The past forty-one years have been catastrophic for the millennial generation due to unemployment, poor services, and despotism. My generation was "GASLIGHTED" that the 1980 Coup would bring fundamental change to Liberia, but it seems the change is yet to come.
To the millennial generation, allow me to address you regarding where we have come from, where we are presently, and where we need to go as a nation for a better Liberia and Africa. I may not have been born at the time of the 1980 Coup, but as a man who loves history and analyzes it to help prevent a repeat of past mistakes, I believe the coup happened because the "oppressed became the oppressors."
The free black/African slaves who left the United States of America because of what they suffered in America for 400 years became our oppressors. When they arrived on the shores of Africa and settled in Liberia, they did what they knew to be a great life. They implemented the "Drum Major Instinct" on their fellow brothers and sisters they met in Liberia.
So, for one hundred and thirty-three years, the Americo-Liberians/Congau took the helm of Liberian political power; they only continued with oppression. The power gave them access to wealth and opportunity that excluded the native from development. The True Wing Party (TWP) refused to hear the cries of the people to end their marginalization from participating in the decision-making.
The Americo-Liberians/Congau did not want to share power with the Native Liberians because they understood it would effectively undermine their rule. They believed it was all for them or nothing and refused to adopt the American Federal government system. That supremacy ideology and mentality helped to usurp the famous 1980 uprising. Later, the supremacy ideology and mentality resulted in the 1989 first civil crisis that killed more than 250,000 Liberians and the second civil war that had a former President of Liberia sitting in a jail cell in a Western nation. We will not be having this discussion today.
The coup leaders imprisoned and executed thirteen individuals for crimes of "misappropriation of government funds, nepotism, rampant corruption, misuse of public office, and secret killings. My generation would say there is rampant corruption, misuse of government funds, nepotism, and secret killing that have gone on for the past 41 years. My analysis of this statement is as follows: the progressives who preached democracy and a multi-party system and railed against the Tolbert government for not promoting democracy joined a brutal regime by legitimizing the 1980 coup. When the so-called revolution took place, the murder of a sitting president, his cabinet ministries, member of the judiciary, and legislatures, the so-called progressives had the opportunity to right the wrong for the 133 years, but they failed. The progressives had the chance to bring fundamental changes to the nation, but they chose power and status over the "Millennial generation's" well-being. I believe the progressives were only seen as good to the populace due to the hatred the public had for the TWP. I don't think it was for any ideology or love for any particular person or reason.
In my opinion, no member of the "MOJA" movement, including Dusty Wolokolie, JYanqui Zaza, Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Joseph Boakai, Dr. Henry Boimah Fahnbulleh Jr, John Stewart, and countless others, should have stayed outside the government and called for Doe to step down. It may have cost them their lives. But they wanted a shortcut to power and not work for it. Let me give you a hypothetical example of the late Nelson Mandela. Let us assume everything happened during the time of Mandela's life before he went to prison. Instead of being in prison for twenty-seven years, he was in jail for two or five years. He was released and joined the "apartheid government," where he worked for five to twenty years until his death. Would you consider Nelson Mandela the Hero he became to the world? I, for one, would not have called him a hero or even thought of him as such. What he fought for before going to jail is still the same; blacks in South Africa are still treated as second-class citizens today.
The third analysis that comes to mind is the rewriting of our constitution. I believe the 1986 constitution is a flaw and needs to be changed to create a fair playing field for all Liberians. The 25-member body sat and wrote a constitution for a "Unitary State." That was an ultimate asinine move after the 133-year rule by one group of people that led to the brutal killing of a sitting president and 13 members of his administration, as well as an attempted coup in 1985. I believe it was essential to Federalize our government at that point. This would imply that each county becomes a state. The advantages of the federal government are that it provides stability and order, allows for a division of powers between the central government and the states, and protects the rights of citizens. The federal government also provides flexibility and adaptability, as it can respond to changing needs and circumstances. Finally, the federal government promotes economic growth and development. Opening the political involvement to all who wished to participate was also crucial. This would allow citizens from each county/state to determine how they want their county/state to be governed by choosing the leaders they want. But the rulers didn't want to make that fundamental change. They were not mad that the previous group of people was doing something wrong, but they could do it better.
After fourteen years of civil war, our parents' generation elected Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the first president after President Taylor stepped down. I believe she should have never ascended to that position as she was involved in most of the significant setbacks in our nation. A Truth and Reconcile Commission (TRC) was established during her first term in office. The TRC recommended the establishment of a War and Economic Crime Court, and the individuals involved in the war were not to serve in government for thirty years or so. Our sitting President Ma. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was part of that 30 years ban. She would have never run for a second term if she respected our nation, the citizens of Liberia, and Africa. Look at the 12 years of power and compare it to others. Most of the grievances that plague other administrations plagued hers. Former First lady Michelle Obama said, "the Presidency does not change you, but merely reveals who you are." In my opinion, if President Sirleaf had not run for reelection, our nation would have moved ten years into the future instead of still trying to move from the 1980s. The likes of Senator Prince Johnson, Rep George Boley, and Rep. Yekeh Kolubah, to name a few, would not be in our body of legislators. I don't even think President Weah would be President now due to the fact that our parents' generation always placed their needs before ours -the millennial generation - and that of the nation.
We have to rewrite the wrong in the upcoming election. We must put our children's and grandchildren's futures before our own. We must not act like our parents' generation. We can no longer trust our children and grandchildren's future with our parents' generation. How can we trust our children and grandchildren's future with them when they didn't secure our future? We can't continue to be "gaslighted" by them any longer. The time for change is now. "Change That Builds a Nation!" The 2023 Liberian elections will have two impacts on the ages. The first one will be for the world to see if the Liberians have "Stockholm syndrome." Secondly, will the "millennial age group 1981-1996" sell their children and grandchildren's future to the people that brought us the fourteen years of civil war, the killing of two sitting presidents, the lack of good health care, the lack of good education, lack of infrastructure, stagnant economy of the last forty years, lack of progress in our rural areas and a soaring crime rate over the past five years.
I love and respect President Weah because he is black, African, Liberian, and one of the best football players. However, I believe he is incompetent as he does not understand the importance of the office of the President. He has refused to learn his impact on the future Liberian generation. Doe, Ellen, and Taylor's leadership taught our generation violence. They taught our generation that if you don't agree with someone and want to get ahead, kill them. President Weah is teaching our children to be lazy. He is telling them mediocrity is the way to live. Having good times is the new order in the nation.
Mr. President, I didn't expect anything different from what you are giving the Liberian people now. I said this in our local newspaper before you were elected. I was accused of writing a "hate piece" on you. Since becoming President, the jobs your administration has created are "bike boys and mobile money boys." In ten years, our boys' counterparts, the girls, would have surpassed the boys in education and development.
Mr. Alexander Cummings, I supported you in the last election. I believe at that time that you were the right man to lead our nation after Sirleaf's government. You proved me wrong when you showed your true colors by not endorsing anyone in the second round. And to join these same people six months to a year later, you didn't see who you believed could run the office. What epiphany or ideology do you think made you join them? Did you do it because it is the easier way to the Presidency? Do you want the Presidency but not to change anything? Your recent back and forth with the President revealed that you served in Sirleaf's government. That explains a lot to the rest of the people in Liberia and me.
Former Vice-President Joseph Boakai, you have served in government for forty years. I don't think it is terrible, but when you served. What impact did you make on the nation? I will not be naive like others to say why didn't you do this and that as Vice-president? "Why didn't you build the roads in Lofa? I know the vice president has two primary functions in an administration. Were you waiting for the President to die to serve the people? Three reasons I can pick off the top of my head. Firstly, you served in the Doe Junta's administration. Secondly, you guys signed the new Firestone deal while serving as VP in the Sirleaf administration. Why did you think it was the best time to sign that deal? Do you think that deal was in the nation's best interest then and now? If you had an objection, what was it and why? Thirdly, you were on the Herry Costa talk Show a year ago, and I am paraphrasing, "I give people cutlass, hoes, and whipper to develop a farm; that is progress for the people of Liberia." Do you think the way to conduct farming and move our agriculture sector into the 21st century is through agrarian tools like hoes? Your vision for Liberia is stuck in the 1970s. Sir, let the 1970s call and ask for their vision back. VP Boakai since your selection by your party you have not sat for any major interview to explain the “Why, What, and How” for running for President of Liberia.
Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, you served in the Sirleaf-Boakai administration in two top positions, including Solicitor General and Minister of Labor. Did you serve in the Doe junta government as well? My generation needs the answer to the questions: What were your objections to the Firestone deal 2005-2007? If you had one at the time, did you make it known to the President, or did you keep quiet as your generation did in 1980? When you only made a sacrifice when it was convenient? What did you advise the legislature about voting on during the deal negotiation? Did you inform Rep Dusty Wolokolie that you think this deal was not in the best interest of Liberia, or you went along to get along?
Besides your supporters, you have tried to portray yourself as the most honest man in Liberia. Cllr. Gongloe, I will never question your motive. You have not personally displayed any unethical behavior, but your honesty is not what matters in this election. What matters is who will make the hard decision for our children's and grandchildren's future. Building factories to turn our natural resources into products is fundamental to job creation in Liberia. Why didn't you resign when you saw that the 2005-2007 Firestone deal was not good for the future generation of Liberia? In my opinion, the Firestone deal signed 2005-2007, in which you held a key position, was disastrous. It did not maximize our potential as a nation. I don't think this deal differs from the deal signed in 1929, 75-76, or 86. As Labor minister, you have promoted the idea of an increment of the foreign worker fees. If you and the administration you served had the environment for Liberians to create jobs, that would not be the primary source of accomplishments as Labor Minister in the government. Cllr, your party ideology alone will put Liberia back years if you are given a chance to gain state power.
Your current party chairman preaches about the country’s philosophy he admired so much and despises the American system. The hypocrisy of all is that your party chairman lived in the United States of America for twenty-plus years. He has a retirement benefit that he enjoys now that would never have been achieved in the national ideology he favors.
Almost a year, you told the people of Liberia you would stop corruption. Now you have changed your tune on that promise. You are now echoing the sentiment; I have spent about the same amount of time you spent eliminating corruption. I knew you would say what you said and when you said it. Ask Mr. Dusty Wolokolie.
Do you want the same form of government we have had for the past 175 years, the people who legitimize coup de-tat as a means to gain power, the people that taught us that killing sitting Presidents to gain control was the only way to democracy, the people who brought us the fourteen years civil war? Or a candidate that wants to open the political power to all its citizens, regardless of the tribe, or an improvement in social and economic status? A candidate that does not tell people to do things he wouldn't do will practice what he preaches. A Change That Builds a Nation! To my generation, these are your choices on the ballot come Oct 10, 2023. Vote for our movement. The movement to turn the page to a better future.