News Op-ed 

The opposition must find common ground


The Editor,

For Liberia to develop, we must have a high churn/turnover rate in the shortest possible time. That’s why we must change/shorten the duration of terms for the presidency and legislature as well as set term limits to a maximum of 3 for lawmakers. Anyway, I digress.

My focus on churn/turnover is specifically for the ruling party. They have served 12 years, very long term in modern day development analysis. Unfortunately, they have had limited success in moving the development needle forward. Yes, we argue that many of those wanting to succeed the current government are themselves in government. However, it is not just the fact that the presidential aspirants have been in government, it’s more that they have not been able to influence decision making like the ruling party is able to do. They have not been able to position family or friends like the ruling party has been able to do. Hence, their being in government is limited in terms of the impact they can have.

As our democracy develops, we need strong opposition. Many in this government have gained tremendous wealth at the expense of the people and for some through hard work & business savvy. Let us vote the UP government out to give a new set of Liberians an opportunity at leadership and the incumbent party a chance to be in opposition. The UP will be a strong opposition, having tasted power and definitely desirous of maintaining or returning to power. They know the chasms and fissures of government. They will really understand how to hold the new government accountable and thereby strengthen the tenets of practical democracy.

With this backdrop, the entire opposition needs to recognize that only ONE party/coalition can win the elections. The bigger idea is to first commit to an opposition win. This will require sacrificing political energy designated for dismantling and decimating other opposition and directing it at the ruling party. This will require putting ego at the door and entering a covenant to support whichever opposition makes it to the second round. If two opposition parties make it there, may the better one convince the others that they are the right choice. The opposition must find common ground to dislodge the ruling party from the seat of power. There is enough to keep people happy in the absence of greed. A national government of inclusion is a better proposition that another 6-12 years of Unity Party rule. Can we come to the table to begin these discussions?

—Vah Isaac Tukpah

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