Can People Power Make President Taylor Go?

By Wollor Topor
Munoz, Philippines

The Perspective
Jan 22, 2001

As the saying goes heaven helps those who help themselves. Can Liberians organize people power to let Taylor go? The answer here is not as simple as a ripe banana; however, hope is not lost. From what I observed during the past few days here in the Philippine "People Power II", where close to a million people gathered at the EDSA Shrine to demand the resignation of their President due to alleged corruption charges; and at the end the will of the people prevailed. The now former president, Joseph Estrada, was stripped of power by the Supreme Court thereby paving the way for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (former vice-president) who took over as the new president. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, calls it " victory for democracy". The bloodless transfer of power indicates to me that democracy can thrive under poverty but not ignorance.

What is people power? It can be conceptualized as a movement comprising of Liberians with the purpose and philosophy and willful commitment to bring about social justice and economic gains based on the strength of voluntary action by Liberians to satisfy their social and economic needs with a multiplying effect on Liberia. Can Liberians exercise people power? As stated earlier such power can never flourish under ignorance, it takes knowledge to build the interest in the hearts and minds of the Liberian people and this is absent within the country.

Additionally, the old age process of centralization in the Liberian local government system has provided little room for Liberian taxpayers participation in national issues.

However, all is not lost, after all major revolutions in the world are lead by the middle class or the educated elite and with a sense of direction the masses follow. The first and foremost is for the elite educated Liberians to unite despite different views and experience to build shared understanding in carrying out a dramatic political change that will strengthen the international community to foster and enhance the democratic process in the Liberia.

The second is to do a social investigation (social research) to have a systematic look at issues affecting the ordinary Liberian socially, culturally, economically and politically.

Thirdly, to mobilize the grassroot masses through micro-planning which involves an integrated approach to planning: from the top-bottom participating the enlighten Liberians and from the bottom-top approach involving the masses through confrontation as the case is now.

The fourth is tentative social programs through countervailing partnership with the grass roots to serve as the people vehicle through which needed resources are mobilized effectively. They recognized their own rural development acquisition system programs, integrate local resources and people in addition to development agencies needed to jointly achieve the desired impact within a period of time (Axnin, 1978).

The "Liberian People Power Movement" could emulate the Philippine example to save our nation.

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