Waritay Wants Media Scrutinize 2017 Candidates

Veteran Communications practitioner, Lamini A. Waritay, is urging the media and civil society to “critically scrutinize the socio-political pedigree and programmatic platforms of all presidential aspirants in the lead up to the 2017 elections” which, he said, would constitute a “watershed” in the electoral history of Liberia.

Positing that “just as a people deserve the government they have, so also society deserves the media it has,” the former Press Union of Liberia said “such vigorous appraisals would help to educate and enhance the understanding of the electorate regarding the motivations behind the numerous aspirants sprouting on the electoral landscape, and their capabilities to foster quality governance and leadership once elected.”

He said this is necessary because, according to him, many Presidential aspirants emerge on the scene with various self-seeking reasons, ranging from the opportunity for self-enrichment, to acquisition of fame and the sheer ego of being called ‘President’.

Waritay made the observations when he was responding to a statement from the civil society group, the Progressive Alliance movement of Liberia, which homered him on Tuesday for what the group called “Prof. Waritay’s consistent display of professionalism, patriotism and transparency in all the positions he has held in the country over the years—including “services he rendered as President of the Press Union of Liberia during a very critical political period in the country; as educator at the University of Liberia; as Minister of Information in the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) during the tumultuous conflict years of the ’90s; and as a Commissioner at the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) in recent times.”

Waritay noted that “many a time African politicians may know how to get to a position of public trust and leadership, but when it comes to utilizing or leveraging that privileged position in a way that can meaningfully and quantitatively impact on the lives of the ordinary citizen, such power wielders often find themselves completely at sea and out of their depth.”

This kind of political and leadership disposition, he averred, must be rejected by the media and the electorate, predicting that the outcome of the 2017 elections, depending on who emerges as leader, could place the country either on “reverse gear or on an acceleratory trajectory for socio-economic development.”

He observed that “the past ten years have basically been about building, maintaining and consolidating peace and expanding the space for free expression”—which, he pointed out, “constitute achievements by any definition.”

Going forward as of 2017, Waritay opined, “the new political dispensation should ensure that emphasis is shifted to what he refers to as “real developmental issues that will impact positively and significantly on the life of the average person—including generally available electricity and pipe-borne water,” as well as “food security and better health facilities for all, inclusive of the impoverished sections of our population.”