By Cllr Jerome Verdier
So, I believe the real issue or difference between political parties in Liberia should not be based on who articulates those issues better but rather how to address those issues in Liberia. I think that is the real difference we should present to the electorates, otherwise the existence of several different parties serves no useful political purpose except to divide and confuse the electorate.
This is my position in Liberian politics that all the parties are saying the same thing without any unique approach to tackling the issues that matter in Liberia so we need three mainstream political parties in Liberia. This will advance unity and reconciliation; narrow the options of the electorates and focus the national dialogue on the issues and the “how’s” about solving the national issues.
That’s the advantage of narrowing the political divide which is not so real at all. Instead the multiplication of political parties in Liberia is not based on philosophy or national development plans but based on ambition, ethnicity (not even culture but the barest and most arrogant cleavages – ethnicity).
Liberia can do better! In this era when a new generation is on the verge of taking over, not just taking over the reins of leadership but assuming responsibility by inheritance of the complex social, economic and political situation confronting the nation. This generational obligation requires greater unity, that harnesses very scarce resources in quality manpower, human resources, education and training, needed to build and sustain ‘ a wholesome functioning society’.
This is very significant to ushering a new era of collaboration and progressive unity for success. Otherwise, we will fail to break away from the past of failed leadership, corruption, patronage, cronyism, nepotism, and underdevelopment, human rights abuses, illiteracy, malaria, impunity, economic crimes and war crimes.
My proposition for reducing political parties is simply this. By mandatory legislative actions, all political parties that have held political power in Liberia, exercising political authority, economic dominance of power and history be grouped into one party( TWP, NDPL, UP) , the second group can be all active political parties that have contested against these three political parties be grouped as the second party and the third political party can comprise of all those independent thinkers that disagree or are opposed to this arrangement or do not believe or were never a part of any of the political groupings of one and two be grouped into the third political party.
These will be the three vehicles for political delivery in Liberia that all Liberians must subscribe and just in case there are still others who decry this approach, the standard, rule or guidelines for the emergence of a fourth group can be established by political scientists who will also develop a political, social- economic philosophy undergirding these three political groupings so that they are grounded in well-established political and socio-economic thinking, clearly delineated that people can make conscious choices of which political party to register with or follow.
This is the political front of the reform or revolution we need in Liberia. To this end of national revolution we need a national political conference to complete this process. We also need an economic conference to redefine the functioning, benefits and structure of our national economy – national economic conference – so that we reform or transform our economy so that it operates to benefit the people, followed by the third conference focusing on the education sector, reforms and Revolution to redefine the main purpose of education in Liberia, reflecting history, culture, anthropology, national political experience and national development priorities. That’s the third, the fourth conference will be on national housing, national a humanity and West Point.
This will be the socio-welfare dimension of the revolution that must define the new generation that is on the verge of taking over national leadership in Liberia, if it is not business as usual in Liberia. Preparing and embracing generational change anyone, judging from the foregoing, will realize that unity and national reconciliation will be our strength and is our goal. To this end, the current government must do the following:
1. Halt the ongoing process of ‘constitutional adventurism’ which serves no purpose or. Promotes any national agenda, political or otherwise. It’s an exercise in futility that promotes or serves no national priority. It has created jobs for friends and cronies, tinkers on unsettling national unity and religious coexistence and it’s premised on no useful national value. It based on the selfish ambition to leave a mark on the history of times and founded on no national experience, history or anthropology.
Constitutional reforms require a national agenda that is very popular and massively supported by the people. In this case, there is none! Public awareness and education about what is obtaining is non-existent. And so public support is correspondingly low. So this isolated process is private, rather than public and it serves the narrow private interests of its narrow-minded architects and must therefore be halted and effectively discontinued.
What right has an outgoing failed government with less than two years I’d office to impose its myopic and selfish butchering of the constitution on the people it has failed to properly serve or lead to nobler heights. The second thing that is urgent for the proper transitioning of a new generation on the verge of taking over this country is the proper conduct of the 2017 General Elections.
This requires infusing transparency, accountability and the major issue of inclusion and participation into the process, which has underpinned stability, violence and war in Liberia and one of the findings on the root causes of the conflict in Liberia was the exclusionary policies of the past and clamouring for participation.
The Board of the National Elections Commission is stacked with appointed tees of the President bringing to question independence and fairness of the electoral process which has attracted conflicts, electoral disputes and conflicting results.
Transitioning the New Generation requires accountability, transparency and inclusive governance mainstreamed into all layers and spheres of government starting with the NEC. Election bodies around the world have been made more inclusive and transparent and participatory to enhance these goals and promote national harmony and unity and public trust in the integrity of the NEC, it’s processes and outcomes or products of its work like election results.
We are proposing that the constitution of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC be reformed from the current executive based appointment to a constituent – representation based on the following:
That all key stakeholders in the electoral process have direct representation on the governing board of the NEC as below:
All political parties … 2 reps 2. Civil Society (women, youth) ….. 2 reps 3. The Executive Branch …. 1 rep 4. The Legislature (Senate, Reps) …. 2reps All seven constituent representatives/commissioners will appoint a chairperson under predetermined rules and regulations and conforming to reformed elections laws.
The political parties in selecting their two representatives the last three parties in the last elections naming one and the other one representative chosen or designated by the remaining opposition political parties