By P. Nimely-Sie Tuon
There is an intense debate ongoing outside the Liberian Community or political circles but within the international community that is focusing on who will be Liberia’s next president, we are told. This debate is being driven by concerns among the Sirleaf government so-called foreign partners and friends, dubbed with various titles, such as investors, UN experts, NGOs, just to name a few. These so-called partners and friends of the Sirleaf government are deeply concerned that the economic or financial gains they made during the Sirleaf regime could be threatened after the Sirleaf administration is no longer at the helms of power, and that a well-meaning Liberian could be elected and turn things around in favor of the Liberian people.
This the first time such observation has been made about the possibility of electing a well-meaning Liberian. Some of these partners include individuals in some of the countries in the west African region who will be the foot soldiers that will ensure that a new president of Liberia, come 2017, is one that will continue the same policies of the Sirleaf government that have provided a platform for the exploitation of Liberia’s natural resources at the expense of the Liberian people, For example according to recent news reports, 80% of all agreements issued by the Sirleaf administration were not according to the laws of Liberia, in other words, these were give away to foreign friends and partners, and now realities are sitting with those who are beneficiaries of these illegal acts.
Unless truly patriotic Liberians come together now and stand their ground, the next Liberia’s president may look like a Liberian, talks like a Liberian, dresses like a Liberian, eats like a Liberia, however, may be answering to outside authorities, instead of addressing the concerns of the Liberian people.
Liberia is seen by many outsiders as a very weak nation easy to manipulate. In addition, Liberians, as a people are very divided, deeply distrustful of each other, not able agree upon what is good for their country, always have some reasons to why things that are right for the country should not be done and willing to conspire with authorities and outsiders to undermine each other for personal benefits, not for the national good of the country. The 2017 Liberia presidential election is viewed by those objectively following the unfolding events in Liberia as a possible game changer for Liberian politics, in other words, many of the things that were overlooked in the past will not.
It could be a no hold bars election with a wild open field, but on the other hand could be threatened by outside interference and rob Liberians of the future of their country and the dignity of their votes that will deeply impact the people. The manner or fashion in which the 2017 is conducted will determine which road map Liberia follows. If the outsiders are successful to impose on us they will be embolden to do it again and again
This idea of outsiders to interfere in our elections, imposed upon us leaders who are insensitive to the needs and concerns of the Liberian people was very vivid in the 1985, 1997, 2006 and 2011 elections when Liberians who were having problems with fairness of the process and election results were quickly told to shut up. For example during the disputes surrounding the 2011 election when the opposition Congress For Democratic Change decided to boycott the second round due to cheating by the election commission, Nigeria-based ECOWAS issued a threatening statement that it was prepared to use a network of proper force against anyone or group who dare to “disrupt” the election. Meaning Liberians should not hold a candid discussion about circumstances surrounding their national election. This direct interference by ECOWAS was to ensure Madam Ellen Johnson, unpopular with the Liberian people, however, darling of the outsiders was a sure in. Another clear interference was the issuance of the Nobel Peace Prize to Madam Sirleaf on the eve of the 2011 election for no justifiable reason, except that she will use the award to unite the people even though the madam had already emerged as a polarized figure, a polarization have gotten worse in the country after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded
Unless, come 2017, we as Liberians stand our ground by coming together and overwhelmingly support a well-meaning Liberian; outsiders will hijack the 2017 election and force us to live with the severe unpleasant consequences. Changing this perceived weak status of our country should be part of the game changer that many envisioned that the 2017 election will be. To overcome this perception, we shouldn’t be afraid to challenge irregularities surrounding any of our election and to resist the pressure from the outside to move on in the name of peace. Outside involvement in our internal affairs is effective because of greed by some Liberians for personal gains for which they conspire with outsiders who want to exploit our natural resources and keep our people destitute.
These people must be publicly expose and isolated. We should learn not to bow to pressure and always stand our ground when we are acting in the interest of our country. It is time we embrace, and truly embrace the idea of “above anything else, the country.” The outside interference regarding how an individual is imposed on a country comes in three folds, First is this swift endorsement of the election results by the outside observers as to trumps or pre-empt any attempt by the opposition to discredit the election results after successfully executing the rigging of the election in favor of their favorite candidate. Second, downplaying the impact of the cheating by saying it was not enough to change the election result, however, refuse to allow a robust investigation. The third is using a local face who is portrayed as prominent, including religious leaders, to appeal to the people to accept the election results and move on. These are some areas we shouldn't overlook any more or mistakes we shouldn't make again....
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