in immorality, of course you can expect that his officials will follow same as was in the case of the Charles Taylor government. Let us follow the good example of the American elections where moral issue was a major determinant for the elections. I believe this will be a starting point for good governance and the rule of law in our nation. I strongly suggest that we be resolute about this issue.

We must also ensure that policies are formulated to deal with individuals engaged in immorality. We must begin to search our candidates and know their deeds. It requires that we be recherché about what we want. Don’t vote for people because they have money. Do not vote for people because they have fame. I encourage my fellow Liberians not to vote for individuals because they are very much educated. Don’t even vote for people because they profess to be liberators. Look for several factors in your candidates and prominent among them should be morality. Don’t be misled into believing that you should be concern with what the person can do. People always put on a façade and preach to you the words you would want to listen to. If you look at the platforms of the various candidates, they are all the same but none of them have told the Liberian people where they stand on the issue of morality.

They have not said this because some are engaged in shady deals and activities and are looking for an opportunity to exert themselves and practice their wicked acts. As we move to elections, beware of some of these candidates because all they want is power and a place where they can practice wickedness in high places. We must remain steadfast and repugnant to tendencies that have the propensity to destroy our country and begin to press for laws that will come down hard on public officials found of misconduct and malfeasance. It is important that we insist on the strengthening of existing laws on the books to deal with these issues. This law must take into consideration the attitudes of those also serving in the private sector and other eminent positions. We must insist that these laws be enforced because our country is bleeding and there is a complete breakdown of law and order.

Cases of immorality in Liberia have no recourse or redress. It is doleful because our country have an appalling record of neglect and passive acquiescence when these issues are raised. I believe if the new Liberia is to be a better place for our girls and young boys to grow up, these issues must be addressed now. In Liberia today, people are again using their positions to abuse power and their offices. Most of the corrupt officials use the funds they steal from government coffers to build homes for their concubines, buy cars for them and exploit our nation. It has become a way of life and it is having a contagion effect on the country as every facet is now affected.

Another issue I wish to address is the idea of teachers going out with students for grades and taking bribes for grades. This is another area we have to look into. A lot of our teachers do not have respect for their profession. They use the classrooms for self aggrandizement and abuse students who have deficiency in a particular subject.

Again, if people who are responsible for developing the human resource need of the country are exploiting the very people they are developing; they must be barred from entering classrooms and dealt with drastically. I believe the ministry of education should consider the issuance of license to teachers and professors and put into place mechanisms by which they can monitor the activities of teachers and professors. Those found guilty of misconduct should be weeded out from the system and their license revoked for life. We need to be very clear on this issue and be committed to remedial actions aimed at making society a better place for all of us and our children. In this way, we will be setting a standard and preparing for our children what they deserve and should expect.

The Catholic schools have set some examples by firing teachers involved in these acts. I believe, it should not just be a matter of relieving them of their positions but prosecuting them as well. This would serve as a would-be to deterrents of these vices in our society. I would appreciate that the next President possess the character of a true father whose desire to see his children grow up in spirit and in truth be a panacea for social values in our society. We have come a long way in our history but have not done what we need to do to rebuild our country and so we are retrogressing at the fastest level while others are progressing. This is so because we are shooting ourselves in the leg. No level of foreign troops will restore our lost values but Liberians themselves. If we were setting examples, those who come to help us will fall in line. The mere fact that the immorality issue is a normal way of life, ECOMOG exploited this opportunity in the past and left back a lot of babies. Who do you blame?

We should blame ourselves because we have deliberately refused to cultivate a lifestyle that is self-reliant and corrigible. We have abused our freedom and today we live with hatred for one another and don’t value human life anymore. We don’t show respect for one another and we are very selfish. We are no more a hospitable nation but marked on the world map as being very risky. We have an opportunity to redeem ourselves and this will be portrayed in the kind of decision we make in October this year. We should be circumspect about what we want and don’t make this race a “kill my ma, kill my pa” affair or “he know book, he don’t know book, I will vote for him” scenario. A hint to a wise is quite sufficient.

This is a sober reflection for all of us and I hope others can contribute in a more positive way to impact our society. The elections should not just be about finding a President. It is not the end to Liberia's problem. We must weed our nation of social vices and build our nation on honesty, sincerity and respect for one another. As we go to the polls, we must bear in mind that our next leader should have the character of a true father and not one professing to be. He must be God-Fearing, compassionate, honest, sincere, morally upright and trust-worthy of the confidence reposed in him.

About the Author: Mr. Dorsla D. Farcarthy is a former student leader at the University of Liberia. Presently, he is pursuing a master of science degree in policy economics at the University of Illinois. He can be reached at: jlale2002@yahoo.com