A Review of the former Liberian ruling Political Party-NPP-led Government’s Six years in Office
By: Timothy T. Seaklon
Posted October 15, 2003
Following six years of its political administration of Liberia, the general consensus is that the National Patriotic Party (NPP) led government has miserably failed to provide those ingredients needed to build a nation.
The NPP government which came to power in August 1997 performed poorly in several areas, and The INQUIRER attempts to grade it by this Final Report Card on its performance:
Containment of Insurgency: The Government’s containment of insurgency is relatively fair as it was able to hold on for a little over four years before the said insurgents could cover a significant part of the country.
The Government was still fighting the insurgents at the Gabriel Tucker Bridge in Monrovia as the National Transitional Government of Liberia was being put together in Accra, Ghana.
Fiscal Policy: The Fiscal Policy of the NPP-Led Government from its beginning has been fair. The Government was in the habit of spending outside of budgetary allocation, leaving out those items that are of priority in the budget. During the period under review, it is common knowledge that the budget was already exhausted long before the end of the Fiscal year.
Monetary Policy: The NPP-led government which was headed by Mr. Charles Taylor in the beginning put in place the requisite laws for the establishment of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL). The Monetary Policy is fair. The CBL since its establishment has been able to regulate the various banking institutions in the country but fell short of ensuring that change coins are put in circulation. Another problem the CBL has been unable to address is the problem with mutilated bank notes which are rejected by the business community.
Press Freedom: Press Freedom under the NPP-led Government over the years has been fair. On several occasions, journalists were arrested, some media institutions closed down or denied registration.
The Star Radio and Radio Veritas were closed by the Government but following persistent pressure from the Civil Society and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Veritas was allowed to resume broadcast, while Star Radio remained closed. Journalists were jailed especially some staff members of the News Newspaper after publishing an article concerning the repair of a helicopter assigned to the presidential elite group, the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU). They were released after being forced to write separate letters of apology to the government.
Restoration of Basic Service: The restoration of basic services during the tenure of the NPP led Government was non existent. At the time when the world is in the computer age, the government miserably failed to restore pipe-borne water and electricity, despite a grant from friendly governments to assist in that direction.
Foreign Relations: Liberia’s relations with other nations of the world was poor during the tenure of the NPP Government. Liberia as a nation has failed to mutually coexist with even its immediate neighbors under the Taylor-led government. Liberia for the first time was classified by the International Community as a "Failed State". The country had serious problems interacting at bilateral and multilateral levels, it could not ably be represented even at international fora for a UN restriction had been placed on several of its senior officials. The country’s embassies abroad were closed with their respective staff members abandoned.
Living Standard of the People: The Living Standard of the people under the NPP-led Government was poor as it continued to degenerate. People are now living in abject poverty. Salary could not come and if it did, it could not carry the average Liberian home especially those working with government.
Free Speech: Free Speech was fair under the NPP. Several times free speech was tempered with. People Like Nigba Wiahplah of the New DEAL Movement, Human Rights Lawyer Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe were jailed and flogged in prison because of the views they expressed. Several others like the Director of the Prison Watch in Liberia Mr. Dixon Blah was forced into exile for expressing his view. Several others were forced into exile for fear of prosecution.
Economy: The Nation’s Economy under the NPP was poor. This was primarily due to the government monopoly employed. This policy hampered the availability of jobs. Besides the Oriental Timber Company (OTC), which was regarded as Mr. Taylor’s ‘Pepper Bush’, and the Lone Star Communications, there was no major source of employment for the people.
Completion of the Government: The Completion of the Government was poor. Mayor of cities were never elected. Paramount and clan Chiefs were never elected. Legislators who died while in office were never replaced.
Support to sports: The NPP Government’s support to sporting programs was fair.
During the tenure of the NPP-Led government there was no sports budget or a financial program for sports. This has an adverse impact on the development of sports which made the non popular ones non-functional over the past six years.
However, the successful participation of the National Football Team, the Lone Star in both the 2002 World Cup and African Nations cup qualifiers blinded the eyes of the populace.
There was no proper sporting program, everything was center around the exile former Liberian president Charles Taylor thus earning him the so-called title "Chief Patron of Sports".
Swimming, cycling chess, scrabble, volleyball and other sporting federations died under the just ended regime, thereby denying potential Liberians the chance to compete in these events.
The NPP’s regime also failed to resurrect the national county meet, an event that once serve as a single unifier for all Liberians regardless of tribal, ethnic, political and religious affiliation.
Payment of Salary: Payment of salaries to civil servants was poor. As we speak, the government owes civil servants over 14 months in salary arrears, while officials of the government lived in luxury.
Restructuring of Security: The restructuring of the security is poor due to the fact that the government upon coming into power dumped the Abuja Accord which calls for the restructuring of the army and police force.