Call To Move In ‘Right Direction’ -Dr. Tipoteh Rallies Liberians in New Year Message

The debate highlighting mixed reactions as to where Liberia is headed – whether it is headed to the right or wrong direction – has been around for quite a while. It increases in volume from one political era to another particularly since civic education was placed on national discourse by the ‘progressives’ of the 1970s. The silence or lethargy of the ‘progressives’ lately has reduced the volume of the date in recent years, leaving the discourse swayed to inconsequential verbosities. But one of the ‘progressives’, who is widely credited for the level of political consciousness in the country, Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, has just refreshed the debate in his Annual Message to the Nation. The Analyst reports.

One of Liberia’s foremost eminent statesmen and politicians, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, has shared his thoughts on the state of affairs of Liberia, calling on citizens to adapt actions necessary to set the country of the right trajectory.

Members of the ruling class and their supporters believe Liberia is headed into the right direction under President George Manneh Weah with a couple of first-time transformative policies and actions, including free tuition for public college education, payment of WASSCE for students, building pro-poor homes for pauperized Liberians and building more decent roads, amongst other things.

But using the lens of Dr. Tipoteh, an ace economist and man of letters, to soberly observe the state of things, there is a better direction to be taken order than what is obtaining.

In Dr. Tipoteh’s view, “there is a call for us Liberians to move in the right direction because 80 per cent of the people of Liberia have concluded that Liberia is headed in the wrong direction,” referring Afrobarometer 2020 report.

“Here is the evidence for this conclusion,” he continued. “Over 80 per cent of the people of live in longstanding and widespread poverty (Annual Reports of CBL, MFDP. MCI. MOA, MOH, WB, IMF, ADB and UNDP); National Legislators, who should be the representatives of the suffering voters, have access to at least USD1, 000 a day, their foreign partners in the commercial sector alone, have access to at least USD2 million a day while over 80 per cent of the people of Liberia have access to at most less than USD2 a day.”

The former Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs noted that a situation of poverty of this proportion “leads to violence, including coups d’etat and civil wars, as witnessed in Burkina Faso, La Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Mali, Guinea, not forgetting here in Liberia.”

He posits that the prevention of violence becomes the main course of action to be taken to place Liberia in the right direction.

“This is precisely why this New Year Message is directed at raising awareness to prevent violence,” Dr. Topoteh asserted, adding: “Let us recall that the Civil War in Liberia. that began in 1989 and ended in 2003, took the lives of nearly 300,000 people, 10 per cent of the population at the time, damaged billions of dollars of infrastructure and left the Liberian economy unrecovered to its pre-war level.”

He said in the face of “this dismal situation”, there is talk about moving the national budget to the USD1 billion level, as corruption rolls on.

As the government of Liberia and its international partners talk about progress and predict a boost in government revenue to facilitate the billion dollars move, Dr. Tipoteh maintained that “in the absence of any systemic approach to eliminate corruption, the increase in revenue means the increase in corruption rather than development as pointed out by billboards around the Country”.

He acknowledged that no sensible person expects corruption and poverty to end overnight, as the elimination of these two evils (corruption and poverty” is a process and not an event, meaning that such takes time.

He however stressed that what any sensible person expects to observe in any of the elimination processes is movement onto the path of elimination.

“As there is no systemic approach to the elimination, there is no movement onto the elimination path,” the Liberian economist noted, emphasizing that “Liberia continues to move in the wrong direction.”

He drew parallel issues with two key national integrity institutions, the National Elections Commission and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.

He stated: “When we observe that people are taking action to move the National Election Commission (NEC) of Liberia from its present UNFAIR position to a FAIR position in obedience to the Constitution of Liberia, then we can say that Liberia is moving in the right direction.

“Only when NEC operates in a FAIR position for good persons to be elected into public offices will there be good actions taken to place Liberia in the right direction. NEC is under investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for the purchase of election thermometers. LACC is also conducting an internal investigation about conflict of interest involving a LACC Deputy Commissioner.”

Dr. Tipoteh said good leadership calls for leadership by example.

As good leadership is needed to lead Liberia in the right direction, there is good leadership seen in the Tipoteh versus Korkoya Case that went to the Supreme Court of Liberia (SCL).

“Mr. Korkoya was serving as Chairperson of NEC in violation of the Constitution of Liberia, as he is a citizen of the United States of America (USA). Up to now, after more than two years, SCL says that it is not prepared to ‘rule’ on the Case,” he said. “Not a single National religious leader. Civil society leader. political leader, business leader or government leader has given support to the Case against NEC via Mr, Korkoya”

The eminent Liberians however said through the persistent and consistent raising of awareness to bring change in the right direction, some progress can be observed.

“For example, nearly all of the National Legislators in the 52nd and 53rd National Legislatures who wanted to be re-elected were not re-elected,” he noted. “This trend is highly likely to continue with Legislators in the 54th Legislature as well as with candidates who seek election to the 55th Legislature.”

Dr. Tipoteh advised that to bring this change, violent action is not an option because the people of Liberia are focused on sustaining their mandate that calls for PEACE rather than WAR.

“The only option, which is the correct option, is non-violent action following the Rule of Law by raising awareness to motivate people to elect good leaders.”

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