The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Commentary: Unification Day

Last Friday, May 14th, was celebrated throughout Liberia as Unification Day. Unification is a process and is takes time for the Unification in Liberia to become a reality. What is most important for Good Governance is that the process of Unification is on the right path. Due to the personalization of Unification in Liberia, the wrong path to Unification is is being pursued. Unification is on the wrong path in Liberia because national decision-making continues to be made on the basis of “who you know” rather than “what you can do”.

This form of appreciation leads to depreciation, the lack of value, the lack of relevance towards the improvement of living conditions in Liberia. The record from the 1950s shows clearly the dismal longstanding and widespread situation in Liberia, where, at that time, Liberia exhibited the second highest economic growth rate per capita in the world while less than one per cent of Liberians accounted for more than sixty per cent of the income and wealth of Liberia. This record is a phenomenon that has come to be known globally as economic growth without economic development of growth without development for short.

The main State policy for managing the Liberian economy continues to be the production of raw materials for export, where Liberia’s natural resources, such as iron ore, rubber and logs, are exported to the developed countries. The prices of the exports and imports are determined by the global market, dominated as they are by transnational corporations and their respective governments. Value addition takes place in the developed countries, as seen in the enormity of imports made from the exports of under-developed countries like Liberia.

This dismal policy remains poverty generating rather than poverty alleviating. State management puts the blame for the poverty on the global market rather than on its national decision-making. In fact, less than a year ago, with the Liberian economy in the poverty quagmire, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) praised the government of Liberia for its fiscal discipline and provided some USD38 million of financial assistance to the government. Since January of 2018, all of the commercial banks of Liberia complained that they were facing the shortage of Liberian dollars, but shortly after their complaint, the government announced that it was providing USD25 million to mop up the “excess Liberian dollars”.

No wonder, the immediate past Central Bank Executive Governor, Mr. Nathaniel Patray, said publicly that he would do anything that the President of Liberia instructed him to do. Now, the present Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mr. Aloysius Tarlue Jr., has said publicly that he was not appointed on the basis of competence but on the basis of the enormous votes that the people of Grand Gedeh, his County of origin, gave the President to get him elected as President of Liberia. Commentators who bring out the foregoing indications are called “enemies of progress”. Clearly, there is no progress, as Legislators have access to at least USD1,000 a day and their foreign friends/partners in the commercial sector alone have access to at least USD2 million a day while over 80 per cent of the people of Liberia remain in poverty, having access to at most less than USD2 a day.

In terms of the way forward to get out of the longstanding and widespread poverty problem, as we “celebrate” Unification Day, what do we do? From the experience with the ebola epidemic in Liberia, we learned that persons who benefit from setting the House called Liberia on fire must not be expected to bring water or anything else to put out the fire. So, ebola was sent into the dustbin of history in Liberia when the Community took ownership of the anti-ebola process. Community awareness teaches us that it is the good Family that builds the Nation that builds the world, the Global Community.

At the level of the Family, right within my Community, a family had a re-union on Unification Day. Family members scattered here and abroad by the Civil War in Liberia and the Public Health Pandemic were brought together on Unification Day in the realization that a United and Happy Family makes a United and Happy Nation and a United and Happy World, a United and Happy Global Community. In he competition about what to do with the Corona Pandemic, the position of multilateralism is defeating the position of unilateralism, as seen in the recent defeat of former USA President Donald Trump.

As Unification is a process, reason indicates that it should not be expected to be realized over night. But what reasonable people expect is to observe Unification taking place on the right path, the path that throws away poverty generation and brings in poverty alleviation. In order to get on the right path, good persons have to be elected into public offices. To get good persons elected into public offices, there must be a FAIR electoral system. On account of the fact that Liberia does not have a FAIR electoral system, awareness raising has to be increased to motivate the Liberian people to take non-violent actions to change the electoral system from UNFAIR to FAIR in order for good persons to be elected into public offices.

The Changes in the electoral system include the following: 1. Appoint Liberians as Commissioners of the National Election Commission (NEC), as indicated in the Constitution of Liberia; 2. Clean up the Voter Registration Roll; 3. Use good voter registration machines and not flawed ones, as brought into Liberia by one of the foreign partners; 4. Stop the illegal transportation of Liberians and foreigners to vote; and 5. Stop the personalization of decision-making by NEC Commissioners, Registrars and Voting Center Representatives.

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