A Patriot’s Diary
With Nahdee Droh-Juu
Nearly six years have come by for the ultimate winner of the 2017 general and presidential elections in the small West African nation. The clamour for change in Liberia has been an age-old struggle. What manner of change if you may? Simply a change of government? Perhaps a reflection of new wine in old bottles as it were. Really? Gosh!
Governments are not ‘angelic!’ The masses seem not to understand any such thing. the politicians do but often play politics with the lives of the people. Governments are ordinarily the configuration of so-called well-intentioned individuals of diverse backgrounds supposedly determined to address a moribund of challenges confronting their compatriots through the provision of tangible goods and services.
Most often than not, these power-seekers hide under the canopy of the plight and sufferings of the vast majority of the people often referred to as the masses. The masses endlessly yearn for change and better life. The outcomes are usually a bundle of frustration. Nearly six years ago – a group under the banner of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) sought to advance the course of what it dubbed: “Change for Hope.”
Arguably, the bizarre change so earnestly sought, became self-evident but the hope turned out to be elusive to say the least. And a six-year mandate seems as though a couple of weeks. Accounting for its stewardship as a government of the day – is at stake. The voters will decide on October 10 in crucial polls that will see whether six years have been well spent or otherwise.
As of August ‘5’ this year – the political atmosphere will be crazily charged, frosty, and somewhat characterized by an aura of skin-biting propaganda craze. Such is the complexity of democratic processes. Mind you, challenges don’t automatically go away as a result of any election. It is what the elected government does with power won at the ballot box that determines a likely difference in the lives of the ordinary people.
Campaigns are essentially about unveiling political manifestos, marketing candidates and winning hearts and minds to capture votes. Campaigns dictate the marshaling of strategies. It is a war of ideas and ideals. The selling message must be well-thought-out, precise and voters-centered! Lest we forget, campaigns also produce some element of falsehoods. Politicians speak about building bridges where there are no rivers.
Campaigns are about the moment of civility – with focus on why a political party wants power; how it hopes to effectively utilize such power for the greater good vis-a-vis adopting a pragmatic approach aimed at improving lives and livelihoods of the so-called ‘masses.’
As Liberians brace for yet another decisive general and presidential elections in its grotesque 176 years self-determination, we enjoin all and sundry to go into this campaign season with a sense of civility, peaceful coexistence, tolerance, and a semblance of mutual respect for each other. It is better to ‘joy-joy’ than ‘war-war’. Our experience of a brutal 14-year old self-destructive war cannot be reason to return to an ugly past.
Elections in a democracy cannot be equated to an atmosphere of war. In elections, we don’t have belligerent parties but political parties. These elections must be seen as a contest about the best ideas to lift Liberia from its slumber and the ardent emancipation of the masses from poverty.
Yes, Liberia votes on October ‘10’ but the anticipation is an aggressive reversal of the nightmare created by greed, mismanagement and bad governance. The overhaul of our economy, education, and health systems. Agriculture cannot be overemphasized! Our vast land fertility should not continue to lie in waste. Our people want jobs! Fighting joblessness is an imperative for any serious government! Giving voice and visibility to our women must be prioritized! Strengthening our local governance structures and making accountability and integrity and undisputed imperatives for a better Liberia agenda. Making our country accessible through infrastructure cannot remain herculean. It is doable!