Student Group Issues Statement on the Prevailing Corruption, Nepotism, Greed, Injustice, Insecurity and inequality in Liberia

 

A Press Release Issued By Student Unification Party (SUP)


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 25, 2015

                  



 
 
 
 

Stalwarts of the Vanguard Student Unification Party, conscious students of the University of Liberia, fellow Liberians, and members of the fourth estate, today is another unique occasion to interface with all of you on critical issues of national importance. In an effort to sustain democratic coherence, national unity and nonstop peace through inclusiveness, equality and justice at every layer of our society, we have come once more with unhindered determination and oneness of purpose to push the common interest of our nation. A nation whose future is severely threatened by forces of evil. A nation that finds itself in the middle of widespread corruption, nepotism, greed, injustice and inequality.

For more than a decade now, our people have endured hopelessness and hardship as a result of bad governance. In the midst of abundant natural resources and huge international support, it is disappointing to note that most Liberians still live in extreme poverty and misery. What a tragedy! Until our nation and those who spearhead its affairs can ensure equal opportunities and justice for all citizens, the Vanguard Student Unification Party will not rest in championing the ultimate agenda of the underprivileged, less-fortunate and the abandoned class of our society. Since 1970, this has been our foremost duty as a masses-driven political institution. We will forever preserve this sacred responsibility and revolutionary inheritance!

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, with deep dissatisfaction, we want to again inform the Liberian populace about the poor quality of education at the University of Liberia due to the lack of adequate financial support. Even though education is a fundamental right according to Article 6 of our Constitution and Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but the government of Liberia has intentionally refused to prioritize the education of over 31,000 students currently attending the University of Liberia.

How do we intend to make Liberia better when education is not a priority? No wonder why our country is still far from landing on the shore of genuine development and economic growth. Until we can understand that poverty is the product of illiteracy, our nation is doomed. In this era of global recession, it beats our imagination for any serious government that believes in quality tertiary education to appropriate US$15.1million to operate a State-run University that comprises of more than 31,000 students, 1500 faculty members, and 1200 staffs on 4 campuses.

SUP wants to use this medium to again call on the government of Liberia, especially the National Legislature to increase the budgetary appropriation of the University of Liberia this coming fiscal year to a minimum of US$29 million. If this is done, thousands of Liberian students will have access to quality education. Furthermore, we hope those in authority have not forgotten that the government of Liberia is predominantly responsible to fund the University of Liberia according to its Charter. Additionally, we have learned through our intelligence arm that there are ongoing discussions between the government and UL administration to financially overburden students next semester, by increasing tuition from LD$175 to US$5.00. Let this message go forth to those planning to strangulate us that any such attempt will be fearlessly resisted.

This looming increment is a clever attempt to depopulate the University and render most of us vulnerable to perpetual poverty. Be aware that over 80% of our comrades at this University depend merely on scholarship and financial opportunities from external donors. How can anyone think about increasing tuition at UL, when students lack access to internet connectivity, modern libraries, laboratories, research and career centers, computer labs, improved sanitation, better infrastructure, clinic, safe drinking water, buses, student loan and internship? You (government officials) use millions of tax-dollars for your children, grandchildren and other family members to acquire foreign education, but you are unable to use the same taxes to give us quality education at UL! This is the highest form of injustice and cruelty. In the midst of acute joblessness and economic decline, increment in tuition is unacceptable!

In addition, there has been rumor in the air that the University of Liberia will close for 8 months as a means of renovating its facilities. We call on our students to remain calm, because this is the biggest gossip and joke of the year.  If UL ever closes for 8 months just for renovation, then it means that the Capitol Building and Foreign Ministry will also close for 8 months, because these public facilities need renovation too. After almost a year of closure due to the Ebola Virus Disease, it is unthinkable and irrational for over 31,000 students to keep out of school for another one year. SUP is not against renovation or improvement at UL, but we think that there are better strategies and time-saving measures to employ in achieving this target. No University in the World has ever closed for 8 months just for renovation. The purported closure of UL for 8 months is only meant to further provoke struggling students to anger….

Furthermore, it has been brought to our attention that ex-Warlords  teaching at the University of Liberia have been misusing our classrooms to poorly justify the role they played during Liberia’s Dark Age. SUP believes that the action of these morally-bankrupt characters continue to endanger the growth and development of thousands of students at the State-run University. Their presence is creating serious psychological turmoil for some students. Henceforth, SUP is calling on the Board of Trustees to immediately dismiss all TRC convicts (Madam Waede Kobba-Wureh, Mr. Lavala Supuwood, Mr. Alahaji V. G. Kromah and others) before second semester begins. The University of Liberia is an environment of moral uprightness and discipline; therefore, it must never be used as a hideout or safe haven to accommodate warlike personalities.

The gruesome remains of Harry Greaves
- Courtesy of the Informer

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, fellow Liberians, for some time now, our nation has been besieged with great fear due to insecurity and series of mysterious deaths. As we look across the nation, who can we rely on for safety and security, especially when UNMIL leaves in June of this year? Judging from prevailing realities, it is a fact that Liberia is moving back to its dark age. The Student Unification Party (SUP) condemns the mysterious circumstances leading to the death of Mr. Harry Greave and calls for the immediate establishment of an independent body consisting of local and international institutions to investigate the matter. Since there are public doubts about the recent autopsy report released by an American Pathologist hired by the government of Liberia, we call on the government to abstain from playing a frontline role in this case. Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, yesterday, it was Keith Jubah and Fayiah Saah Gbollie. About a year ago, it was Michael Allison. Few months ago, it was Victoria Zayzay. Today, it is Harry Greaves. Tomorrow, it could be anyone of us! It is time for us to rise up and demand unconditional JUSTICE. SUP is still demanding justice for little Shaki Kamara, Angel Togba and all others who have died in cold blood.         
                                                                       
Let it be known today that the progress of our nation is tied to JUSTICE. We will never surrender to those plotting to undermine our collective destiny. No number of secret killings or threats can silence us!

Amidst public fear and rising insecurity, the departure of UNMIL from Liberia on June 30, 2016 is not only worrisome, but it creates a dark cloud over Liberia’s fragile peace. Is the government of Liberia ready and prepared to assume full security responsibility from UNMIL four (4) months from now? SUP believes that the government is ill-equipped for this huge task and it must refrain from pretense and deceit.  When the rate of arm robbery and burglary is escalating across our country daily, it brings us to a logical conclusion that these activities might even become rampant in the absence of UNMIL. As police brutality and arbitrary arrests increase, there are confirmed reports that some officers of the LNP have been involved in armed robbery.
The recent clash between the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Director of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) further exposed the weakness of our security sector. The death of Shaki Kamara by AFL personnel portrays the unprofessional nature of our military force. Our people no longer trust the police and military as a result of unethical precedents! Moreover, the lack of manpower, adequate training and financial support to security agencies in Liberia is a major challenge. How can 2000 AFL personnel provide external security for over 4.2 million citizens?

As protests and demonstrations across the country remain high due to public displeasure, it will interest you to know that there is limited Police presence in River Cess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, River Gee, Gbarpolu and other counties in Liberia. I hope we have not forgotten that our borders are also porous due to the limited capacity of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN)! Considering these existing gaps within our security sector, coupled with our pending elections in 2017, SUP is calling on the Security Council of the United Nations to extend the mission of UNMIL beyond 2017. The need to continuously promote security sector reform is cardinal to sustaining peace and genuine national development in Liberia. About 3 years ago, President Sirleaf pleaded with the United Nations to extend UNMIL’s mission and her request was granted. As we approach 2017, which is a very decisive period in our history, why is President Sirleaf not making similar plead?
Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, the Student Unification Party (SUP) wants to emphatically condemn the recent appointment of the President’s son, Mr. Charles Sirleaf as interim Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia. If nepotism was bad yesterday, it is also bad today. If it was wrong yesterday for President William R. Tolbert to appoint his brother, Stephen A. Tolbert as Finance Minister, it is also wrong today for President Sirleaf to appoint her son as interim Executive Governor of CBL. We take no pleasure in questioning the qualification of Mr. Charles Sirleaf, but we strongly believe that his relationship with President Sirleaf would lead to conflict of interest, which contravenes Article 90 of the Liberian Constitution.

All of us are aware that the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) went bankrupt due to poor management, fiscal indiscipline and corruption under the chairmanship of Mr. Robert A. Sirleaf, another son of the President, who is now a multi-millionaire. After leading NOCAL into economic quagmire, he was again appointed by his mother as special envoy to Kuwait on the negotiation of oil and cheap petroleum products.  
                                                                    
About two (2) years ago, another son of President Sirleaf who is serving as Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Mr. Fumba Sirleaf was caught in a web of illegal arrest and conspiracy to defraud US$270,000.00 from some Korean nationals. We are constrained to ask whether Liberia is a family farm. The decision of President Sirleaf to continuously appoint her children to lucrative positions in government amidst public criticism is disturbing! We are aware that this President intends to make all of her children multi-millionaires before leaving power, but the President must not forget that there is a tomorrow. Therefore, SUP is calling her to immediately terminate the appointment of Mr. Charles Sirleaf as interim Executive Governor of CBL. We cannot afford for the fulcrum of our economy to bleed like NOCAL.     

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, it has been nearly one month since President Sirleaf delivered the State of the Nation Address. SUP describes the annual message of the President as a LYRIC OF MISERY. The speech of the President was entirely characterized by old and empty promises only meant to increase the frustration and hopelessness of Liberians.

Our many problems in Liberia can never be addressed by flowery speeches, but they can only be addressed by the fulfillment of those flowering speeches. How long we have not heard great speeches, but our people still live in shacks and drink from unsafe wells and creeks. After presenting statistics contrary to the reality, the President in her annual message failed to announce to the Liberian people that her administration has been disfigured by corruption, nepotism and cronyism. As a result, about 83.8% of Liberians live below the poverty line according to UNDP 2015 Human Development Report.

Simeon Freeman of Movement for Progressive Change
Photo: Courtesy of Parrotnews

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, we are also constrained to speak about the undesirable migration of Mr. Simeon Freeman from his own country due to fear for his life. While is it true that SUP is against any action that tends to undermine national security, but we believe that the government must refrain from targeting critical voices. The decision of the government to send armed men to besiege the home of Mr. Freeman was unacceptable and counterproductive. Mr. Freeman had every reason to escape, because his fear was legitimate! This is what happens when the bridge of trust is broken between the people and the government.

Members of the fourth estate, conscious students, and fellow Liberians, the Student Unification Party (SUP) remains concern about the livelihood and welfare of our people more than ever before. Our advocacy will never end, until inequality ends. When officials of government are riding over US$40,000 cars while youth unemployment remains high, it sends a clear message that our leaders are yet to learn from our ugly past. When government officials travel around town with mini gas stations and cell phone booths in their pockets, while vast majority of our people have become rock crushers, sand miners, gamblers, beggars and pen-pen riders, then it means that Liberia is going nowhere. It will interest you to know that EATING nowadays is a big accomplishment in Liberia! It makes no sense for Liberians to endure untold suffering, when their country has all it takes to make them prosper. Our economy is currently on life support and very soon it might totally collapse, if austerity measures are not put in place.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, if any moment is most appropriate to change our story, then it is 2017. SUP believes that the election in 2017 is a test of multiple choices. Either we choose poverty or prosperity. 2017 offers all of us a unique opportunity to redefine our course.

We must demonstrate the highest semblance of patriotism by putting the interest of our country above short-term gains. 2017 is about Liberia and not any political party. It is about securing a new beginning of equal opportunities for all. It is about transforming our own lives through the ballots. It is about reviving lost hope and turning aspiration into reality. Now is the time for us to unite as one people and one nation to protect our future from greedy and insensitive politicians. Now is the time to pay back those who have treated us as slaves in our own country. With less than a year to 2017, SUP is calling on all Liberians to put Liberia’s interest first. Refrain from being used by self-seeking politicians as spring-boats and scapegoats.
May God bless Liberia and safeguard our democracy beyond 2017. Long live the Vanguard Student Unification Party (SUP).  Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, conscious students and fellow Liberians, thank you for coming!

Done on this 23rd Day of February A.D. 2016 by the mandate of the Politburo and Central Committee concomitantly.

Signed: ____________________________________          
Cde. Martin K. N. Kollie                                      
Chairman on Information, Propaganda,
                     Research and Guidance, SUP

Approved: ______________________________
                       Cde. Jerome D. Dangbuah
                                  Chairman, SUP


Sylvester Moses
Today’s governance wears democratic garments, but still has on high - hilled jack boots of despotism. And since its strategic thinkers were mostly faculty members, one wouldn’t be surprised if 8 months turned to a year’s renovation work so as to dislodge a united students’ voice from the 2017 general elections. Obviously, there is a combustible political climate in the country, and a nervous administration has seemingly been using heavy – handed tactics, for example, barricading an opposition leader’s residence, and perceptually preventing Huma Rights activist Patricks from getting a bail bond – which would backfire against any segment of student population. The irony, like we expressed elsewhere, is that were those actions intended to suffocate the baby of rage in its crib, they simply serve as feeding bottles. One doesn’t douse flames with kerosene, or prevent collective dissent by provocative overreactions. For heaven’s sakes, why do our leaders continue to repeat the grave mistakes of the past!
Sylvester Moses at 01:53PM, 2016/02/26.
James W. Harris
At last quite a few number of Liberians are FINALLY beginning to come around. They are beginning to reach the same conclusion that some of us had reached a long time ago – that the Sirleaf administration would be no better or different from previous rogue regimes that ruled Liberia in the immediate past. We published various articles to support our conclusion, and yet, Liberians didn’t believe us or buy into it. Many of my articles can be readily accessed by going to Google or any search engine of your choice and enter “Liberia James W. Harris” to get a clear picture of where I (and a few others) were coming from. I did an article (http://theliberianjournal.com/index.php?st=news&sbst=details&rid=600) way back in 2008 discussing some of the very same issues raised in the press release above. Now, fast forward to the year 2016 and you will find that nothing has actually changed in Liberia in terms of “good governance”; if anything, things have become much worse, especially for the poor Liberian people who continue to wallop in abject poverty and hopelessness, while their leaders become filthy rich overnight.

Indeed, the upcoming elections in Liberia in 2017 will be a crucial one for many reasons, but does Liberia really need yet another election with the same old players? Or, is it about time that Liberians who really love their country start thinking seriously about putting it under some sort of trusteeship for at least 10 to 15 years to stop it from collapsing again? I propose that during this 10 to 15 year period, whoever the administering trustee is, use income generated from the country’s vast natural resources to build roads nationwide, revamp the nation’s educational system with particular focus on pre-school, resuscitate the nation’s health care delivery system for the common good of all and provide security, for example.

While all of this is taking place, Liberians, except those that were directly involved in the various wars as determined by the now defunct Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), could then come together and chart a new course for their country, ensuring that only Liberians with “good character, high moral integrity, proven leadership qualities, among others,” govern their nation. This can surely be accomplished if only “serious” Liberians were willing to take the lead. I’m convinced that this would be the best way for Liberia going forward as compared to just another election. It’s about high time that Liberians realize that the problem in their country is not only political, economic, social or what have you; it is structural or systemic and that has to change. In other words, it’s the “system” stupid!!! (don’t mean to be derogatory).

For those of you who want to respond to my comments, I’ll absolutely respect your view but please don’t come back with the same old nonsense that “Liberia is a sovereign and independent nation/state”, because it is not in my book. Because something is written on a piece of paper really doesn’t mean a thing if it can’t be reasonably translated into practice. If Liberia is a sovereign and independent country then it may as well start taking care of it’s own and seize from being a highly dependent and beggar nation in this 21st Century.

One question for SUP partisans, though! Why aren’t they also calling out their former leaders – the likes of Commany Wesseh, Joseph Korto, Taiwon Gongloe (yes, Gongloe in spite of his fine job offering free legal services to some), Dusty Wolokolie, John Stewart and James Fromoyan, among others, who have apparently turned their backs on the same masses spoken about in this press release? I mean, don’t you think that by associating with Ellen and benefitting from the spoils of Liberia’s wars they too must be held accountable for what is transpiring in Liberia today? Aside from Cllr. Gongloe’s periodic outbursts against his former employer (the dismally failed Sirleaf government), why are the rest so quiet these days? Is it because they were simply wolves in sheep clothing? Moreover, have SUP’s partisans of today learned anything worthwhile from their former leaders? I’m just asking!!!
James W. Harris at 12:51AM, 2016/02/27.
ZAMAWA A ZAMAWA
"When the dice is cast,there is no amount of witchery or prayers which can prevent the crossing of the Rubicon!" THE BUTCHER OF MONROVIA ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF IS IN A CATCH 22 POSITION! If she allows the people to march, thy will naturally call for her to be driven from power. If she doesn´t allow them to march, they will come out -IN THEIR THOUSANDS as they did with Tolbert, Doe, and Taylor!

People are thinking it is only Harry Agustus Greaves´ brutal slaughter Ellen Johnso Sirleaf ordered! THERE WERE MANY SHE ELIMINATED THROUGH POISOINING! If this woman could command her death squad to kidnap, torture, and throw Harry Greavs into the sea to drown there is no wickedness she cannot do! WHY ELIMINATE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THIS WAY, SIMPLY BECAUSE HE CHOSE THE VERY APPROACH WHICH BROUGHT YOU TO POWER ELLEN JOHNSONN SIREAF?
ZAMAWA A ZAMAWA at 05:21AM, 2016/02/27.
Jerry Wehtee Wion
SUP has taken on the role of the main opposition political party in Liberia since many of the socalled party leaders have been cowed into submission and therefore won't dare raise a finger against a repressive woman leader. Many have traded in their trousers/pants for skirts/blouses and panties. Many are a walking dead literally killed by fear before their natural deaths. But steel cuts steel and Ellen keeps playing with fire. Tolbert, Doe and Taylor did it and where are they now? 2017 is light years away but we will get there if we get there, her WY or the people's way.
Jerry Wehtee Wion at 01:40PM, 2016/02/28.
George Siaway
He Jimi! You absolutely nailed, among others, the hypocrisy of "Liberia's so-called Revolutionaries". They are no longer "in the cause of the people", they are now committed to the "cause of their own households/pockets". They too will be held accountable for their deceit and neglect of the masses. I am baffled by how they continue to keep silent in the face of mediocrity, corruption and neglect while deprivation continues unabated. They now demonstrate they were wolves in sheepskin. The Liberian people must hold them accountable. Liberia's life expectancy is that of the 1950s. They are putting out students who are at a serious competitive disadvantage and cannot compete in the global economy. Liberian Universities offer masters degrees that are useless outside Liberia. Liberian Professors don't publish. Evidence-based decision making is non-existent in Liberia. Yet, the so-called Revolutionaries of the past sit idly enriching themselves while poverty is on the rise. Shame on them!!!
George Siaway at 01:27PM, 2016/03/07.
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