Definition Of Politician In Liberian Parlance

Sonkarley Tiatun Beaie
Contributing Writer

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
July 26, 2017



In a contemporary Liberian society, many people often misconstrue the meaning of politician and define it in any way to appraise their political agenda or at their individual levels of understanding. I hesitated once in addressing my audience when this question, “Would you consider yourself to be a good politician for Liberia?” was posed to me. First, my mind was focused on Webster’s definition, but remembered quickly that my mother and sister who couldn’t distinguish between a pen and pencil, and even first time in Monrovia were in the audience. They live in a remote rural village and visit the rural town where they reside once or twice during a year, that is, on the Christmas and New Year Days respectively. Not only my parents, but such people form the nucleus of the Liberian society. To state the literal definition of politician, I considered using demonstrative teaching method in the Liberian parlance. 

1. If politicians are those who ride the most expensive limousine cars and move with terrific speed splashing mud and water or throwing dust on everybody with little or no remorse conscience, wear the latest expensive fashion in clothes and jewelries, smoke the giant size cigar, then I am not a politician;

2. If politicians are those with sugar coated tongues and gallop up the stage from left to right with numerous promises and forget shortly before taking seat, then I am not a politician;

3. If politicians are those who prioritize their personal interests on the detriment of the masses, steal our inheritance with absolute impunity, make people to live in abject poverty, while their children attend “King’s School” abroad on the expense of the tax’s payers money, then I am not a politician;

4. If politicians are those who after ascending to power shortly forget about the masses that struggled along with them and angrily bang door on the face of everyone who comes to see them, then I am not a politician;

5. If politicians are those who are lead by remote control and shift blame on everything in administration, then I am not a politician;

6. If politicians are those who love to all the women, whether old or young or ugly or beautiful and exchange sex for job, then I am not a politician;

7. If politicians are those who wage war and massacre thousands innocent women, defenseless children and elderly people, cause another thousands internally displaced or forced them into exile in order to perpetuate their way to power, then I am not a politician;

8. If politicians are those who can’t read and write usually use interpreter to express their personal views and grievances in this modern era, then I am not a politician;

9. If politicians are wealthy people, but limited in scope and in identification of  needs and progress, depend on their fortunes and treat people below human dignity, then I am not a politician;

10. If politicians are those who directly or indirectly steal the benefits from our resources and transfer the amount in foreign accounts, and when caught diabolically paraphrase such heinous crime or stealing as embezzlement, then I am not a politician;

11. If politicians are our old guys who continue to serve from one administration to another and shift blame to the hierarchy of the leadership when one administration falls or the descendants of our ruling elite, then I am not a politician;

12. If politicians are those who given the chance to power prioritize their personal interest other than the state, then I am not a politician;

13. If politicians are tall and handsome or beautiful individual and easily recognized among people like King Saul in the Old Testament Book of King or huge and tall with big gut like the former Ugandan President, General  Idi Ami, then I am not a politician;

14. If politicians are those who graduated from University with mere high average in political science or other human relation courses, then I am not a politician;

15. If politicians are loyalists or gravy-seekers who follow by the way of the winds, then I am not a politician;

16. If politicians are very stubborn people who are difficult to compromise political differences, and always vow to fight until the last person is subdued, then I am not a politician;

17. If politicians are those who employ people on account of nepotism, favoritism, sectionalism, tribalism, and bribery, then I am not a politician;

18. If politicians are those who disregard their primary state duties and family obligation and sleep regularly in the bottles of wine and drugs, then I am not a politician;

19. If politicians are those who after coming to power impose their ways on the people and refuse to come down, then I am not a politician;

20. If politicians are those who when elected dethrone the Liberianization policy and align with foreign expatriates to exploit the country or engage foreign elements to cover up their mishandling deals, then I am not a politician.

Who Then Is A Good Politician?

 A politician in my view is someone who according to President John F. Kennedy will say, “Ask not what Liberia can do for you, but ask what you can do for Liberia” to restore our glory in the comity of nations, and differs diversely with the outlined characteristics.

Someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people, i.e., their health, their housing, their schools or education, their jobs and general welfares, their civil rights and liberties, someone who prioritizes the rehabilitation of our abandoned feeder roads and dilapidated highways including our entire infrastructure damaged by the civil war. Someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad in the African sub-region and the world as a whole.  

Also, someone who according to Henry David Thoreau will champion the human spirit against materialism and social conformity”, and in the service to the people, adopts the philosophy of “rather living in a private Hell than a public Heaven”.

A politician is someone whose qualities can’t be matched with anything, for instance, equated to marriage couple despites the importance of civil status in the transformation of a society. To some extent, the duties and responsibilities required in a good marriage can’t be gained entirely from the woman or husband alone. Some people therefore resort to other alternatives to satisfy the lacking needs. Generally, some employ caretakers to handle the household chores if both the wife and husband are working couple, some adopt children if the faithful partner is barren, etc. Subsequently, a chief politician must (and not should) be the custodian of knowledge and wisdom and be able to direct the affairs of the state at any time and in any positive course, and not someone whose qualities can be compromised and substituted with something else.

He or she must be someone who knows the good, like according to Socrates said, “If one knows the good, one will always do the good. It follows, then, that anyone who does anything wrong doesn’t really know what good is”.

Note: This is the third general and presidential elections after the brutal civil war. We have seen the tremendous effort of Ma. Ellen but do not precisely know the character of the next leadership. So, as we gradually approach the polling day or prepare the process still with significant number of contending PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES and some continue to declare their interest for the leadership, this article has been rewritten and published to educate the Liberian public on the kind of political leadership to choose.
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