By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
Togba-Nah Tipoteh is a national treasure.
In a country where it is difficult to find a person of stature, substance and convictions who truly stands for something, Togba-Nah Tipoteh is a rare breed.
With unquestionable intellectual heft to back it up, he has proven to be one of a kind worthy of our collective emulation and adulation.
My admiration for Tipoteh (PhD) is unquenchable, undiluted and solid as a rock.
It is not because we share the same Krao ethnicity, but because we share the same values and love for country.
However, when a person is unwavering in his beliefs, consistent in his politics, uncorrupt and principled as Tipoteh has been throughout his life as a progressive activist and academic, credit must be given to the man for standing firm to the test of time.
I am not one of those excessively talkative, impractical and wavering progressives who is easily swayed by personalities and the prospect of getting a job offer in the Liberian government.
I don’t need a job in the Liberian government to define me, and to survive as a person.
As a progressive pragmatist, my only desire in my lifetime is to see a prosperous, competitive, safe and economically vibrant and democratic Liberia where rule of law equally serves all Liberians.
It is also my lifelong wish is to see a country we can proudly call home.
Togba-Nah Tipoteh has been in the forefront of our political struggle his entire life often leading the way, or joining others to make Liberia a truly democratic and prosperous country where all Liberians can achieve their Liberian dream.
With the courage of Gabriel Baccus Matthews and other stalwarts in our nation’s pro-democracy movement, Tipoteh proved to be a reliable advocate and a consistent fighter who also contributed to the peace and fledgling democracy that hovers over our country today.
It pains me when his life’s work as a pro-democracy activist has been caricatured to reflect the distorted and fractured image his detractors want the Liberian people to believe.
It pains me when a person like Dr. Tipoteh is not served well.
He deserves better!
Togba-Nah Tipoteh is not a stranger to presidential campaigns. The countless times he has run for president over-exposed him and made it appear as if he cannot function or contribute to rebuilding Liberia only if he’s president of Liberia.
Dr. Tipoteh, please prove me wrong, and prove your critics wrong. Engage in other endeavors worthy of your time and the nation’s time.
As we all know, there are many problems facing Liberia today.
There are either weak institutions or no institutions in the country at all.
Other than rampant corruption, bad governance and abject poverty in the country, there is also a strong (imperial) presidency, a centralized system of government, erosion crisis, no genuine land policy, no genuine transportation policy, no genuine environmental policy, and no genuine monetary, health, education and criminal justice policies in the country.
The judiciary is not neutral and independent. The legislative branch is weak. The electoral system is not neutral and independent, either.
In Liberia, an incumbent president who is running for reelection can appoint commissioners of the National Elections Commission. We saw it happened in the 2011 presidential elections when president Sirleaf appointed members of the National Elections Commission.
Dr. Tipoteh, I am pleading with you in this public forum to not run for president of Liberia in 2017, and beyond.
As a party elderly, Tipoteh can recruit, train and mentor incoming young people to be future leaders in his political party and the country.
Also, instead of running for president of Liberia in 2017, Tipoteh as a statesman, can use his incredible influence to lobby lawmakers to advocate change that will make our institutions work. Tipoteh can use his time to travel the country, talk to lawmakers, and have a conversation with the citizenry to help make institutions work in Liberia.
During the many times Tipoteh ran for the Liberian presidency, his out of country supporters hardly made financial contributions to his many presidential campaigns; and hardly travel to Liberia to help campaign for him. These individuals are good at gathering around distant teleconferences to make their hollow points.
So why run for president in 2017 when the results are poised to be the same?
Please, Dr. Tipoteh, don’t run for the Liberian presidency in 2017, and beyond.