Positive Effects of Mobilization and Recruitment in Party Politics

A Presentation by Samuel Wonwi Thompson

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 7, 2003

The following presentation was made at a "Capacity Building Workshop" by Mr. Samuel Wonwi Thompson to Unity Party (UP) members and guests on February 15, 2003 at the party's headquarters in Monrovia. Below is the full text of Mr. Thompson's presentation :

Mr. (Acting) Chairman and members of the Executive Committee, Unity Party; Mr. Chairman and Members of the National Mobilization and Recruitment Committee, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Let me first of all thank the leadership and members of the Unity Party for giving me this opportunity to speak to you today on the topic: "The Positive Effects of Mobilization and Recruitment in Party Politics."

This is a very important workshop in that it presents the Unity Party with the challenges, approaches and rewards to be realized by successfully executing the mandate implied in the very name of the Party, i.e., to foster UNITY among the people of Liberia in a peaceful, mature, responsible and organized manner.

To adequately carry out my assignment, let me briefly define the key words in the topic. The first word, "Effect" is defined as:

- a change or state of affairs caused by something or someone; also,

- the condition or the overall impression created

"Mobilization" is defined as:

- the organizing of people or resources for a purpose. Resources to be mobilized would include our various talents, our roster of candidates, different types of equipment, money, popular appeal, local and international connections, etc.

"Recruitment" is the getting of new members or supporters.

To put it all together, the topic could also be read as:

The positive changes that we want to create in Liberia's social, economic and political conditions by properly organizing people and other resources and increasing the number of our new supporters in the Liberian political process.

In a popular book called, "the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," the author identifies one of the key habits as follows:

BEGIN WITH THE END OBJECTIVE IN MIND. For the Unity Party to be highly effective in party politics in Liberia, we must have in our minds a clear picture of the desired end result. These objectives should be well understood and communicated to the rank and file of the Party so that each of our members can become more effective to mobilize resources and recruit new supporters.

Based on various discussions so far, I would like to suggest a few positive effects to be achieved by a good mobilization and recruitment process as follows:

1) The Unity Party should demonstrate by our every action and pronouncements that we stand for a peaceful, transparent, well organized and mature democratic process during the upcoming 2003 elections. Our campaign should focus on issues and not on personalities. It should put forth positive and practical solutions to our national problems and show a strong commitment to work across party lines in the interest of the Liberian people, rather than operating from narrow and selfish personal agendas.

2) Unity Party members should at all times seek to build trust and reduce fear among Liberians from all walks of life and among all the key political actors and their supporters. As the word of God says in 2 Timothy 1:7, "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind." Fear is not of God and must therefore be overcome by love. I believe that fear is the single most important barrier to the blessings that God has in store for this country. After all, from the teachers to the market women, to the government officials, to the security forces, to the shoeshine boys, to the bankers, to the rubber tappers, we are all one people with one common destiny.

It is therefore crucial that we set the example by positive actions and statements towards our fellow Liberians. By so doing, we can together replace fear among our brothers and sisters with faith and hope for a better future for us and our posterity regardless of party affiliation. As the late US President Franklin D. Roosevelt said to Americans facing the worst economic crisis ever experienced by that great country during the Great Depression of the 1930's, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Fear paralyzes, and at times, may prevent people from choosing dialogue and negotiation as opposed to violent solutions. It is sometimes based on misunderstanding, guilt, ignorance and lack of trust and obedience to God. We should encourage each other not to be afraid to fully submit to the democratic process.

3) Our main objective should always be to unite and reconcile our country men, the vast majority of who are tired of war and have become poorer as a result of so many years of war, instability and international isolation. In this light, we should appeal to the LURD organization and its supporters to consider the suffering and hardships imposed upon innocent civilians by the continued fighting and try to work with the Government and other organizations for a peaceful solution to our problems. The Unity Party should remain actively involved in the search for peace and should encourage the forgiveness of past wrongs. This is the basis of genuine reconciliation.

A positive effect of this approach would be to create the post-election conditions necessary to encourage Liberians scattered around the globe and the many serious foreign investors, international agencies and friendly governments that would like to work with Liberia, to come back. We must strive to make our country a safer place for major new investments, to create more jobs and business opportunities, to restore basic social services and to improve our seriously damaged roads, bridges, power stations, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.

4) To get the largest number of Liberians and friends of Liberia to identify with the vision and outlook of the Unity Party and other members of the political party coalition now being discussed; and

5) Last but not the least, we must win a resounding victory for our presidential, legislative and chieftaincy candidates in the upcoming October 2003 Elections. To do so, we must recruit and mobilize from every tribal, social and economic background, a group of competent, God-fearing Liberian men and women of conscience and integrity who are known to be sensitive to the plight of our people. Leaders who are committed to building a new Liberia should be encouraged to contest for the various positions.

The desired positive effect of such recruitment will be to promote good governance and create stronger institutions. I believe that the institution of the Presidency will operate more effectively if the other two branches of government can provide it with checks and balances in a constructive and responsible way.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: God has been consistently revealing and confirming to His people over the past few years and more so in recent months, that the time is very near for the restoration of Liberia to a place of blessing, total peace, major economic development and increased international respect. I am of the firm belief that He is able to do it, because the Bible says that His word will never go forth from His mouth and return to Him void, but will accomplish the thing to which it is sent.

I hope and pray that you will also trust in God and be prepared to work hard towards a successful mobilization and recruitment strategy, in order to realize the positive effects outlined above. As you know, He always works through people. However, we must work with Him by faith and prayer and in unity. As the saying goes, "in union strong, success is sure, we cannot fail." I thank you.