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Saturday, July 13, 2024

“RESCUE MISSION” AND NOT REVENGE DECISION – A CAUTION TO BOAKAI AND THE UNITY PARTY

Date:

A Commentary by Olando Testimony Zeongar

On 22 January of next year, Liberia will again be on the kind side of history, as the country inaugurates its 26th president, in what is the democratically laudable second of two successive occasions of smooth transfer of political power which spans a marathon period of three scores and ten.

Liberians in a second round of voting on 14 November 2023, chose the Unity Party (UP) and its presidential ticket headed by former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai (JNB), over the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and its leader, current President George Weah – thus, Liberians now look up to Boakai and the UP, which loudly trumpeted “Rescue Mission”  as its mantra during the country’s elections this year, to stop at nothing but to rescue the country and its people.

Under Weah and the CDC, no doubt, scores of excesses were recorded, as far as political governance is concerned, and now that the ”Rescue Mission” has been validated at the polls by the Liberian people, never should the wrongs whether perceived or real, perpetrated yesterday, ever be enthroned as right – no, never on the “Rescue Mission” should yesterday’s wrongs be today’s right.

For close to six years, under the watch of the current administration, we witnessed a nation, very diminutive in both land mass and population, unspeakably submerged into deep-seated division, with national unity and reconciliation eluding the glorious land of liberty. During this period, instead of making intentional strides to reunite the country and its citizenry, officials, and supporters of the Weah administration exacerbated the fragility even more, as they preached the anti-democratic doctrine of authoritarianism, even most times publicly vocalizing divisive comments such as “That’s our time”, and it’s “Us versus Them”; the ruling class versus those in opposition, which suggested that opposition figures either joined them or be ready to feel the pinch of being jobless and subjected to other acts of suppression and oppression. There were even times that the government and operatives of the administration went after some in the opposition bloc, as far as strangulating their private investments, preventing same from operating, and at some point seeking private employers to dismiss their fellow Liberians whose only crime was political differences, especially for being members of the country’s political opposition bloc.

But now that the mantle of political governance has been bequeathed through the ballot box to you by the Liberian people, Mr. Boakai, and the Unity Party, I urge you to beware of the temptation that comes with power – the temptation to wield power so excessively in the direction of vendetta, as Liberia belongs to all including those from the CDC.

Never at any point in the six-year mandate of the “Rescue Mission” should the mission be reduced to a decision to unleash vendetta, be it state-sponsored or actions undertaken by individual missionaries; Unity Party members, supporters of the administration, or just anyone within proximity to power, as doing so would send an unpleasant signal out to the rest of the world that Liberia is far from producing leaders that will ever correct the tons of leadership missteps that have haunted the country for centuries.

Aside from exercising constitutionally approved duties well situated within the confines of the law, never again should this once sweet land of liberty and its people be made to experience the unfortunate divisive style of leadership they painfully endured under the Weah administration.

Mr. Boakai, now is the time to showcase your catchword, “Think Liberia, Love Liberia, and Build Liberia”, and the best way to do so, is for you and officials of your administration and those from the Unity Party, to prioritize national reconciliation and the reunification of this vastly divided nation – divided in almost every sphere including politically, religiously, culturally, socially, and economically.

Additionally, the elections have come and gone, blessedly, Mr. Boakai, you and the Unity Party won the highest seat in the land, and so, let the political campaign ruckuses be a thing of the past where they truly belong.

Yes, others may have not supported you, and rightfully so, there is nowhere on planet earth, in any democracy that one gets 100% support from all electorate – true, some may have done and said some unorthodox things about you, but whether right or wrong, they did so believing that they had to do so for the sides they supported. What matters now, is that you are the new leader of all of the people and not some of the people, and the best to do is to be the venerated elderly statesman you are and play the fatherly role expected of you as you sit in the highest office of the land. Please be forewarned that to achieve this, will require the exercise of a very high level of tolerance; a very essential attribute that’s also needed to be inculcated into your officials and supporters for the entire duration of your tenure.

Mr. Boakai, congratulations on your hard-won political battle on unseating an incumbent leader in this part of the world that rarely witnesses such feat – and I and many others of my compatriots look forward to the “Rescue Mission” never ever being diverted from the course of accomplishing the herculean task of nation-building, national healing and reconciliation, as well as setting this glorious land of liberty on the trajectory of progress and prosperity, to being converted into a mission engrossed in animosity and retaliatory acts of revenge.

Olando Testimony Zeongar
A cleric and a career journalist, with a wealth of experience in the journalism craft that spans over two decades. He’s also a poet and an editor.

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