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Alaric Tokpa visits metro Atlanta to discuss future of progressive movement, and upcoming senatorial race in Gbarpolu County

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh     Alaric Tokpa



During the week of April 11, longtime political activist and Gbarpolu County senatorial candidate Alaric Tokpa met with other activists in metro Atlanta to discuss his candidacy, and of course, to also discuss the direction and future of progressivism in today’s Liberia.

Dubbed “the week of the progressives” by host Issac Settro, who was kind and generous enough to lend his name, time, reputation and home to discuss a way to get the movement rejuvenated in order to get progressives elected.

Of course, the gathering was the kind needed to discuss and define the direction and future of the Liberian progressive movement, without being disrespectful of the ideas of others. And there were many good ideas thrown around that evening.

Speaker after speaker, however, touched on the discouraging and oft-times self-serving and embarrassing roles of Liberian progressives in politics, a ubiquitously opportunistic role which hasn’t gone well with a weary public searching desperately for a progressive leader who will finally deliver meaningfully for the nation and the Liberian people.

Alaric Tokpa, for his part, spoke gleefully and optimistically about the progressive movement’s chances of rebounding from the political doldrums that continues to set the movement back; and acknowledged that the movement will field a candidate in the 2017 presidential race.

Mr. Tokpa drew attention to the reorganization initiatives being undertaken by likeminded progressives to rejuvenate the movement for the future.

In an effort to remind the public not to count the progressive movement out, Tokpa added: “the progressives are now meeting on a regular basis. And whenever a meeting is called, it is standing room only; and the place is often overcrowded with people wanting to be a part of the discussion.”

“Discussions are still ongoing, and such a decision will be determined by the Liberian people as those with aspirations will be vetted when the time comes.”

On the future of the Liberian progressive movement, Tokpa said:

“The Liberian progressive movement is still relatively young, and has had a rather short-lived history when viewed within the context of the larger Liberian history.

Tokpa, however, acknowledged the failures of the Liberian progressives, adding, “One of the failures of the progressives was to not extract appropriate concessions from the ruling party in ushering in a new political dispensation.”

“Progressives working in the current government,” Tokpa added, “Are representing their individual interests. This has made it quite difficult to pursue policies that would bring about progressive change.”

Mr. Tokpa applauded the significant role of the Liberian Diaspora in contributing to the process of multiparty democracy in the country. Tokpa also applauded them for sending remittances back home.

“Remittances that Diaspora Liberians sent home have sustained livelihoods and the economy through the war years and now.”

Regarding out-of-country voting and Dual Citizenship, Tokpa added that he supports both efforts, because “Liberians as Liberians in the Diaspora are an integral part of their homeland, and should be included in the political process.”

When asked about his chances of winning the 2014 senate race, and why he lost the 2011 race for the House of Representatives? he said.

“My chances are very strong this time around. Unlike the 2011 elections, I entered the race rather late. I also got ill in the middle of the elections. This time around, I am engaged with my county.”

“I am currently working with the youths and the people of my county. I have donated building materials toward the construction of an elementary school, and I have contributed tools toward the construction of road (path) for motorcycles. I have also organized students at the University of Liberia to volunteer their time to teaching primary and secondary school children in the county, and I also developed plans to establish a library in the City of Gbarpolu.”

“Are you concerned that Robert Sirleaf, son of President Sirleaf is planning to run and challenge you in the race for the senate seat in Gbarpolu County,” a panelist asked?

“I am not concerned. His candidacy will not discourage me. I earned the respect and support of the citizens of my county,” Tokpa said.




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