On April 9, the John Morlu for President Campaign staged an elaborate fund raiser at the historic Holiday Inn Georgetown, Washington, D.C.; Georgetown is the home of many United States senators and prominent U.S. government officials. Liberians from all walks of life graced the occasion to not only lend their financial support, but to listen to presidential hopeful John Sembe Morlu reveal his strategy for winning the upcoming election in October of this year.
John S. Morlu
The ceremony brought together two of Liberia’s top singer/songwriters, Nimba Burr and Francis Varney Kanneh. Their performances elicited passionate nostalgic feelings among the Liberians who attended the occasion. “Tonight, I feel I am in Monrovia,” remarked a woman who drove from Philadelphia to attend the program. “Morlu is a true builder of peace who can actually unify Liberians” remarked another Liberian who teaches at Morgan State University.
Speaking about his visions for a New Liberia, presidential hopeful, John S. Morlu Sr. reminded his fellow Liberians that Liberia is presently at the crossroads of determining her path to survival as a nation. “For nearly a decade, our country has languished behind countries that she once helped to secure their independence from colonial rule,” Morlu told his fellow Liberians. Unveiling plans to empower Liberians, presidential hopeful Morlu told Liberians that his government will be about creating opportunities for all Liberians, investing in primary education, holding people accountable for any form of financial or economic mismanagement, and establishing community colleges in every county. “We will also create a Small Business Administration to help our people start small businesses, and we cannot leave all aspects of our economy in the hands of others,” Morlu told fellow Liberians admits a ripple of cheers.
Below is his full speech delivered at the fund raiser on April 09, 2005, at the Holiday Inn hotel.
Presidential Aspirant John S. Morlu
Fund Raising Program Speech
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
April 9, 2005
Fellow Liberians, friends, ladies and gentlemen! Let me first of all thank everyone for leaving their busy schedules to make this evening fund raiser a reality. Your presence here, tonight, tells me how deeply you care, not only about our intentions to contest the presidency, but where you want our country to be in the in this 21st century. It goes without mentioning that our country is faced with colossal problems that we all need to be deeply concerned about.
Liberia is presently at the crossroads of determining her path to survival as a nation. For nearly a decade, our country has languished behind countries that she once helped to secure their independence from colonial rule. The current state of affairs in the country has prevented Liberia from playing a meaningful role in the comity of nations. In the international circles, our country remains a back bencher in decision making concerning her own status of civility and direction in the 21st century. The once proud nation has become a notable laughing stock in the eyes of many that once admired her. We rank at the bottom of nearly every social and economic indicator. It is a shame. It is a missed opportunity of significant proportions. Sadly, we are a nation that has lost its way.
At home, there is a flux of degradations - economic, social and infrastructural. Grown men and women have turned into beggars. Unfortunately, while Liberians languish in abject and dehumanizing conditions in the refugee and displaced centers, their fellow Liberians at the top echelon of government bureaucracies are merrymaking at the expense of the country’s resources. It seems that they do not actually care about what is happening to their fellow Liberians and their country.
We have to end the problems that have brought us to the brink of total collapse. We have a whole generation that is nearly wiped-out by the disease of ignorance and poverty, leaving a vacuum of hope for posterity to reckon.
Lest we forget some of our children who should have been in the halls of academia preparing for their future were all turned to destroying every living thing in sight, as instructed by their power hungry masters.
The wolves of our society are innumerable, but the task of removing them, in my judgment, is surmountable. I believe all is not lost.
But can we again trust those who, one way or another brought our country to this current pariah status? The answer to this question, fellow Liberians, is a resounding no!
It is now time that we turn the “corners” around. Letting bygone be bygone should in no way blind us to the reality of rewarding such people with state power. Recent experiments in the 1997 election tells us that to repeat such a mistake will only put us at the detriment of truly defining our place of direction as a nation in the eyes of the international community. We need to change course in this election. We need to prevent a repeat of the 1997 election. We need a new direction that is fundamentally based on one simple principle: Putting Liberians first. But the critical question is then how do we do that?
Obviously, we do not need a life long politician, particularly a politician whose only interest is about securing a job for himself, a politician who is solely beholden to business interests in Monrovia, a politician who was an integral part of this war that damaged our country, or a politician who will say anything to get elected but soon turn his back on the people. Liberia also does not need a leader who when you call his or her name, a typical person has 1000 negative things to say about him or her.
So what does Liberia need today? Liberia is almost considered a failed state, so we need a technocrat, a true institutional builder. Our system is thoroughly broken down, so we need someone with a commendable track record to fix it. We are tired of the deep division in the country, so we need someone who can unite us, and not divide us. There is too much corruption and financial mismanagement, so we need someone who can hold people accountable. Liberians have lacked economic opportunity and are unemployed in record numbers, so we need someone who can create opportunity for all and put people back to work. I believe I am that person.
Much of America’s economic strength today emanated from Alexander Hamilton, a true institutional builder who postulated America’s global economic dominance through his macroeconomic policies. He was a true institutional reformer. I believe we can do the same for Liberia. It all takes patriotism and determination of a technocrat like my self. As Tommy Lasorda once put it, “the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.”
Our campaign for the presidency, therefore, is about putting Liberia and Liberians first. We intend to make fundamental reforms in Liberia so that government can efficiently serve the people it governs. We also intend to reconcile and become more inclusive, where every Liberian can be fully represented. We will work toward an affirmative action program for women and the disabled. We intend to usher in a new era of accountability and transparency where the phrase, grab what you can and get away is a thing of the past. It will be a government where people will be vigorously prosecuted, and not rewarded for engaging in corrupt practices. When the person is found to be corrupt, not only will he be dismissed, but he will also face the consequences of the law and will not serve in my administration unlike the past where such person will be rewarded by transferring him to another position.
My government will be about creating opportunities for all Liberians, investing in primary education and establishing community colleges in every county. We will also create a Small Business Administration to help our people start small businesses. We cannot leave all aspects of our economy in the hands of others. We will ensure that self sufficiency in food production, particularly our staple foods, becomes the thrust of our agricultural policy. We will work with the international community to rebuild our infrastructure, which includes roads, the water system, electricity, telecommunications, and housing among others. We will make smart investments in health care and rely mostly on the construction and management of health clinics and community centers.
We cannot afford to loose this fight to distractions. As civil rights leader Vernon Jordan reflected, at the beginning of his career, people constantly advised him to lower his sights. But, Mr. Jordan says, “the more people tried to discourage me, the more determined I got.” We are determined to take Liberia to a destiny where Liberians from all walks of life can once again be proud to be called Liberians.
I therefore urge you to join the fight in making our vision for a new Liberia a reality so that when the fight is finally won, all of us will take the credit for putting up a good fight. It is going to be difficult. But with consistent smart thinking and unresolved determination, we will win on October 11.
Far too long we have allowed our destiny to be determined by a select group of Monrovian-based politicians. Time and time again, they have made a mess of the system. It is our time to take our country back, put it on the right track, and show to these Monrovian-based politicians that we are a credible alternative. We can do it. We must do it. So join me in taking back our country.
Once again, I thank all of you for showing up tonight. We appreciate you identifying with this worthy cause. Let us go forward and usher in this new era of accountability, inclusiveness and opportunity for all. Together, we can build a better tomorrow. Ladies and gentlemen, with this movement to change Liberia, Liberia best days are still ahead of us. Thank you. Let us go in peace and unity. God bless you and God bless Liberia!!