A Perspective On "A Joint Position Statement Issued By Representatives Of Political Parties"
By Cllr. Mohamedu F. Jones
Cllr. Mohamedu F. Jones
The next president of Liberia, for example, has to realize that he or she will not be merely succeeding to an office in the line of succession from J. J. Roberts through W. V. S. Tubman to the current incumbent. The next successful Liberian leader must not only understand that it absolutely cannot be "business-as-usual," but that he or she must bring a level of vision, direction, purpose, commitment and a "moral center" that is not like what any previous leader of Liberia has ever had to bring to bear. There is no historical model in the annals of the country to that he or she could adopt to meet the challenges that we face.
In their joint statement, the political parties state that they are the "primary stakeholders in the political process." This is patently untrue! The people of Liberia are the primary stakeholders in the political process. By considering themselves to be the "primary stakeholders in the political process," they may be saying that their interest lie more in attaining political authority for the "rights, privileges and honors thereto appertaining," rather than for the purpose of establishing "a framework of government for the purpose of promoting unity, liberty peace, stability, equality, justice and human rights under the rule of law." Either the leaders of the political parties who made the statement failed to recognize their role vis-à-vis the people, or they meant what they said. In either case, they come out short. They simply want to replace the True Whig Party, the National Democratic Party of Liberia and the National Patriotic Party, all of which failed us as a nation and people.
On the issue of the so-called "Ten-Year Clause," the parties' proposals are convoluted, contradictory, and add nothing to the finding a resolution, and even suggest that it would be okay to violate the constitution. They suggest that the Clause should be "repealed or suspended." A proposal to suspend a provision of the Constitution is not only plainly stupid, there is no way to constitutionally suspend this provision of the Constitution. Perhaps, they might be proposing next that President Taylor should act by executive fiat to suspend the Clause.
As to the suggestion that the "Ten-Year Clause" be repealed, it simply is an unrealistic proposition. Perhaps they did not read those provisions of the Constitution related to Amendment of the Liberian Constitution. Moreover, any act to amend the Constitution would require an Elections Commission and an enabling environment not significantly different from what would be required in general elections.
The New Deal Movement and the True Whig Party's position regarding the "Ten-Year Clause" seems to be saying on the one hand that since it is a provision of the Constitution it must be upheld, but on the other hand, the political parties can come to an agreement in respect to it, and failing that, it ought to be referred to the Judiciary. This proposition is about as meaningless as it could possibly be.
In contrast to the other parties that propose a stabilization force, the True Whig Party offers a unique idea of British and American officers training a Liberian force. This suggestion begs the obvious question: who would provide security while the force is being trained?
All the parties save the True Whig Party acknowledge that a census is a constitutional pre-requisite to elections. However, the Committee for the Merger of Political Parties (CMPP) offers that if the "environment is not conducive," the census provision should be suspended or repealed. For reasons already stated, this proposal offers nothing. The True Whig Party suggests that the census requirement is "not a constitutional provision that cannot be clarified by the Elections Commission of Liberia (ECOM). This is pure nonsense.
Composition of Elections Commission
The parties, except the True Whig Party, ask that the Elections Commission of Liberia (ECOM) should be re-constituted with "credible Liberians." The True Whig Party is quite happy with the "concession to the opposition parties" made by President Taylor's recent appointment of two additional persons to the Commission. The parties fail to recognize that an effective and unbiased Elections Commission demands more than mere re-composition. As to the True Whig Party, it appears to want to be on the ballot so badly, that it would get on it under any circumstances.
Alliance or Merger
On this matter the parties are basically saying, either their party's individual candidate should be the next president of Liberia, or they would rather that President Taylor is re-elected before they would see another opposition leader become president. This is unacceptable.
When our country most needs leadership to challenge the complete and total failure of President Taylor, and to demand an environment in which the people of Liberia can "freely and fairly" elect the next political leadership of the country, these putative political leaders of Liberia simply are not capable of providing it. They offer no vision, direction, purpose, commitment nor "moral center." It does not have to be either Taylor or them; but we as Liberians must work hard to avoid this absence of choice.