gongloePublic Policy 

During USA visit, leading opposition candidate Gongloe briefed State Department Officials

Staff Report

As Liberia’s foremost presidential aspirant, Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe tours the USA, making his case to a cross-section of Diaspora Liberians, he has also been making some pivotal breakthroughs with non-Liberians of diverse backgrounds within the American society.

Among his numerous successful engagements is his recent high-level meeting at the U.S. State Department Headquarters in Washington D.C. Cllr. Gongloe was a guest of the Africa Bureau at the State Department on June 2, 2022.

The eminent Liberian jurist and human rights advocate thoroughly briefed officials of the Africa Bureau about the state of affairs of Liberia, his plans, and policy proposals for combating pervasive corruption, in order to unshackle the country from the doldrums of poverty and repeated governments’ failures.

The viewpoints of Cllr. Gongloe, a former Human Rights Research fellow at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights (2004-2005) as well as a recipient of the prestigious Human Rights Watch highest award (2003), has earned international respect, not only because he has remained an ardent student of political and economic affairs for over forty years, but because his reputation is based on a life-long demonstration of his commitment to “speaking truth to power” and his selfless service on behalf of all the Liberian people, irrespective of ethnic, regional, religious or political connections.  

Among other areas of bilateral interests, Cllr. Gongloe was questioned about international debt repayment as it also relates to corruption, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and what might be the most effective activity to support good governance, among other sticky emerging national issues.

The promotion of the rule of law was critically looked at and an extensive discussion was held on many ways to tackle the problem. Cllr. Gongloe stated strongly that having a credible election is fundamental to tackling the pervasive and historic bad governance of Liberia.

He talked about having enough trained and unbiased poll watchers and election workers across the country for the upcoming presidential elections in 2023, as being critically important to advancing the rule of law in Liberia.

“For people to have confidence in their elected leaders, ballots must be cast freely (not bought), monitored, counted accurately, and results communicated transparently,” Cllr. Gongloe further told officials of the Africa Bureau.

The State Department agreed that this is an area of mutual interest, one that it has supported through international election monitoring for many years and will continue to do so with an even better and advanced approach.

The Liberian lawyer shared his conviction that “change in the culture of corruption in Liberia will only be possible if leadership from the very top down insists on complete transparency from officials, quarterly disclosure of finances, and accountability.”

He stated that the failure of previous governments to live up to their promises in this regard led him to decide that he must accept the personal responsibility to do his best to make change happen by running for the presidency himself.

Counselor Gongloe emphasized that the enthusiasm of young Liberian men and women from diverse ethnic, economic, and educational backgrounds inspired him so much that he could no longer say no to their request for him to contest the 2023 presidential election, a call which he wholeheartedly accepted on December 4, 2021, in the northeastern city of GantaNimba County.

The presidential aspirant also boldly stated that other candidates in the 2023 election have not demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law for all the people of Liberia, and their rejection of special interests, as he has been doing for decades.  

Asked to elaborate, Gongloe summarized his epic commitment to human rights, for which he was incarcerated and tortured in 2002 by the Charles Taylor regime; his practice of transparent and practical leadership–from his days of student activism at the University of Liberia through ministerial positions in the national government and as president of the Liberian Bar Association; and his example of outspoken insistence on integrity, especially in the justice system stand out, among others.  

The well-known human rights activist also touched on dialogues he is having with disaffected youth in various communities in Liberia, who are drawn to drugs and crime. He said that their strong plea is for rehabilitation from addiction and skills training that leads to jobs.  

His belief is that if resources are directed to the right programs across the country and corruption is not tolerated, the underutilized human resource capacity of Liberians will rise, economic challenges can be met, and Liberia will finally emerge from its suffocating culture of dependency.

The leading presidential hopeful is currently visiting the Midwestern states of Minnesota and North Dakota, where he has been meeting with top business executives and state officials in that region.

From the east coast, Counselor Gongloe will be flying in mid-July to the western coast of the U.S. where Diaspora Liberians are planning multiple events in support of his burgeoning candidacy.

Main Photo: Tiawan Saye Gongloe, /Star TV Liberia

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