MELBOURNE—There is no doubt that Prophet Key [PK] has insulted nearly every public figure and tribe in and out of Liberia, which is morally questionable. But aren’t we in the FREEDOM OF SPEECH era where the thin line between FREE SPEECH and RESPONSIBILITY continues to be blurred and debatable? Liberian politics today has become an environment of insults which continues to show the moral deficiency of our society; thanks to President Weah’s CDC, who created and nurtured this ‘tactic’ and spent 12 years in Opposition describing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s femininity rather than her ability to lead. What did they expect that Liberians like PK and others would do to a President Weah?
IF the Mandingo/Muslim Community truly wants to venture into the toxic political environment in Liberia today, they must adapt, develop a thick skin and be less reactive to criticism, fierce scrutiny and even insults from folks like PK. It is obvious that anyone who ventures into our political environment today is getting his/her fair share of insults – be it male, female, Muslim or Christian.
THE idea that everything and everyone who is critical about a member of this Community is suddenly anti-Mandingo/Muslim or a BIGOT, even in the face of corruption, continues to show that the Community is ill-prepared to venture into the current political arena. For example, Mr Amara Mohammed Konneh (AMK) is currently wanted by the Weah government for alleged corruption – allegations he denounced as a political witch-hunt. However, Mr Konneh is yet to return to Liberia to clear his name since these allegations were made against him and a few others in March 2018. Even if he does, Liberians are very unforgiving especially for the FACELESS role he played in 2017 to help President Sirleaf undermined the will of the Liberian people and the Unity Party, which led to the current mess of a government. If the Mandingo/Muslim Community is not careful, it is evident that Mr Konneh’s personal baggage will continue to affect the entire Community politically; thus putting him forward to the Liberian people as the BEST person that the Community can offer Liberia will definitely continue to attract reaction, criticism, fierce scrutiny and even more insults.
WHAT the Community needs to do is to self-evaluate, reflect and present its BEST MINDS that are UNTAINTED. Whilst the age-old discriminatory Mandingo/Muslim factor cannot be ruled out for any potential legislative or presidential candidate from the Community, it is without doubt that a candidate that can cut across his/her district, county and/or the country to relate with the everyday voter will have similar chances as any of his/her political opponents. The Community must therefore search deeper within for such candidates who I believe are not in short supply!
IN ADDITION, the Mandingo/Muslim Community must be extremely strategic and proactive – not reactive. To achieve this, they can start from the grassroots – like the role that Hon. Musa Bility is currently playing within the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP). In 2005, many Liberians believed that Professor Alhaji G.V Kromah would have ventured for the Senate seat in his native Lofa County along with a few others from the Community who were running for Parliament, however he left what looked like a possible win then to run for the Presidency and lost everything. That ill-advised decision has proved to be a lost opportunity not only for himself but the entire Community! Even his own All Liberia Coalition Party (ALCOP) has struggled to survive since then.
IN CONCLUSION, the Mandingo/Muslim Community must not repeat Mr Kromah’s mistake with an already TAINTED Amara Konneh because Liberians will reject him too. They must pay attention instead to Hon. Musa Bility’s grassroots style and continue to search within for UNTAINTED candidates who are obviously not in short supply. They must also pay attention to how minority groups can galvanise political power which will help them strengthen the economic power they already shared in Liberia. The Community must be strategic and proactive, NOT reactive! And I wish them GOOD LUCK!
Samuel Sakama is a Liberian residing in Melbourne, Australia. He can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All views expressed in this article are the writer’s.
Main Photo: Self Described Prophet Key