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Policy Statement of the United People’s Party Delivered by MacDonald A. Wento, Party Standard Bearer

Policy Statement of the United People’s Party Delivered by MacDonald A. Wento, Party Standard Bearer At Welcome-Home Ceremony of Membership Re-Affirmation Saturday, March 4, 2017 UPP collaboration-2017 office; 17th Street, Sinkor; Monrovia, Liberia             
  Greetings to all of you, my sisters, brothers, friends, and fellow partisans! 
What we are doing here, today, is not just about re-affirming a connection with a massbased political institution. It is intended to stabilize the multi-party democratic environment of our country.  You have decided to bring to a close your search for a political home by returning to the base – the United People’s Party.   
The United People’s Party (UPP) is a political party composed of citizens who reflect various ethnic, religious and social backgrounds and diverse political views. However, they are all UNITED in the common purpose of: 
a)  Improving the quality of life of the Liberian people; and,  
b)  Bringing into reality an honest and efficient Government to provide political stability through economic and social progress. 
A political party is an association of citizens who share common ideas and basic philosophy on development, and how to formulate plans and programs for the advancement of the country. Political parties are always seeking to summarize and clarify public opinion; they produce candidates for elective public offices; and, they organize citizens to vote for those candidates in elections. So, please make sure to register to vote during the ongoing voter registration exercise.
We, the members of the United People’s Party, are social democrats. In other words, we believe that, within a capitalist economy, the interest and participation of the masses of the people must be at the center of all public policy planning and implementation.
We also believe in a functioning decentralized political and economic governance system. We want a public policy-creation environment in which collective bargaining and representative democratic interactions will derive the tolerable middle between contending demands for social justice and economic benefits for all.
UPP is determined to prove that governance of Liberia is more effective when it is decentralized and citizens can participate in making decisions on all issues affecting their interests. Government is more effective when the people can also assume
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responsibility for, and take pride in, the decision they make to impact conditions under which they live.
UPP is not just seeking to put up candidates for the Presidency and for the 73 electoral districts during the coming general and presidential elections.
The Party is determined to prove that Liberia, as a multi-party democracy, can be a prosperous country: a country in which food is abundantly available, accessible and affordable; a country with a basic affordable health-care service available to all; a country in which all children grow up in the best learning environment that the world can offer, under the tutelage of well trained and well supported teachers and support staff.  
Article 22 of the 1986 Constitution of our country affirms that we, the citizens, have the right to own land as private property; but section (a) of the same Article says that ownership of land as private property does not include rights to the minerals or wealth that is on or beneath the land.  The Article says that the wealth of the country belongs to the Republic. This Article is unwise; it is a major cause of poverty and corruption in Liberia. 
The United People’s Party is determined to prove that Liberia can be a country where the Constitution provides for citizens, and not the government, to own the mineral resources and the wealth of the land.  
UPP is determined to prove that dual citizenship is not a threat to the survival of the sovereignty of the Republic, nor to the stability of the body-politic of the State. 
The United People’s Party is determined to encourage the Liberian people to see reason to delete, from the Constitution, the negro-descent clause for citizenship. The clause is a decadent and unnecessary provision; it is racist; it serves no useful economic or social purpose and should, therefore, have no place in the organic law of the land.    
The constitution provides for election of national officials – President, Senators of counties and Representatives of electoral districts. But, Article 54(d) says that local officials should not be elected – they should, instead, be appointed by the President.  This is the source of the imperial presidency in Liberia. The article has turned democracy up-side down in Liberia – we elect the top while the bottom remains not democratized. 
UPP is determined to prove that election of local officials – County Superintendents, Administrative Commissioners, municipal officials including Mayors and Councilmen, along with Paramount, Clan and General Town Chiefs – will transform Liberia into a
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true democratic nation.  Article 54(d) has to be amended, so that progress can be accelerated with participation of the people at the bottom, in the governance structure.  
UPP is determined to prove that reduction in the term of office of the President, the Senators and members of the House of Representatives will bring about more accountability of elected officials. UPP holds the view that longevity in elected public office leads to complacency, arrogance in government, dictatorial tendencies, and contempt for public concerns. 
UPP is determined to prove that corruption can be contained in government; and that those entrusted with public authority can serve with a high degree of honesty, instead of using their positions to amass wealth illegally and enrich themselves, while impoverishing the people. 
UPP is determined to prove that the multi-party system of politics is not an invitation or an opportunity for criminals and greedy people to get elected or appointed into public office.  It must, instead, remain a search engine for the most capable to serve in government. 
Our flagship economic policy is to promote and provide whatever support – access to credit, material and technical – that is required for Liberian farmers to produce food to feed the nation and stimulate the development of agro-based industries.  For, there was a time when Liberia was a member of the Chicago Commodity Exchange. We believe that Liberia can return to this status and stage of internal commerce and trade. 
Back in the productive years, we produced and exported a wide range of food commodities to the world.  Today, we spend more than US$200 million every year importing rice; and we are also importing cows and goats to eat. 
UPP is determined to prove that Liberians can produce what they eat and free themselves from the food dependency syndrome.       
UPP is determined to prove that government can build farm-to-market roads not only to move produce across the country, but also to support a national school feeding program that will keep our children healthy while, at the same time, serving as an incentive for them to stay in school.    
UPP is determined to prove that our teachers and health workers; our security personnel, including members of the Armed Forces of Liberia, can be provided a living wage and better benefits, so that they serve the public cause with dignity in labor and not fall victim to the temptations of corruption in the line of service. 
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UPP is determined to prove that the chain around the feet and hands of the young people of this country can be broken, so that they are free to apply their talents and capacities, in science, art, technology, and industry, to productive and constructive endeavors.   
UPP is a political party determined to put up credible and dedicated candidates for 2017.   
We will ask the Liberian people to entrust the management of the country to us as a Party; we will provide individuals that will make Liberia a better place to live than it is now. The Party will take responsibility for the performance of those it will put forward for public office. 
As the Standard Bearer of the United People’s Party, I say to you that the National Chairman, the entire National Executive Committee and, especially, the stalwarts of the struggle for multi-party democracy and all its attending benefits — leaders of the progressive community of Liberian politics, are pleased to welcome you back home.   
I say, welcome back home; God Bless you!  

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