By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
Being fully aware that President Sireaf is someone who reads the newspapers in this country, I have elected to pursue this path of using this medium to address my concern to her because I know that she will get the message. I feel that my using this medium is necessary because if everybody who wants to interact or get a point to the President relies on appointments, this may not be possible as the appointments may be superfluous, to an extent that she may not be able to meet all of those who really set those appointments.
In fact, one of the reasons for the newspapers or the media is to communicate ideas, message and point of views on issues to others, especially those in leadership. Whenever the media is referred to as a two-way street, it means from the people to the government and from the government to the people. Similarly, the medias is also referred to as “the marketplace for the exchange of ideas,” meaning all are entitled to use it for the advancement of society. Although this piece is not intended for the exchange of ideas, I decided to use this medium to communicate with the President, who has appointing power.
First, let me say that this piece might seem unprecedented because I do not know of a situation that someone will openly come to make such an appeal to the President. In many cases, it is always people who may recommend people, or the media, whenever there is a vacancy may speculate on the names of possible replacements in the case of dismissal, resignation, incapacitation or death.
Today, I want to make history as the first Liberian who is openly appealing to the President for something that is very strange. One may ask: what really is this passionate plea about? It is very simple. I am appealing to President Sirleaf to appointment me as a member of a special task force to monitor, supervise and enforce traffic regulations in this country. The same way the President appointed special task forces, such as the one headed by former City Mayor Mary Broh to help clean the city, was a mission accomplished.
I should not be misconstrued as suggesting that the Traffic Division of the Liberia National Police (LNP) is not working. NO! This is not the case. My appeal is to complement the efforts of the police, knowing that this is a special Presidential Task Force.
Considering recent happenings between some members of the Liberian Senate and police on the issue of traffic regulations, to an extent that there is a call from the Senate for the President to disrobe the Director, Col. Chris Massaquoi, I feel that a presidential task force would bring some sanity to this situation.
The only thing such a force would need is presidential protection, as there would be no “big shots” or “small shots,” and that even police officers would be properly monitored in this process. In the same vein, the force would need the cooperation of those in the Judicial and Legislative branches of the government, because they are also in leadership positions that must show good examples. Notwithstanding, the rules regarding exemptions would be fully respected and adhered to by the force.
I am making reference to this issue of leadership because I have observed and continue to observe in the traffic that whenever those in leadership violate the traffic regulations, others follow them, relying on the philosophy, “follow the leaders,” thus bringing about a rumpus in the traffic.
As someone who moves through the traffic from morning to night, and is fully aware of the “exceptions to the rules,” I would justify the confidence reposed in me by the President to serve on that force. As a member of that force who has observed and continue to observe that many persons who are in leadership positions continue to egregiously violate traffic regulations; I find myself well suited to be a part of this process, and wish to assure the President that in few weeks, there would be orderliness and sanity to the rules.
Such a task force would begin its work with massive educational programs for car owners, pedestrians and drivers to be conversant of the traffic regulations and at the same time state those exceptions to the rules. The force would not be involved in any acts to deride or disrespect any government officials, but to make sure that all fall in line for the smooth movement of vehicles and pedestrians, and more specifically for all of us to get to work, school and other places on time, as unnecessary traffic congestion because of disrespect to the rules, serve as bottlenecks to being on time.
As for me, I would suggest to the President that such a force lifespan should be for three months and I, personally, will be a part on pro bono basis, after requesting for a sabbatical leave for such time. I am sure at the end of these months; the force would have built that culture of respect for the traffic and vehicle laws of the country.
Today, the Mary Broh Task Force no longer exists, but the force was able to build that culture of cleanliness, that the citizens themselves are serving as watchdogs to making sure that people do not litter the streets with garbage. With this experience, I am of the conviction that this task force would contribute immensely in building the culture for the adherence to traffic rules by all, still; being fully aware of the exceptions.
At the end of this task force, I hope the President in her wisdom will name me on another task force to monitor alleys in the city and its suburbs, to ensure adherence to “not building in the alleys.” I Rest My Case.