The Upward Mobility of the Gongloe Movement

NEW THINKING—With Joe Bartuah         

Since declaring his intention to vie for the Liberian presidency during a crowd-pulling ceremony on December 4, 2021 in Ganta, Nimba County, it is now undeniable that Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe’s presence on the Liberian political landscape has infused renewed dynamism and excitement into the anticipated 2023 presidential election. The aspirant himself is fast proving to be an indefatigable candidate who is adept at retailed campaigning. One might ask what else do expect of one of the most affable, congenial political leaders of our time. Twenty-five days after declaring that he was running for President, Counselor Gongloe was in Grand Gedeh County, where he received an unprecedented traditional honor from the people of the region.

      He has since been the favorite guest speaker at multiple college, high school, junior high and elementary school graduation ceremonies throughout the country. At one of such commencement programs at the Corner Community College and Technical Institute on March 18 this year, he made a comparative analysis, disclosing that while next door Sierra Leone spent 34.3 percent of its budget on education in 2020, Liberia on the other hand, allocated a negligible 2.3 percent of its budget on education.

     At that event during which the topnotch human rights advocate urged the Weah administration to prioritize education as a conduit for catalyzing comprehensive national development, he predicted, “Just as they [CDC government] lost in the by-elections everywhere, they will lose the 2023 elections, because the Liberian people are looking for Liberians who are willing to serve and not to steal.”

     In Ganta, Nimba County, where he had launched his presidential bid on December 4, 2021, on two occasions so far this year, Counselor Gongloe has been the commencement speaker mostly preferred by the students and school administrators; he spoke at the Heritage Impact School on February 26 and at the Geolanda Community High School on February 27, 2022. Interestingly at the Heritage Impact School, he spoke on the topic: A Corrupt Leader Produces a Corrupt Government while “Quality Education Lays a Firm Foundation for Building a Better Liberia” was his topic at the Geolanda High. Even the Liberian Students Association in China deemed it necessary to engage with Counselor Gongloe as their guest speaker during their recent leadership conference. On February 26, 2022, they assigned this topic on which he spoke to them via Zoom: Encouraging Competency Over Partisan Approach in Government as a Way of Addressing Societal Issues.

It’s undeniable that a lot of young people—kindergarten, elementary, junior, senior high, college students—the future leaders of Liberia are increasingly inviting this particular presidential contender as their guest speaker, because they’re now convinced about his credibility, his character. Nowhere in the world will well-meaning young people request your presence at their prestigious graduation event, if they’re convinced that you’re a thief, that you have a checkered character. Put another way, within a short span of six months, Counselor Gongloe has already set himself apart among the rest as the most credible political leader in Liberia at this point in time who can actually get the job done.

Arguably the most accessible political leader in contemporary Liberia, Counselor Gongloe and militants of his soaring Team Gongloe movement are briskly traversing almost every nook and cranny of Liberia’s territorial confines, to sufficiently sensitize fellow compatriots about the ongoing pathetic trend of events in the country and the urgent need for electing this authentic leader in the 2023 presidential election, to spearhead the establishment of a forward-looking system of governance that will put Africa’s oldest republic on the path of comprehensive national development.

As a result of Gongloe’s inspirational presence in the crucial 2023 campaign, a lot of Liberians, many of whom had in the past been mere spectators within the Liberian political theater, primarily watching with utter indifference from the sidelines, are now energized and invigorated to the extent that they’re increasingly becoming active participants in the body politics, rather than continuing to be passive spectators while the nation’s meager resources are being pathetically squandered by a few power elites, who have no regard for the plight of the poor masses. Well-meaning compatriots have resolved to get involved at this point in time, because they are concerned about the trends of event in the country; Liberians don’t want to sit supinely anymore while a very few compatriots continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the downtrodden masses.

Counselor Gongloe’s well-known integrity and his steely will, coupled with his principled commitment to fair-play and the rule of law, are some of the primary impetus in energizing potential voters who are gravitating to the Team Gongloe movement. Whether it’s at home in Liberia from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas; from Grand Bassa to Grand Kru, or in the Liberian diaspora, farsighted Liberians are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that come 2023, we as a people, will put a halt to the ongoing kleptocracy, the ongoing arrogance fueled by buffoonery, the ongoing myopic conqueror mentality now prevalent in Liberia and institute good governance for comprehensive national development.

Many people are joining the Team Gongloe movement because they are abundantly aware that the eminent human rights lawyer is a consummate public servant with well-known positive attributes, which are very essential in the formidable process of nation-building. The Gongloe for a Better Liberia movement is increasingly arousing the interests and supports of many Liberians, because our compatriots have no doubt that Tiawan Saye Gongloe is a leader of substance who is fully equipped with the necessary skills and administrative acumen as well as the requisite personality traits to engender a better leadership for a better Liberia. As our country continues to spiral down the valley of degrading under-development and abject poverty, Liberia now needs a leader  with a steely will, proven track records and stellar character, someone with the requisite credibility who can actually be TRUSTED to get the job done.

Besides the enviable credibility of the candidate, another attractive attribute of the Gongloe movement, which is equally arousing the enthusiasm of many more Liberians, is its conspicuous diversity. This is quickly illuminating the movement as an exceptional political grouping to reckon with in the 2023 political contest. In whatever category—whether it’s the age differences of its members, in terms of how the movement is fast galvanizing the passionate interests of the youth, middle-age and older compatriots; professional backgrounds of its stalwarts, ethnic, regional representation or religious affiliations, among others, the dazzling diversity and spontaneity of the Gongloe movement transcend whatever parochial or clannish confines.

Whereas many nominal political parties in Liberia tend to be ethnocentrically parochial, Team Gongloe visibly comprises unsurpassed diversity. Whether it involves the original Team Gongloe in Liberia or its burgeoning counterparts in Australia, Canada, Europe or the United States, Team Gongloe’s diversity speaks louder than words.

The movement comprises compatriots from every segment of the country, who strongly believe that integrity is a crucial asset in every worthy human endeavor. Simply put, Team Gongloe is an embodiment or a coalition of forward-looking compatriots who are simply saying that enough is enough; that it can’t continue to be business as usual as our dear country remains adrift, while the rest of the world moves ahead with steady leadership. As a result, Liberians have now resolved to once and for all, gallantly take a stance against malignant buffoonery shrouded in brazen arrogance and insidious kleptocracy; Liberians have decided to take a stance against the pervasive lack of accountability within the Weah regime.

Even though the country boasts of almost 175 years of existence as a nation state, yet multiparty democracy is still relatively new in Liberia. And so in the past three electoral cycles, we have witnessed our compatriots being largely hoodwinked into casting their votes based on extraneous sentiments that had to do with ethnic or party affiliations, candidates’ presumed international connections and celebrity status, among others. Having experienced the futility of big names in the past 17 years or so, our people have now vowed to prudently go beyond the superficiality of big names and its associated political relativism, and instead, embrace authentic substance for positive change. Put another way, since presumed international connections and celebrity status had not helped in uplifting the country, Liberians now want to cast their ballots for a tested and TRUSTED leadership, hence the mass gravitation towards the Gongloe movement for a better and equitable Liberia.

In essence, that’s the thrust for the soaring and surging of the Gongloe movement. Compatriots that are briskly gravitating towards Team Gongloe are convinced that as president, Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe will scrupulously uphold and impartially implement the law as a crucial tool for comprehensive national development. Having held key positions within the executive branch of government for years, coupled with the fact that his vast professional experience as a practicing lawyer has enabled him to closely monitor the inner working of the judiciary, the eminent jurist is abundantly aware that in order to catalyze Liberia’s unduly delayed development and stimulate pivotal economic regeneration, those at the helm of power and authority must scrupulously abide the rule of law. Of course, this entails ensuring the functional integrity of statutory and constitutional institutions of government. Now that Liberians are aware that a big name or celebrity status doesn’t necessarily translate into effective governance, most compatriots consider the Gongloe movement as a generational opportunity to lay a formidable foundation for institutionalizing good governance, thereby ensuring holistic development in this 21st century.

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