LPP Calls for Issues Based Debate -Says informed voters can make better decision

The Liberian People’s Party (LPP) is urging the opposition bloc or political parties to change the political debate from personality to issues based in an effort of moving the country forward.

In a release issued yesterday, Sunday, August 15, 2021 by the National Secretariat of the party, the leftist oriented political institution said some institutional members of the bloc might want to delay the debate until after the general elections in 2023 harbouring the fear that detractors would deliberately misinterpret good ideas or many voters are not educated and/or might be less interested in electoral matters which could drive voters away.

LPP said although it believes it to be true that political parties should not dismiss any of these concerns, voters, advocates and candidates should, every day, discuss how community leaders can play a role in managing community resources, enhancing skills of their residents, or collaborating with national leaders to promote peace and unity.

However, voters, advocates, and candidates should, every day, discuss how community leaders can play a role in managing community resources, enhancing skills of their residents, or collaborating with national leaders to promote peace and unity.

“Candidates and community residents focusing on employment, healthcare, etc. might help discourage voters to focus less on ethnicity (native/Congua) or personality cult (strong woman, man with good heart, rich man, etc.), for example”, the party said.

The party stated that without doubts, panellists, even after elections, can develop good issues as evidence by the countless simple and complex issues documented within the 2030 Vision and/or Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.

“The problem of not discussing issues before election is that neither elected nor appointed officials have ownership of issues, therefore, voters cannot hold them accountable”, the release furthered.  The party which once prides itself as the only institution that is ideologically driven noted that interacting with voters every day will create an environment conducive for voters to understand issues and be in a better position to hold elected officials accountable. This approach might make the enforcement of policies effective.

“For example, depositors or Western Union customers will get their money on time from commercial banks if informed-voters discourage officials of the Central Bank of Liberia from depleting commercial banks’ cash reserves and limit its borrowing to 10 percent of government revenue as stipulated by the 1999 Central Bank of Liberia Act”.

The party said it observed that the Central Bank’s 2020 annual report shows that it borrowed US $55 million more than the US$50 million (US$105 million minus the 10 percent of the US$500 million government revenue).

The party which was once tipped to take state power in the 80’s before being banned by the military postulated instances that will make voters or citizens to have broader view of issues of national concern when they are informed among them it said “Or informed voters would have discouraged Liberian financial advisers from violating Liberia’s 2009 PFM Laws (i.e., laws on transparency and accountability), instead, in June 2021, the State Department of the United States of America has listed Liberia as one of the countries that has violated its own laws on transparency and accountability.

“Or informed voters, if they knew that the rice project in Lofa was launched to reduce food insecurity, and at the same time create jobs for our youths, would have advised former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to use the abandoned farm-equipment and produce food”.

It stated further also that if citizens were aware that Liberia was required to allocate 10 percent of its government revenue since the 2011 Maputo Conference and produce food, they would have encouraged the former administration to uphold the Maputo Agreement.

The LPP release furthered that informed citizens would advocate against businesses creating economic arrangement that encourages parents and employers to violate Child Abuse Labour Laws and employed school-aged children at Diamonds and Gold industries, Money-lending industry, Forest industry, etc.

“Or informed citizens would have discouraged financial advisers from demanding and receiving pensioners’ cash held by Liberia’s National Social Security Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), which is a violation of the 2009 Public Financial Management laws”, the party said, adding that the Liberian authorities demanded and received cash from NASSCORP and classified the money as payments for dividends and for treasury bonds respectively in 2019 and 2020.

The release went on to say that the facts of the state of the economy would have been known if informed voters, in 2018, would have agreed with President George that Liberia was broke, and disagreed with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who stated that Liberia held US$153 million cash reserves. It said the former President included amounts of “Special Drawing Rights” (i.e., credit privileges of the International Monetary Fund) as part of Liberia’s net international foreign exchange reserves. It added that her administration began including “Special Drawing Rights” (SDR) as part of Liberia’s excess cash reserves in 2009.

“On page # VIII of the 2009 Central Bank of Liberia annual report, the former governor of the Central Bank stated that Liberia’s net international foreign exchange cash reserves increased from US $49 million in 2008 to US$269 million in 2009, principally because of “SDR”, the release concluded.

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