This is a reflective analysis that will take us to our horrible past if not handled with caution. I hope that this would make everyone of us to rethink about where we came from and where we are as citizens of this great nation are heading if we don’t reflect. The late Bob Marley said “if you know your history, you will know where you came from”.
As a Liberian, I am deeply concerned and not commenting would mean to me the worst form of tyranny to the nation and its people. As such, I have decided to direct my thoughts into writing which will serve as a reminder for many Liberians who perhaps don’t know where we are. Now, get along with me.
Little over a decade ago, we almost lost our nation owing to the collapse of some fundamental rudiments of Good governance within our nation. We selected by our action and inactions to pursue the path that enslaved, sold, fought and ruined our nation. The time is now than ever before especially with the opportunity it affords us to fight in defeating this deadly engine of separation and sorrow referred to as the Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Ebola should be and is our common enemy against which we must form a common alliance to defeat regardless of our diverse political ideologies and interests. This goes to bear why two fighting men would immediately abandon their fight and form an alliance against an intruding lion.
Let us not allow cowards and so called state actors with personal political agenda to once more divide us as has always been in time past. This is another attempt to sidetrack us from the path of our individual and collective efforts as patriotic Liberians, in contributing to the development, stability of our once failed state.
Unarguably, in some cases we have maintained certain descending prepositions in our concepts of governance as well as in the strategies for socio-economic development and reconstruction of our nation. Yes, there are times where we disagreed with each other which have been promoted widely across the nation to freely express our different positions by the articulations of diverse views making use of the mass media and especially with the assistance of the table mountain declaration should not be carried over to this common patrimonial battle against a virus as deadly as Ebola.
Indeed, this is time for us to unite on one front in ensuring a violent free environment of governance; so as to earn, harness, promote and sustain the relative peace gained during this critical period of our national image management, in the history of our nation. It had been for long time since our essential documents were questioned even within our very MRU sub-region, Africa and the world at large ranging from driver licenses to travel documents. We were not conceited to identify ourselves outside of our nation with obvious fear of being forced to fashion white lie, stigmatization, denial or castigation.
My Personal reflection
I recall exile life in Deckie, Guinea which is approximately 45km away from my home town Kpein, near the commercial capital of Nimba (Gompa city), situated in the northern part of Liberia also about 251km away from Monrovia.
Some points in time, just to acquire land for farming and hunting, we concealed our identities. It became easy for us because cultures and languages have their own ways of uniting people.
Liberians, let us not pretend about this: growing up in a third world country in sub Sahara Africa and like any other child in a rural setting, I was encouraged to help my people, set trap, fetched palm wine, hunted amongst others that which I was very successful.
I can clearly comment to the memory on how I went in opposition to my strength of character even though voicing it out would have been a serious form of disrespect to the highest level against my parents. By this, with no much option, I imprisoned my thoughts abiding by the common Law which states that he that succeeds must always give certain defined portion as a sense of gratitude to the owner of the land; otherwise the attending law was expected to come in effect.
Yes, I still recall how our travel documents including passports and visas were treated with disdain at other international port terminals. We were embarrassed and despoiled to identify with our now so cherished country.
Liberians, let us be reminded, there is too much at stake to proceed on personal aggrandizement. Our post-conflict economy is bleeding, potential investors are leaving day by day, and negative perception is now on the increase with the outside world which has an adverse consequence on our country’s international morality. This is quite significant to remind us of the troubled war years when we were all left alone to face our self-made atrocities because of same self-proclaimed nationalists. Not until the latter stages when international interventions began to come in the forms of peacekeeping and humanitarian aids that we can now boost of a decade-earned peace.
As a result of this virus that has claimed over 1,500 precious lives of our compatriots, policy makers are forced to adjust the pending mid-term senatorial election. As a result, 15 senators will now be serving us in the Liberian senate without the people’s expressed mandates as of October 14, 2014, upon the completion of their constitutional term of office.
In my view, just like the way the civil war compelled us to have had two sets of Special Elections in 1997 and 2005 respectively, so we shall do so in this case to avoid a constitutional crisis of ‘illegal 15 senators’
At our institutions of learning where competitions were believed to have kicked off with others outside of the country have just dropped again, are we thinking? Do you care to recount the distances we covered? It took us long time to get this much desired privilege signal as a developing nation with a success story, and as such, we must guide it with our teeth at all times. If not careful, we might start all over struggling again, a cost we can’t afford to pay easily, it took us long to get to where we were prior to the Ebola Crisis.
The team against itself and a complete war within as we face the Ebola battle, is one that may be termed as the cabinet in opposition to itself due to the lack of coordinating team work of some key cabinet members and other relevant high profile officials of this regime. There is a need to recognize the distinctive mark between Legislative function and Executive power; and avoid the continuous confusion that exists across the fifteen political subdivisions of the country. It is ironical for policy makers to engage in a wrestle on their young rice farm. We are losing this national fight led by the Executive in the administration of our government.
Amidst challenges the country is faced with, some of which are created as a result of shared ignorance, deceit, dishonesty, undermining, over-ambition, pride, incompetence generational envy, ethnic loyalty, and other deadly disasters like Ebola, Aids &HIVs. One can safely surmise that we are running on empty gas tank, as this is not the time to fight or prove who is working in the eye of a status quos.
Empirically, this runs counterclockwise to the concept of any successful government in the history of national governance. This is not time to see another cabinet colleague struggles and fails, just to prove a point, you may have come on different boat but at present, we all are on the same ship Liberia (nationalism).
In my mind, the Liberian cabinet needs an urgent unification and resuscitation so as to protect the government’s image and the president’s legacy as already implied in their respective mandates. We have to cultivate the spirit of practical, measurable, and realistic patriotism.
Liberians have to always exhibit good example by standing up bright and tall in Africa and not seasonal. We did it before why not now? Let us develop and nurture a common core by putting Liberia first as without it, the term Liberia is only a fabrication of imagination.
Cultivating the spirit of second chance
I have accepted to understand and pardon people, whenever I retrospect on my late maternal Grand -father (Charles D. Wynn) former Post Master General of Liberia. Who said ”when you go fishing with an arrogant individual always try to acquaint him with the rules.
In the event, he overlooks it, allow him to experience for himself. Whenever you notice him going deeper try to rescue him and give a second chance by reminding him of the attending vulnerability. He will appreciate and better understand you the next time….then rather allowing him to dive deep and die.” This is the exact stage we as people of this nation have reached, the wall street journal, Beneditkt, M. (1991) Cyberspace:
”There are no mistakes in life but only lessons and lessons will keep on repeating until learned”. This second chance will mean nothing if we never learn the lessons of our first mistakes. Liberians, our national interest is at stalk, let us galvanize support to have it rescued rationally.
We all owe it as part of the national agency of the state; together we are able to create a better nation that we will be satisfied with. Let us focus on tolerance and peace based not on a sudden revolution in human nature, but on a gradual evolution in institutions.
Let us focus on series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the best interest of all concerned. By defining our goal more clearly, making it more manageable and less remote, we can make everyone to see it, to draw hope from actual national reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief and sustain our hopes for a wonderful life for all.
Melvin Saye Sendolo Garpeh is a lecturer of Public Administration at the University of Liberia and also a former Representative Candidate in the 2011 legislative elections in Nimba electoral district #8. He is always passionate about national happenings in his country Liberia. He can be reached on (+231)886520742 and at email: firstname.lastname@example.org