Madam Leymah Gbowee, the national orator for Liberia’s 172nd independence celebration said it would be difficult for Liberians to be stronger due to class system in the country. She said such would only be done if such division was removed. This year’s national theme for the celebration was: “Together We are Stronger”
The three categories are, No position, Opposition and Ruling Position. She asked; “how can we be stronger together when our country is divided in three parts – the Ruling Position, the Opposition and the No Position – and each comes with rhetoric and hate messages that are worse than the war rhetoric?”
She said, the biggest group was the No position: “This is the biggest group, but it comes with the mentality of the smallest minority. No Positions are the ones that suffer the most in our society. Their children are the key recipients of the messy education system. They are the ones who suffer the poor health care system. Justice for most No Positions is nonexistent. They live in abject poverty and can barely afford a meal a day. They are the everyday Esau’s: their political alliances and choices are never developmental driven but driven by stomach infrastructure. They fail repeatedly to look at the plans or even ask for plans from politicians. Rather, they take cash, t-shirts and bags of rice.
“I agree things are tough. Life is hard. People are hungry. But if we fail to ask the hard questions when we have the power, why are we surprised when we elect SGGs: “Steal, Grab and Go”.
No Position has the “government must” and “that the people’s thing attitude”, and they refuse to get involved constructively and creatively in national issues, including issues affecting their daily lives. No Positions hold government responsible for everything including the garbage they throw out the windows when seated in public and private transport.
“The ‘No Position’ group feel that they are separate from politics and decisions. But this means they have allowed themselves be played like a game of tennis or a soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. By having no position, they tell themselves they are excused from the dilemma we face as a nation.”
The next class she said is opposition whom she described as: a bunch of recycled politicians or wannabe politicians.
“They claim to have all the answers for our national problems, including peace and reconciliation. Opposition suffers from a severe case of amnesia. They refuse to acknowledge that they too have contributed to our national crisis.
Opposition is often so desperate for power that they are willing to align with murderers, criminals, con artists and just about anyone to achieve their goals. One interesting thing about the opposition is that their enemies of yesterday can easily be friends of today and critics of yesterday can quickly become praise singers of today.”
She added; “the Opposition, in most instances, operates from a place of intense irrationality with no room for common ground. The opposition is suspicious of every and any interaction with the ruling position, labelling anyone that interacts with the ruling position a “sell out” or a regime collaborator. This makes it difficult for politicians to interact across the divide and increases the level of deception and two-facedness in our daily political interaction.
“The Opposition in many instances perpetuates “Us versus Them” rhetoric, increasing the division in our country through their words and actions. There is no space for collaboration and partnership to solve the people’s problems.”
The third category is the Ruling Position. According to her, “they come into power with “Da Our Time” attitude, winner takes it all. The Ruling Position has a severe sense of entitlement, believing they have the right to a certain position and lifestyle. They have no room for criticism and anyone who holds views contrary to the agreed upon view is seen as the enemy.
“The Ruling Position expects blind loyalty; which turns the story of the “Emperor with no clothes” into a reality. Leaders are fed a diet of unnecessary praises and lies by members of the Ruling Position. All for one purpose: jobs. Jobs that they are in most cases not qualified for. Political appointments within the Ruling Position have absolutely nothing to do with qualifications but rather a person’s ability to sing the political anthem of the day. “Pressure” in one case or “Gbeyama” in another case.
“The Ruling Position gives rewards not on the basis on excellence but on the basis of who can denigrate their opponent the most on social media and other platforms. This creates a culture among our young people that competence and education are not necessary tools for ascending to any position.
“The Ruling Position often has misplaced priorities. Their development agenda is nicely written on paper but implementation is basically their private projects. The Ruling Position, like the Opposition, also suffers from a severe case of amnesia, forgetting their actions and reactions when they were opposition.
“For generations, we have lived in this vicious cycle of Opposition and Ruling Position. When Opposition becomes Ruling Position, too often they adopt the same practices that they used to critique. When the roles shift, the situation remains the same or are exacerbated. While Ruling Position and Opposition continue to argue about who is right, our country is gripped by many vices. Our young people are feeling hopeless. Drug addiction has taken over Liberia. Education is perceived as a mess by both sides of the divide. While Ruling Position and Opposition go at each other’s throats, our children’s futures are being mortgaged, natural resources are sold to those who have no development agenda for the Republic of Liberia. While these groups argue about ideology, Liberian women are raped, abused, maimed with no form of justice. Our country continues to lag behind our neighbors while these groups clash.” TNR