Sensing The Danger

By: Aagon Gweh Linford

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
March 10, 2007


Our new-born democracy in Liberia must be cleaned of all ills - ills that have cost the country and people untold sufferings over the years. Ills that have eaten and destroyed the moral, ethical and social values of Liberia for decades. We can all bear witness to the ills of the society that caused Liberia to lose its spot on the international scene. No matter how petit or gigantic these ills may be, we must sense them, diagnose them and treat them vigorously before they consume the rising democracy we now proclaim in Liberia.

Many have watched the dramatic episodes emanating from Liberia involving some high-placed figures over the past few weeks. From unwholesome sexual indulgence by a government minister, the unwarranted unilateral decision by another minister to shut down a news organ and to revoke its rights to operate in Liberia. While the indecent sexual by the erstwhile Acting Minister of State for president Affairs is considered in some quarters as a private venture, one cannot rule out the crippling effect it could have on the new democracy in Liberia, especially the Ellen-led government. How and why? I leave it to the sound minds to ponder. Secondly, the unilateral decision by Acting Information Minister Lawrence K. Bropleh, whose private life has also surfaced in the spotlight since his dubious role in the Willis Knuckles sex scandal, to close down the Independent Newspaper for publishing story about the sex scandal are all indicators of some ugly signals for the new democracy in Liberia.

A democracy without a check and balance system is a dictatorship in disguise. The press is the sole watchdog of the society in any given situation. When the power that be is at war with the press, there are big questions of trust, justice, accountability, credibility, and many more on both sides. Again, this is not time for me to define why? We all can ponder it.

Under the past regimes, especially the war years, press freedom and the credibility of the leaders were disgusting. I lived in Liberia during the period of the war and I am a witness to the suppression of the press. I also watched how the de facto leaderships in Liberia during the war days divided and controlled the media to suit their own purposes. There was the Monrovia Press and the Great Liberia Press, each serving a particular regime and purpose. A grave manipulation of the press! While it is true that the press is independent of the power that be, it is also an entity that cannot be separated from the society. Against this backdrop, the leaderships tend to create conditions to influence activities of press in most cases.

The press in Liberia has experienced an uphill trend since the election of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the new democracy. The president at some point in 2006, got a bit rough with the press in Liberia, blending journalists as "check book journalists". Now it is the Information Minister in-waiting who has unleashed his wrath on the press in a new democracy for publishing a story that no secret to the public.

The action by Acting Information Minister Bropleh, many believe, is to silence the press on the unveiling allegations that he is the master mind behind a broken marriage, something which is not yet confirmed. Many commentators describe his unilateral decision to use heavy hands on the Independent Newspaper as a warning to the press of what to expect should he pass his pending confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill. Some keen observers describe Acting Information Minister Bropleh as an unborn baby with fully grown teeth ready to bite to the bones.

It would not take an alien from utter space with perhaps the highest intelligence quota or a rocket scientist on earth to sense the danger developing and growing up with our new democracy in Liberia. We need to weed out the grass before they stunt our young and growing democracy. I sense the danger of the ills growing and creeping into our new Liberia.

© 2007 by The Perspective

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