“I Will Contest In 2023” -Gongloe Accepts Petition

After months of speculations, consultations and preparations, renowned human rights activist Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, finally conceded to plead from his numerous supporters to contest the ensuing 2023 President elections in what promises to be a defining moment in the political history of the country at a colorful ceremony held on Saturday, December 4, 2021 in Ganta City, Nimba County.

According to our reporter who covered the event, the occasion draw people from far and near and can be found in different categories of human endeavor including professional friends, politicians, religious leaders  civil society organizations, traditional rulers, women groups, market women, student groups, supporters, sympathizers, family members and friends and when the well-known legal mind unveiled his acceptance and what he intends to do with his presidency, the venue went agog with celebration.

“Today, December 4, 2021 is my time to make a very serious decision in the interest of my dear country, Liberia, the country that was meant to be a land of liberty for all its citizens, but a country, that has always been a land of liberty, mostly for a few greedy men and women,

“On this little bit of good name and my loyalty to my country and my conscience, I accept the appeal of Team Gongloe, Team Gongloe Global, Friends of Gongloe, Wings of Gongloe and all the old and young men and women of Liberia who have appealed to me over the years to run for the presidency of Liberia and declare here today, December 4, 2021 that I will run for the Presidency of Liberia in the 2023 legislative and Presidential Elections”, Cllr. Gongloe said, amid thunderous cheers from the large gathering present to grace the occasion.

Cllr Gongloe drew the attention of the audience to the long suffering the country has gone through and still continue to do so by saying that the country’s history has shown that the suffering of the masses of the Liberian people has not been based on any tribal or religious differences but by people who over the years have come to power only to satisfy themselves.

He said when a few people take and enjoy what belongs to all citizens of Liberia, the rest of the citizens are left with nothing and therefore, they suffer. He stressed that this kind of leadership increases poverty, unhappiness and hopelessness, even where those in power were elected on the promise that their government would bring “change for hope”.

Narrowing this to the present dispensation under the leadership of President Weah, he said, “Whatever this rather strange expression means, the words change and hope made a majority of the Liberian people to vote for the party now in power. But some Liberians knew that the expression was strange and confusing and that it would not bring the change that the people hoped for, because normally people hope for change and not “change for hope”.

He cited the situation where prices of food and other essential commodities have gone up and as a result, life has become so hard and tough, especially for the masses of the people who voted for the party in power. He said given this development some of our citizens are now saying that they will never vote again. “In other words, the change that the voters thought was meant to bring hope has brought hopelessness and despair thereby making life meaningless for the masses of the people”, he said.

“Whatever this rather strange expression means, the words change and hope made a majority of the Liberian people to vote for the party now in power. But some Liberians knew that the expression was strange and confusing that it would not bring the change that the people hoped for, because normally people hope for change and not “change for hope”, he continued.

He took a swipe at the ruling establishment who promised change that would bring hope to a majority of the people but are living, virtually in heaven on earth stating that in less than a year many of the promisors of change for hope, including their chief, built mansions, as if they were money magicians.

“The CDC, having made a majority of the people so poor, some of its partisans in power are now presenting themselves as saviors of the poor. The Liberian people know better. They will not accept this falsehood. CDC has become a producer of poverty in Liberia. Therefore, the Liberian people will not vote for the CDC in 2023. The Liberian people will definitely vote CDC out of office in 2023. For the Liberian people to make progress, CDC must be kicked out of office in 2023”, the prominent lawyer said.

Cllr. Gongloe wondered how come in less than four years some people in government, who were even struggling to pay rent, or buy a gallon of gasoline for their tiger-generators, have become so rich and most Liberians so poor and provided the answer that the simple answer is the people are stealing the country’s resources.

He ruled out the possibility of those who have been looting the country getting another chance from the Liberian people to further plunder the country.

“Should the Liberian people give this bunch of dishonest people a second chance to control our resources? Of course, the answer is a unanimous No!

“Should the Liberian people give them a second chance to continue to steal our money? No!

“Our civil servants and law enforcement officers who have reached retirement are not pensioned in a dignified manner, but are treated with total disrespect as if they are criminals and many of them go through difficulties to even get their first retirement pay. Should a government that treats its civil servants like criminals be given a second chance? No!

“Should a government that says it has surplus, but cannot pay domestic debt and thereby strangulate Liberian contractors and other business entities be given a second chance? No!

“Should a government that builds paved roads, largely, to communities in which top government officials live be given a chance? No

“Should a government that travels with large delegations and engages in wasteful spending abroad be given a second chance? No!” he said”

He maintained that the only way for Liberia to make progress, is to retire the CDC, stressing that  CDC must be retired, declared redundant and kicked out of office in 2023.

Giving insight of what led to his decision to contest the presidency, he said could not fathom why he could not lead the country he has suffered for by going to jail and being tortured, where he freed journalists, human rights advocates and other pro-democracy advocates from the hands of bad governments for speaking truth to power. He said over the years and on many occasions he was asked to take a shot at the Presidency but his own disposition has been he has no experience to serve as President of this country. Now the time is ripe enough to serve the country in its highest office.

“Having served for four years as executive assistant to the interim president of Liberia from the end of 1990 to March 1994; as Solicitor General from 2006 to 2009 and Minister of Labor from mid-2009 to 2010 November, as well as working briefly as a United Nations Observer in South Africa in 1994 and an electoral consultant with Carter Center in Ethiopia in 2005 followed by serving as President of the Liberian National Bar Association, I cannot give excuse anymore that I not have attained the requisite experience to serve my country as president”, he said.

Given his legal background and his persuasion must have informed his vow to be a leader who will stand strictly for justice and rule of law.

“The second important step for a better Liberia is to promote strict adherence to the rule of law. Our laws must be enforced for the equal protection of all Liberians against all violators without distinction.

“Therefore, in my first 100 days in office, I will issue an executive order that any minister or official of government that does not respect the police and other law enforcement officers, or interferes, influences, or obstructs the functions of law enforcement officers shall be immediately dismissed following a summary investigation for the violation of such executive order.

“Also, I will issue another executive order for the protection of judicial officers in the performance of their judicial functions. Under such executive order, any minister or official of government who does not respect judicial officers, the independence and the authority of members of the judiciary from the bailiff in the magistrate court to the marshall of the Supreme Court and from the magistrates to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia shall be immediately dismissed, following a brief administrative finding of facts regarding the violation of said executive order”, he stated.

He also promised to redirect the economy of Liberia towards self-sufficiency in food production, engaging in import substitution and value-added export promotion as well as expanding economic activities in the rural parts of Liberia by granting tax incentives to rural based manufacturing companies, with the objective of slowing down the current level of rural urban migration and unemployment among the youth

The Outgoing President of the Liberia National Bar Association outlined a 10 point agenda which he stated will be pursued for the betterment of the Liberian people namely, protecting freedom of expression, promoting education, skill training and creativity at little or no cost, promoting environmentally sensitive agricultural program with emphasis on self-sufficiency in food production, especially rice, promoting strong environmental protection program, clean air and conservation of the forest and nature and promoting affordable and efficient healthcare services throughout Liberia.

Others are expanding the economy and increasing employment through manufacturing and value addition to locally produced goods, fostering a strong tourism program, given Liberia’s comparative advantage of having the largest forest with exotic tropical species and sandy coastline from Cape mount to Cape Palmas, infrastructural development, with emphasis on farm to market roads, school buildings and clinics, promoting gender balance in government with at least fifty percent of the cabinet ministerial positions occupied by women, clean energy program that is available to every Liberian through mini-hydropower dams, windmills and solar power and comprehensive youth development program, including academic and skill training programs, sports and athletics, talents in music, drama and other entertainment programs.

Cllr. Gongloe said he does not boast of singularly having all the ideas and strategies for the attainment of a better Liberia, but will rely on all Liberians to support him to move the country forward beyond tribal, religious, regional and political party lines

He promised to also learn from the strengths of some past leaders of Liberia such as Joseph Jenkins Roberts whom he said demonstrated a strong national leadership by getting Liberia independent and an enviable level of generosity evidenced by the fact that he directed in his will that his properties be used for the education of the Liberian children.

He said he will learn from the strong unification policies of Arthur Barclay and William V.S. Tubman to keep the country united as well as from William R. Tolbert’s strong integrated rural development program as it was meant to slow down rural urban migration and from Samuel Kanyon Doe’s Green Revolution program that was geared towards self-sufficiency in rice production.

Cllr. Gongloe has not indicated whether he is going to run as an independent or transform his Team Gongloe into a political party but said the broom, which is the symbol of the Liberian People’s Party, will be the symbol of his campaign.

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