Liberia Needs A Visionary Not A Manager

By Armaso Bawn

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

October 13, 2003

Let me set the stage by characterizing the condition of Liberia as she is as of the writing of this article. Liberia is the equivalent of a family whose house has been burned down to the ground, and as a result, the Red Cross comes to rescue that family by providing the basic necessity of life for a temporary period.

At some point in time, that family must pick itself up and make the best out of life. That’s precisely what Liberia is today.

With every imaginable aspect of life laying in ruin, the International Community through the United Nations has come to our aid by mobilizing the biggest peacekeeping mission ever, providing humanitarian assistance and working with an interim transitional government of national unity to ensure free and fair elections are held in 2005.

Liberians must begin to look beyond the interim administration and focus on the election of 2005, as that election will determine where we go from that point and beyond both as a people and a nation. Therefore, it becomes imperative that we begin to judge the book both by its cover and content. By that, I mean, asking the hard questions that will enable us to choose the right candidate for president of Liberia.

Within the next six months, if not sooner, presidential candidates will crisscross these united states speaking to Liberians about the size of budget, the various departments in government or private corporations they’ve managed or even organizations they have headed at some point of their professional lives.

However, the current situation in Liberia demands a visionary who will imagine that bold and practical scheme that will bring about the human, social, financial capital, economic and infrastructure development that Liberia so desperately needs to sustain the temporary provision made by the international community.

As defined by the dictionary, a manager is one who takes care of or directs, therefore, in order to take care of or direct, something must first be brought into existence before the care taking or directing can be carried out. In the case of Liberia, a visionary is required to implement a bold and workable plan that will bring into existence that which was never there.

Therefore, Liberians must develop a sense of sincerity and be able to look boldly into the eyes of a want-to-be presidential candidate and tell him/her they do not possess what it takes to transform Liberia into a 21st century country if they fail to adequately answer the many hard questions that would be asked.

All Liberians will agree the country has regressed to perhaps the 17th or 18th century, however, any form of development will require a quantum leap into the 21st century. As countries around the world are striding to becoming a 21st century country in terms of their developmental programs, so must Liberia because we can not afford to play catch up as we may never catch up if we do not take advantage of the opportunity that has been presented to us by the international community.

Many of us believe that security preempts any form of development Liberia may undergo, however, we speak of security as if it does not have any cost associated with it. Granted the International Community will help us secure our territories, the question that must be asked now is what can be done to maintain the security of Liberia when a constituted government is in place.

Liberia is experiencing high unemployment and high inflation. In economic term, it is called stagflation. What would a candidate do to address the twin evil that impedes any form of economic development?

Life in Liberia is to the extreme. You are either up, that is, living a comfortable life style or down, suffering with the masses. This, in itself is a stumbling block for growth. The question that needs to be answered is, how does a presidential candidate propose to create a middle-class, which is necessary, if Liberia is to be transformed into a twenty-first century country?

Today, in Liberia, people live on less than $0.40 a day, how can we talk about development with the prevailing circumstance?

Life expectancy for male and female in Liberia is 41 and 42 respectively, how does a candidate propose to increase life expectancy in Liberia? These are just some of the questions that demand satisfactory answers.