Where are the 2017 Liberian presidential candidates when liberties and press freedom are being violated?
By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
Liberia is a strange country.
The country is not only a strange place to live and raise a family; it is unsafe, and a broken country with no serious institution that protects life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the rule of law.
How can there be an incredible absence of the delivery of goods and services and the rule of law that protects the lives and liberties of Liberians, when there are three co-equal branches of government that suppose to balance each other out to make the country governable and livable?
The presidential candidates in the 2017 race and their political parties are as conspicuously silent as they can be on any noticeable security and policy issues and issues in the news, except that they want to be President of Liberia. Period!
Do these Liberian presidential candidates think the Liberian presidency is an entitlement that should be given to either one of them because of who the person is and what the individual achieved personally in life?
Their diehard supporters, well, are fervently vocal about the support they have for their candidates, but care less about abject poverty, safety and security, rule of law, record unemployment and human suffering in the country.
Some of their supporters cannot even say in one coherent sentence why they want their candidate to be president, except that they support Mr. X or Mr. Y to be President of Liberia.
I am uninterested in a delusional, near-messianic or personality-driven reasons why their candidate is the right person for the presidency of one of the planet’s most poverty-stricken, underdeveloped and troubled country.
Can you imagine the presidential candidates and their political parties running around the country or Monrovia (some have not even traveled past Brewerville or Ganta to campaign), but are pleading with the Liberian people to vote for them, even though many are unqualified to be president, have not been vetted, and have not told us why the individual wants to be president?
If these individuals cannot discuss policies and the politics behind the design and printing of the nation’s new currency that bears the image and names of some of Liberia’s dishonorable presidents, the arrest and detention of journalist Festus Poquie, and presidential abuse of power i.e., nepotism, corruption and the cover-up investigations in the killings of Harry A. Greaves Jr., and Michael Allison, what then can these presidential candidates discuss?
Journalist Festus Poquie of the groundbreaking New Democrat newspaper, according to news accounts, was arrested and detained on September 15, 2016 from his office by plainclothes police officers.
Mr. Poquie was arrested for a September 13 story that he republished, which quoted a former advisor and political opponent of longtime Equitorial Guinea’s strongman and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who is reportedly and allegedly cannibalistic.
This story was “well-sourced” according to Abbas Dulleh, editor of the New Democrat, and was carried for its newsworthiness because Theodoro Obiang Nguema is a political figure and sitting president of a country.
Is it against the law of Liberia for a journalist to publish a well-source account of an alleged incident in another country that features the leader of that country?
What is the interest of the Sirleaf administration to protect the President of Equitorial Guinea?
Also, when does a government protect and defend its citizens, in this case a Liberian journalist?
This is the kind of lawlessness in Liberia on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s watch that some of us have highlighted over and over since she came to power.
The lawlessness in Liberia shows that Liberians are not safe in their country, but are sacrificial lambs for Madame Sirleaf, her foreign friends, government officials and her corrupt government.
The overwhelming lawlessness in the country often embolden Liberians to either physically assault or harm another Liberian, or threaten the person by saying “nothing will come out of it if I do something to you.”
That ‘something’ could come from an overzealously arrogant government official or an ordinary Liberian who either will threaten to beat up, verbally assault, inflict injuries, jail or kill a Liberian without ever facing jail time.
When will this lawlessness ever stop?
This is all too strange and cowardice for a supposedly sovereign country that is Liberia to violate press freedoms and the liberties of its citizen just to protect the hollow and indefensible image and record of Theodoro Obiang Nguema, who is far from being a democratic leader.
Where are the 2017 Liberian presidential candidates?