A Liberian presidential aspirant, Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has declared that with a proven anti-corruption track record in public service, he can say without any fear of contradiction that, if placed at the helm of power, he will deliver a people-oriented Liberian nation based on the consciousness that “A BETTER LIBERIA IS POSSIBLE”, united with one destiny.
Cllr. Gongloe is a veteran human rights lawyer who hails from vote rich Nimba County and has over the years served as Solicitor General of Liberia, Minister of Labor and President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA). He currently runs the Gongloe and Associates Law Firm in Monrovia.
He said unity in Liberia is possible because of the commonality that exists amongst us Liberians. “For example, the word kehmeans ‘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 the country.”
According to the human rights lawyer, 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.
Gongloe is with the optimism that the year 2023 is the time to elect a government that will deliver a better Liberia.
“Our message is that ‘A Better Liberia is Possible’ on the foundation of integrity and a strong commitment to the rule of law and respect for human rights. These will be the guiding principles for strengthening our educational system, improving the state of security, protecting the environment, promoting gender equity, providing quality health services for all, making Liberia a food self-sufficient, improving basic infrastructure (road, air, and water transport and housing, schools, etc.); reducing raw material export and promoting value-addition to raw materials beginning with wood, and other natural resources,” pointed out Cllr. Gongloe.
Expected to contest as the Standard Bearer of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP), Cllr. Gongloe noted that 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 in the current state of Liberia. Indeed, he added, successive Liberian governments and their officials have demonstrated no capacity or vision beyond the protection of their narrow interests. He said such situation has left the country with eroded work ethics, national consciousness and productivity.
The veteran lawyer indicated that the decadent culture of impunity and complacency is killing the Liberian nation across all aspects of governance.
“This has not only stalled but also reversed the little developmental gains the country has made. 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.”
As far as he is concerned, the current Liberian reality of diminishing space for social, economic, and cultural opportunities and advancement continues to remind Liberians that mere political pluralism is not enough, as it has not provided the expected benefits to the people, adding that this is a discouraging factor in the collective effort to build a democratic country.
“Against this background, the current government was voted into office on the promise of ‘change for hope’. Upon coming to power the government adopted a ‘Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)’. However, the disparity between a cabinet minister’s salary and the lowest paid civil servant’s salary is very high.”
Also, the presidential hopeful noted that the prices of basic goods, especially food, have skyrocketed while the income levels of the poor have declined overall in real terms.
Considering the fact there is a direct relationship between the price of food, especially rice, and poverty in Liberia, Cllr. Gongloe states that whenever the price of rice goes up, the people of Liberia get poorer.
“The current economic woe of the country proves that the government’s pro-poor agenda is geared toward making the Liberian people poorer, instead of freeing them from poverty. Despite the hardship in the country, top officials of the CDC government have continued to build big houses and purchase very expensive vehicles for their wives and concubines as though they are money magicians, while at the same time appealing to the people to wait for better days to come.”
Despite the government’s assertion that things are improving economically, the realities on the ground, as stated by the lawyer, confirm the fact that officials of government do not care about the daily struggles of the ordinary people of Liberia, ranging from their sons and daughters being referred to as zogoes, the physically challenged, including the albinos, civil servants, nurses, the police officers in the streets, market women, yana boys and street sellers, the teachers in the classrooms, etc.
He also said the current state of governance has placed upon Liberians a sacred responsibility and reinforced their resolve to work towards the achievement of ‘A Better Liberia.’
“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 QuiawonTaryor, 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. It is these efforts 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 lamented that the poor continue to get poorer and even those who previously had are getting poor.
For this, he indicated that now is the time to show that Liberia can be a better place for all Liberians without discrimination or preferential treatment. He also said snow is the time to make every Liberian know that all Liberians have an 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,” mentioned the presidential aspirant.