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Our Obsession with Liberian Presidential Politics and the 2017 Elections

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh       


In early March 2017, just days ago, a violent storm hit some parts of Liberia destroying homes and leaving countless Liberians homeless.

The storms did not only destroyed homes and left countless people homeless in coastal communities such as Greenville, Sinoe County, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and New Kru Town (as it has always done before and on this day), the violent storm affected all of Bushrod Island and surrounding areas.

The Daily Observer reports that the violent storm also ripped the roofs off homes and left countless other homeless in Beo Blemieplay Twah River District, Nimba County and Yao Tanplay Town, Nimba County.

In most (developed) countries, disaster of this kind would get the attention of a particular government to provide disaster relief for its citizens in the form of emergency financial assistance to rebuild and clean up to get their citizens back on their feet.

I don’t even think there is an emergency disaster relief funds set up by the Liberian government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that provides Liberians the financial assistance they need when emergency of this kind or any kind knocks at their doors.

In Liberia as we all know, Liberian governments in the past and the current government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are not known to provide disaster financial assistance and disaster workers to clean up and help those in need.

Also, President Sirleaf, elected officials representing the regions, and appointed officials care less to even visit families and the affected areas to give hope to those in despair.

There is no accountability either, and elected officials do as they want to do.

As bad as the situation in Liberia has been with the Liberian people being rendered homeless and things falling apart around them because of corruption and failed leadership, I would think Liberian chatrooms in the Diaspora, ULAA and other interest groups will be the first to rally the Liberian government to seek the interests of the Liberian people in times like these to show that they care.

Not so!

Instead, these individuals and their organizations are only obsessed with the Liberian presidential candidates and who they think should be the next president of Liberia come 2017.

Really, Liberians?

Are we (Liberians) serious about our country?

Liberians can still elect their favorite candidate president.

However, if these Liberians are so interested in their presidential candidates and electing a president (even though the country is falling apart before our naked eyes), these people can do us all a favor by advocating, by writing about these issues and speaking out loudly about good governance, good policies, building and respecting institutions and quizzing their candidates intensely and publicly about their platforms and policies, and holding their candidates accountable.

How can anybody want his or her candidate to be president of a country when the candidate is not discussing the issues and putting forward policies; when there are hungry, jobless and broken people everywhere in the country?

 How can anybody would want their candidate to be president when there are broken and ineffective institutions, and a section of the country is under siege from sea erosion from the Atlantic Ocean, and violent storms, and nothing is done about it?

I am interested in building strong and lasting institutions that will make Liberia safe, livable and governable.

 I am interested in building lasting institutions that will genuinely investigate and prosecute corruption, make the presidency less imperial – and make the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government accountable to the people.

I am interested in jobs, good and affordable schools and affordable health care for all Liberians. I am interested in a sound transportation policy that will relief congestions in the streets, put Liberian pilots in the sky, and commuter rails that will transport Liberians throughout the country.

I am interested in a electricity in all of Liberia, modern sewer systems and clean drinking water for all Liberians.

I am not interested in the presidential candidates, political parties and the 2017 presidential elections.

That’s because in Liberia’s centuries-old history of painful existence as a country, we have had presidential candidates and presidents, according to the website (Liberia Past and Present), 23 presidents and six interim presidents, all of whom failed the Liberian people miserably.

So why put all of our eggs in a presidential basket to focus so much on electing a president in 2017 who will (absent any major political reforms) definitely repeat the same-old unaccountable and imperial policies of his or her predecessors that got Liberia backward today?

Unfortunately, we (Liberians) haven’t learned our lesson yet.











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