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Editorial

It can be recalled that Dan Orogun, Managing Director of the Guaranty Trust Bank in Liberia died under mysterious circumstances following a boat ride with one of Liberia’s business tycoon, Atty George Kailondo. Mr. Orogun, a Nigerian national body was recovered from the river on January 26, 2016 off the Robert field Highway.

Comment

THE RATHER GHOULISH death of Mr. Harry Greaves, former managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company-LPRC whose comatose body was found on the beach close to the Foreign Ministry – seat of the presidency- has engendered uneasy calm in the land and remains one of Liberia’s biggest panic-stricken nightmares. Whether it was a suicide (he took his own life) or whether he was simply murdered (someone killed him), is still being contested, and it may take many weeks, if not years, before the truth is revealed.


NOTWITHSTANDING HOW LONG it takes before what actually transpired is established, the scare the situation has created for the country will not be easily erased because what supposed to be fundamentally primary focus of the government seems to be secondary.


OVER AND AGAIN in the most recent past, Liberians have been confronted with the terrible encumbrance of going extra miles to import foreign experts (pathologists) to conduct autopsies on the remains of individuals whose death created, at times, inseparable degree of chasm. It is clear that before Harry Greaves was Rep. Moses Tandapoli followed by Victoria Zayzay and then Michael Allison, all costly undertakings that proved futile in terms of realization of the needed outcomes.


OUR UNDERSTANDING IS that it is costing government huge sum of tax payers’ money to hire pathologists from foreign lands, as in the case of those hired from either United States and Great Britain, for the purpose of performing forensic autopsies on remains of Liberians with questionable deaths. At times, we would like to say, no one has control over the plague of situations, but there are other options applicable to contain some of these unwholesome developments.


WE THINK IT is an extravagant venture spending huge sum of money to deal with these kind of situations when in fact, the pathologists are not even in the position to even make any determination of who the culprits behind one’s death are when it is at times glaring that the person was tempered with. In the case of Victorial Zayzay who died in police cell, the pathologist could not determine the cause (“Cause undermined’). What a waste of money!


WHAT THIS EXPLAINS, in our mind is that focus should be placed on the prevention of these types of situations instead of spending money on people who, at times, we don’t get results from. The common sense to this is that performing autopsy does not in any way bring someone back to life. For example, Harry Greaves is history, meaning Liberia or his family can never get him back. So it makes more sense if resources are deployed or directed toward the prevention. Which means the provision of security for its citizens. More importantly, it is better to prevent such situations.


FOR US, IT will make sense if managements of beaches across the city are mandated to deploy guards at their beaches to monitor people in and out. It will also make sense if managements are mandated not to allow people on the beach at certain hours. It will make sense as well, in our view, that beach management takes stock of individuals to and fro their areas of control so that it becomes very easy to trace situations such as the case with Mr. Greaves’ passing.


FOR US, THESE ARE preventable measures that could reduce to risk of loss of lives and the burden of paying US$35,000 or above to a single pathologist when in fact they are not giving us any good results.

Comment

ON THE MONDAY, January 25, 2016, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in keeping with the Liberian Constitution to which she pledged allegiance to uphold and defend, mounted the podium for the singular purpose of delivering her Annual Message, otherwise referred to as “State of the Nation Address.” It is one of the many solemn occasions in the history of the nation that draws all Liberians far and near and gives them a true sense of the direction their country is headed, because it details the administration’s – as required by law – legislative and administrative agenda.


IT WOULD BE a disservice to suggest that it is a babyish undertaking by all measures, standing before both Houses of the National Legislature and by extension, millions of Liberians across the length and breadth of the country, to give accounts of what is being done, how it is being done, and what is to be done. It would, unarguably, be a complete desecration of the Constitution had the President chosen to forgo this task, as it would be an unforgettable and unforgivable affront to the entire nation. By the way, no President can take matter of such into their own hands.


THIS IS WHY we think it is important to acknowledge her openness and willingness to demonstrate such enduring commitment to the laws of the land, to keep the citizens abreast of successes being made and the underpinning challenges the country continues to encounter along the way. In the address, we noticed how tried she did to elucidate the grim economic picture the country is faced with, generally caused by global decline in the prices of leading commodities (i.e. iron ore, rubber and oil), accentuated government’s efforts to obviate these gloomy situations, the task of Liberians taking control of the security of the state in the absence of UNMIL, and many other engrossing developments of national interest.


HOWEVER, WE WOULD like to state for the records that the address itself was without major slip-ups, and that the President, to some extent, did not do too well on other hand. By the standards of the Annual Message, the President is under obligation to recount the government’s programs for the preceding year, and in this case, we expected the president to remain in the confines of 2015. But on the contrary, we noticed Madam Sirleaf went beyond the periphery of 2015, soberly recounted government’s programs as far back as 2006.


FOR EXAMPLE, SHE said “In 2006, we inherited a collapsed economy – a staggering 90 percent decline in Gross Domestic Product, the greatest by any nation since World War II. We also inherited an unsustainable debt level of more than 600 percent of GDP brought about by debt un-serviced for over two decades. We were at the bottom of a very deep hole. We immediately set out to revive the productive sectors historically dominated by iron ore and rubber, cancelled all non-compliant forestry agreements and renegotiated the Firestone and Arcelor-Mittal Concession Agreements. Importantly also, we negotiated and obtained the cancellation of an external debt burden of US$4.9 billion in a record period of five years under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. This important undertaking returned us to the path of economic recovery by expanding the fiscal space to pursue our agenda of inclusive growth and development.”

 

FOR THE PURPOSE of the Annual Message and given the tacit breach of such constitutional protocol on the part of the President, we thought to say she misdirected the purpose and attempted to mislead or confuse the nation. The President must agree that Monday address should have only cataloged programs the government undertook last year and not to delve into 2006, 10 years after taking office. Even if the reason is for the purpose of connection, 2006 is too distant a year to mention when reflecting on programs of 2015.

 

WE WANT TO remind President Sirleaf that Monday’s Annual Address was not a farewell to the nation that she would endeavor to catalogue every effort made since taking office in 2006. If so, then she needed to have talked about everything from 2007 to 2015.

Comment

WITH ABOUT TWO years to holding of another epochal election, Liberians are witnessing an unprecedented birth of more political parties added to the already huge number of existing parties. This grand drive seems to be premised on the desire for a more democratically pluralistic political space that allows unhindered popular people’s participation, which is good for a nascent democracy like Liberia’s, so that everyone feels involved in the direction the country is taking. But does Liberia actually need multiplicity of parties to overcome its deep trenches of enormous lack?


HOWEVER, THIS CANNOT be said without methodically mirroring other factors so fundamental in realizing the genuine meaning of democracy, other than “a government by the people, for the people and of the people.” It should be argued that the formation of more political parties as it is the case in Liberia cannot be a testament of the existing democracy. In other words, it is so disingenuous to define democracy as having over one hundred political parties, or each citizen of the country putting few group of “disenchanted citizens” together for political reasons. In the first place, disenchantment is relative.


THIS IS EXACLTY what Speaker Alex Tyler of the House of Representatives and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP), a new political establishment, portrayed when he said “there will more political parties when the people are disenchanted,” as the case seems to be with the Unity Party government. The Speaker Tyler, a founding member of the LPDP, spoke in Kakata, Margibi County at the party’s 1st national convention under the theme: “The New Direction.”


WE AGREE THAT the Speaker and others who are the brain of the new party broke away from the Unity Party “for policy differences,” making them disenchanted former partisans, a justification of his statement for the reasons parties are formed in such exponential manner. His statement seems to undercut why political parties are so ingrained to the tenets of democracy because everyone in Liberia will form a party because they are not satisfied with few things in a ruling party.


THE ESSENCE OF democracy - a kind of freedom guaranteed any people of any nation by their constitution - is to provide a broader platform that enhances the people’s quest and determination for more functioning and freer society, where their views are inculcated into national decision-making processes that guarantee growth and development. This is why we don’t think the Speaker struck the proper chord because it is a single party that is elected to office at the end of an electioneering process, and there is a high possibility that such winning party may not respond, in a more positive way, to the aspirations of the electorate (the people). Has Liberia overcome disenchantment with the current number of parties? Certainly not, meaning that the Speaker is wrong.


WHAT THE SPEAKER did not say he must be reminded of is his failure, as an executive member of the UP, to address the problems that created the “disenchantment” he talked about. It is not him who should form a new party on the basis of disenchantment, but the people (partisans and ordinary Liberians) victimized by the actions of the UP on whose ticket he was elected twice but later broke away from. He will have to explain whether partisans of the LPDP are those disenchanted UP partisans that left.


WHAT SPEAKER TYLER also did not say is the fact that he aspires for the highest office of the land and the only way he can achieve this dream is to form a party he will have control over, he can bully his way by the use of the influence he has, as one of the financiers of the LPDP. Speaker Tyler and others defected UP partisans don’t want to identify with the UP because they see it as an institution that already lost its way on the political front, thinking that a new party will provide them that platform to be heard and seen in 2017. Benoni Urey did not form the All Liberia Party (ALP) because he is disenchanted; it is because he wants to be president of Liberia, and this goes to all others who don’t see their way in the makeup of their political institutions. Disenchantment is a cream of human nature and if Liberians will form parties on the basis of that, Liberia stands to have the highest number of parties than any nation in the world, and in the end the desires of all Liberians for a better developed nation will not be achieved.


THE POINT IS no amount of new parties will solve the problems responsible for the disenchantment Speaker Tyler talks about, the point is serious and determined characters who will bury self-centeredness for self-abnegation. So, we disagree with the Speaker’s version that Liberia can get better with the formation of parties

Comment

FOR THE SECOND time, Liberia has crashed out of the record of beating back the Ebola Virus Disease, with the troubling re-emergence of the virus, just two months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the nation free of the virus following the second spell of the 42 days without new infection.

Comment

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