Gongloe Bemoans Liberia’s Woes -Seeks LPP Standard-Bearership in 2023

One of Liberia’s longtime political activists and barristers, Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, has formally released what is called “Better Liberia Agenda” as he seeks the standard-bearer post of the Liberia People’s Party (LPP) towards contesting the 2023 general and presidential elections.

In a rather lengthy statement, Cllr Gongloe bemoaned the social, economic and political conditions of Liberia, stating that he intends to contests Liberia’s presidency to ensure a better nation and people.

“Liberia is nearly 175 years old, but remains backward and underdeveloped in absolute terms and in comparison, to other African countries,” the former President of Liberian lawyers said. “The cause of Liberia’s underdevelopment is complex, but due, in large part to the collective failure of Liberians to work for, demand and make the necessary hard choices and sacrifices for good governance and inclusive growth and development.”

He said the country suffers a chronic deficit of leadership characterized by greed, a thirst for illicit wealth and self-interest, as opposed to the welfare of the nation is a significant factor for the current state of Liberia.

“Indeed, successive Liberian governments and their officials have demonstrated no capacity or vision beyond protection of their narrow interests. This situation has left the country with an eroded work ethics, national consciousness, and productivity,” he said. “The decadent culture of impunity and complacency is killing the Liberian nation across all aspects of governance.”

According to him, this has not only stalled but also reversed the little developmental gains the country has made.

He added: “Our country has witnessed several failed interventions to foster democratic pluralism and good governance. These attempts at establishing a better Liberia were skillfully undermined and destroyed by the ruling elites.

“The current Liberian reality of diminishing space for social, economic and cultural opportunities and advancement continues to remind us that mere political pluralism is not enough, as it has not provided the expected benefits to our people. This is a discouraging factor in our collective effort to build a democratic country.”

Cllr Gongloe said the current state of governance has placed upon him a sacred responsibility and reinforced his resolve to work towards the achievement of “A Better Liberia.”

He recalled: “Since the late 1970s, patriots like the Late Albert Porte, the Late G. Baccus Mathews, now the Late Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer, Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, Dew Mason, Dr. Nya Quiawon Taryor, and Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, amongst other supported by labor unions and student activists,   suffered for putting Liberia first by speaking truth to power. Also, Lawyers, including Cllrs. J. Emmanuel Berry, Leveli Supuwood, the Late Frances Garlawolu, Beyan D. Howard, C. Alexander Zoe, Frederick Jaweh, Charles Abdullai and your humble servant, provided free legal services for the poor and persons perceived as enemies of the political establishment from the 1980s to the present.”

He said these efforts of that provided an opportunity for a name such as George M. Weah to appear in the office of the President.

“As noble as those efforts have been, they have neither changed the state of governance in Liberia nor improved the living conditions of most of the people,” he noted further, adding: “The poor continue to get poorer and even those who previously had are getting poor.”

“Now is the time to show that Liberia can be a better place for all Liberians without discrimination or preferential treatment. Now is the time to make every Liberian know that all Liberians have equal share in the “corporation,” called Liberia or the national cake. Now is the time to change the process of governance in Liberia for the better. A Gongloe administration can change the situation for a better Liberia. This is not a speculation or an empty dream. Our track record of honesty and dedication to the cause of a better Liberia, even under risky situations, over the years, is well-known to all Liberians.”

He vowed that with “a proven anti-corruption track record in public service, we can say without any fear of contradiction that, if we are placed at the helm of power, we will deliver a PEOPLE-ORIENTED LIBERIAN NATION based on the consciousness that ‘A BETTER LIBERIA IS POSSIBLE’, united with one destiny.”

Unity in Liberia is possible because of the commonality that exists amongst us Liberians, the Liberian lawyer said. “For example, the word keh means “but” in every Liberian language. We are one people that have been torn apart by nearly two centuries of bad governance, motivated by greed, selfishness, dishonesty, and a total lack of love for country. This has led to a lack of trust in the government of Liberia and accentuated hopelessness, which has led to most Liberians being angry with every government. The year 2023 is the time to elect a government that will deliver a BETTER LIBERIA.”

He said there will be zero tolerance for corruption under a Gongloe Government and that within the first 100 days a thorough review of all audit reports done by the GAC will be carried out.

He also vowed that under this administration there will be absolute non-interference with the functions of the judiciary and the police.

“Without an independent judiciary, peace will not be sustained, local and foreign investors will be reluctant to invest because their investment will not be protected by the courts.

He said the police must enforce the laws of the country without fear or favor. There will be no selective application of the laws both by the police and the court.

In the first 100 days of a Gongloe administration a bill will be submitted to the legislature to make interference with the judiciary and police by government officials a felony, he averred.

On reconciliation, national healing, and unity will be the cornerstone for the promotion and maintenance of national cohesion in Liberia.

Cllr. Gongloe added: “We shall pursue the principle that all Liberians have equal shares in the company called Liberia. Not even the president’s share is greater than any other Liberian’s. No tribal, social, or religious identity shall be a cause for discrimination or unfair advantage in gaining access to government services and opportunities.”

He also promised to foster the building of an equitable, fair, sustainable, transparent, accountable, and merit-based society on the foundation of rule of law and respect for human rights.

He noted: “Employment and the provision of social services and opportunities for economic empowerment will affirmatively include women, the physically challenged, drug-affected youth and other marginalized groups. Deliberate effort shall be made to appoint women to at least fifty percent of all ministerial positions and as heads of fifty percent of all the autonomous government agencies, commissions, and public corporations as well as other presidential appointments.”

Cllr Gongloe debunked prevailing rumor in Liberia and in Liberian media space about his being on a ticket with the Standard Bearer either of the Unity Party or the Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress.

“First, let me say that there is no history of Liberian political parties uniting to win, where the issue of standard bearer is an issue of contention,” he said. “Up to present the Liberians in and out of Liberia who have spoken to me over the years and petitioned me last year maintain that I should run for the presidency of Liberia. This puts them in dispute with partisans of UP and ANC. A resolution of such dispute may take away the valuable time for a credible campaign.”

He further clarified: “Second, political collaborations, alliances, mergers, cooperation and other forms of associations are normally between or among political parties and not individuals, unless they are independent candidates. I am a founding member of the Liberian People’s Party and I am wooing members of the party to elect me as the standard bearer of the party. Hence, as an ordinary member of the party, I have no legal authority to enter into any formal relationship with a standard bearer of another party. I fully understand the desire of a majority of the Liberian people for a common front to defeat the ruling party; however, every step taken in the democratic process must be supported by law and the interest of building a better Liberia, devoid of sentiments and quick-fix solutions.”

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