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Liberian House Speaker Alex Tyler’s Selfish Presidential Ambition

Hawa Wesseh

This month, having served as house speaker for almost a decade, Alex J. Tyler resigned from the ruling Unity Party [UP], perhaps sensing the party has spent it political capital with Johnson Sirleaf calling the shots since 2005, or sensing he will not get his party nomination. But whatever recognized public perception there might be, with the ruling UP running up to 2017, there is no way Alex Tyler can extricate himself from the record already laid. Tyler, reports say is contemplating forming his own party to run for the Liberian presidency instead! Tyler’s perceive ambitions to a larger extend is a microcosm of the typical Liberian politician that gallivants from one party to another no matter the circumstance to hold a ‘Government job.”

No gain saying, politicians will always be politicians, but in Tyler’s naked ambition it becomes evident that institutions do not matter. Why not stay with the Unity Party, go into an open primary and support the eventual winner? Currently there are 22 political registered parties in the country for about four million people, and when you considered established democracies to which we run cap in hand to beg for aid and gratuities—you will count mostly two or three and specifically based on political ideologies that serves the greater good of their people, and often for good reason: Liberals, Conservatives, or center right or center left, a little both of both. But not in a place called Liberia where politicians like Tyler are just in the game to line their pockets as they offered no policy prescription to bring order to a rotten system that has been in existence since 1822.

And Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sadly has not help these narratives of leaving a lasting legacy as a counter balance to the ills of yesterday, for hers’ has been a culture of impunity steep in patronage, still!

As the third most powerful man and government official, Tyler has no record to run on, but yet he is convinced that his push for the presidency would be successful if he just puts his name forward and show his handsome face with a big smile. He actually has been a really bad leader of the Honorable House of Representatives these last few years. The lingering corruption that the country currently grapples with, which can also be likened to the other branches of government is tied to the legislature that he heads.

For example, oversight over the executive branch and especially the presidency has not been robust and forthcoming as expected under him. Even with charges against the president for nepotism dominating the pages and public opinion across the land being horrendous, Tyler and the legislature offered no solution, neither did it passed any bill nor motion to check this awkward act which is a major contributing factor to the Liberian civil war, which saw 300.000 of our people died at the cold hands of murderers, cum “freedom fighters!” Hence, the fall of the National Oil Company of Liberia [NOCAL] when looked at critically cannot just be the fault of Ellen and her friends, it falls squarely also at the feet of Alex Tyler and the leadership he provided as house speaker! He and his peers demanded bribes [so-called lobbying fees] to approved oil blocks as they romance with officials of the oil company to lined their pockets while ignoring the interests of the Liberian people, and what we see today is mass poverty of the Liberians, even also under Tyler’s watch legislators are unacceptably overpaid.

“Unfortunately, the members of the National Legislature, who should be advocating for a fair salary structure in the public sectors, are themselves grossly overpaid: Their base salaries, allowances and perks are just too much, especially for a developing country like Liberia that is coming out of two devastating civil wars. As a solution, we need a new salary structure for the public sector that is fair and reasonable…” says political science professor George klay kieh of West Georgia. Alex Tyler provided no alternative no leadership on the issues and especially so, the county development funds which has seen abuse by the legislature, under his watch! He seems to be a political leader whose ascension to one of the nation’s highest office has been to also entrench “patronage and the culture of impunity” which ultimately it seems will be the legacy of the current administration! What now does he hopes to accomplish as a president of a devastated nation when he could not control the chambers of the House of Representatives?!

To look at the meteoric rise of Alexander J. Tyler is to ask the question where was this so-called aspirant all these years before he ascended to the speakership. Some accounts say he was a successful business man, “successful” in the Liberian sense. He has no previous record of advocating for anything in Liberia during the country turbulent history of the 70s 80s and 90s [prove me wrong]. And sadly, he owns his rise basically to those individuals whose fights and stands on the vexing issues of the day have shown no interest whatsoever in running for public offices! Men like Jerome Verdier, Kofi woods, Tialwon Saye Gongloe, Nagbalee warner and a host of others—whose advocacy principally has enlightened and sided with the poor people of Liberia, while Alex Tyler and his elks—the run away group lined their pockets at the expense of the destitute they claim to represent—high time in a Liberia where political institutions that should serve as bed rock to groom the best political minds and give us tested leaders has all but fallen to the roadside. His indiscipline is now evident in the weight he carries around since becoming speaker of the Honorable House. Move over Alex, the Executive mansion is a long shot buddy!

Alex J Tyler will not be elected president of Liberian people this election term expected. He contributed insignificantly to the political order during his 10 years as the speaker and his stewardship speaks for itself. It seems government jobs are all that matters in Liberia— time in memorial, even too a failed speaker who now eyes the nation’s highest office at a time when there are cries in the streets from the citizens for a political order that is free, fair and which works for everyone based on merit—Tyler doesn’t fit the bill to deliver the goods! Tyler must return to the private sector after his two decades long fail years as speaker. His political capital has been spent!

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