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UPP’s MacDonald Wento’s “Christian Nation” Call is not Leadership; It’s called Religious Bigotry

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh    

 

If you don’t know by now, one MacDonald A. Wento is the new political leader of the United People’s Party (UPP).

Mr. Wento is also running for President of Liberia on his party’s ticket in this year’s election.

The standard operating political procedure in Liberian politics for a new member who in most cases does not share the party’s values but is believed to have some money “rich,” or influence in the community, can talk his or her way into becoming the standard bearer or presidential candidate of the new party the individual just joined.

 The United People’s Party was not Wento’s first choice of party preference. The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) was his first choice.

And when Wento saw that his chances of becoming the standard bearer of George Weah’s party faded away, Wento (knowing that George Weah also wanted to be President of Liberia), left CDC to join UPP, a party that had been in a severe drought for a serious leader since the passing of G. Baccus Matthews in 2007.

MacDonald A. Wento left CDC and immediately became the leader/standard bearer of the United People’s Party.

Mr. Wento’s astoundingly quick rise to the party’s leadership can also be traced to his dad’s stint in the party.

According to the party’s website, his dad, Alexander G. Wento Sr., was “a founding member of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), and the United People’s Party (UPP).”

MacDonald A. Wento was elected by his peers on October 1, 2016, becoming one of few individuals ever elected to the party’s highest office to succeed the irreplaceable Gabriel Baccus Mathews, whose big shoes will be very difficult to fill.

However, as an influential voice in the United People’s Party during his days on earth, G. Baccus Matthews was the undisputed leader of the party who brought eloquence, clarity, purpose and direction to a party that needed his leadership more than ever.

Gabriel Baccus Mathews felt the pulse of the nation and was smart enough to embrace the popular public sentiments of the Liberian people for political, social and economic change that swept the nation at the time.

Mr. Matthews and other political leaders including pro-democracy advocates such as Togba Nah Tipoteh, Amos Sawyer etc., who are credited or discredited for what became the prelude to latter events, changed the face of the Liberian nation.

From my recollections, however, I never found a time when G. Baccus Matthews ever attempted to exploit any kind of religious sentiments to win votes to make his party popular.

Gabriel Baccus Matthews was about ideas and finding ways to make the Republic of Liberia democratic, and was also about finding ways to end the massive suffering of the Liberian people.

Gabriel Baccus Matthews was never about hatred and religious bigotry.

MacDonald A. Wento in 2017 wants Liberia to become a “Christian Nation,” promising that if he was ever elected president, his government will pass legislation to make Liberia a Christian nation.

“As Christians, we need to stand firm and defend our faith to the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What makes one a religious leader when such person cannot defend his/her faith? Bishops and pastors who are supposed to be telling the people or their congregation to support Liberia being a Christian State are the ones who are preaching against it,” Wento reportedly said.

Mr. Wento, do you know that Liberia is not a theocratic republic? You are preaching division and intolerance in a country with multiple faiths. So, what will become of the Islamic faith and other minority religions in the country?

Unlike other countries where religious intolerance often stirs violence and deaths, Liberia has been spared such religious violence.

So, why now?

Remember that with all their suffering and the many problems they faced daily, the Liberian people have always managed to co-exist peacefully with their brothers and sisters of the Islamic faith.

Are you going to wipe those religions off the Liberian landscape?

What will become of members of the Islamic faith and other religions who are natural-born Liberian citizens?

 Mr. Wento, I believe you want another civil war.

Do you care that the Liberian people are not interested in another civil war, but are interested in jobs, security, prosperity and food on the table for their children; and want their children to go to school every day?

Mr. Wento, do you have any plans to strengthen the nation’s weak and broken political institutions?

How about education, health care and hunger? Let’s discuss those issues and find practical solutions to solving them. How can you fight corruption and nepotism? Do you have any plan for Liberia’s impassable roads and broken streets? 

Anyway, read the 1847 Liberian Constitution, Sec. 3rd.   

All men have a natural and unalienable right to worship God, according to the dictates of their own consciences, without obstruction or molestation from others: all persons demeaning themselves peaceably, and not obstructing others in their religious worship, are entitled to the protection of law, in the free exercise of their own religion; and no sect of Christians shall have exclusive privileges or preference, over any other sect; but all shall be alike tolerated: and no religious test whatever shall be required as a qualification for civil office, or the exercise of any civil right.”

“God” is the keyword. The excerpt also speaks of religious tolerance.

Also, read this excerpt from the Preamble 1986 amended constitution

 “We the People of the Republic of Liberia: Acknowledging our devout gratitude to God for our existence as a Free, Sovereign and Independent State, and relying on His Divine Guidance for our survival as a Nation.”

Key word, again, “God,” not religious bigotry.

As a country that just came out of a deadly 14-year civil war, the Liberian people do not have the appetite for another civil war.

This is not leadership.

 

Category: Editorial, News Headlines

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