ELECTIONS 2023: Know Your Candidate – Profile Of Tiawan Saye Gongloe

Another presidential candidate for the October 10, 2023 poll in continuation GNN-Liberia elections update is Tiawan Saye Gongloe, presidential candidate of the Liberia People’s Party (LPP) is one those in the race ahead of this historical date.

Born on the 6 of August 1956 in Glehyee-Zorpea, Yarwin-Mehnsonoh Statutory District, Nimba County, Cllr. Gongloe as he is affectionately call is one of Liberia’s fearless human rights defenders, his quest for the presidency of Africa’s oldest republic has been notably welcomed by many Liberians.

He is the Managing Partner, Gongloe and Associates, Inc, a law firm engaged in the general practice of law including courtroom trials, drafting articles of incorporation and bylaws and other corporate documents for corporations, registration of various types of business; drafting legislations, most recent of which was the civil service reform law; part of the team that worked on local government reform law; prepared the initial draft of a bill to repeal anti-press laws; prepared the initial draft of the jury reform law; drafted the small arms bill; was part of the team that reviewed the code of conduct for public officials, prepared the zero draft for the Criminal Conveyance Act, prepared the initial draft of the Land Authority Act, was part of the team that drafted the whistle-blower and Witness Protection act, lectures Human Rights Law and Criminal Procedure Law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law and at the James A. A Pierre Judicial Institute lectures on constitutional law, lectures on evidence, criminal procedure and human rights at the Police Training Academy in the basic training program and legal framework for policing for the senior officers’ in-service training program ( the lectures at the police academy is done whenever the call is made and my schedule permits); makes speeches and presentations on various issues of law and human rights, the Code of Conduct and the Constitution of Liberia at training workshops of lawyers, civil servants and civil society advocates and numerous other occasions; has been orator for human rights day in Liberia many times, the most recent being African Human Rights Day (2016) and International Human Rights Day (2016).

In April 2011 chaired a special committee, established by the President to investigate the March 22, 2011 police brutality against students of the G. W. Gibson High School and Tubman High School;

Former Minister of Labor, Republic of Liberia – resigned in

November 2010 over policy disagreement with the President of Liberia;

Former Solicitor General, Republic of Liberia, the first in the history of Liberia to prosecute a former head of State and sitting members of the Liberian Senate; in that position, participated in the renegotiation of the Metal Steel mining concession agreement in Liberia, participated in the formulation of the forestry reform law, amongst other things.

Member Grievance and Ethics Committee, Supreme Court Bar

Managing director, Legal Consultants Inc. (a law firm located in Monrovia, Liberia, dedicated mainly to defending the rights of the poor);

– Provided legal representation for journalists illegally arrested and detained by government or held in contempt by courts (many of whom are in exile in the United States) pro-democracy, media and human rights NGOs, including, but not limited to the Center for Democratic empowerment (CEDE) The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) the Star Radio (a pro-democracy radio station funded by USAID and a Swiss NGO Foundation Horondelle), UNHCR, and many unknown grass root organizations;

-was contracted by the Liberia National Transitional government (LNTG) headed by Cllr. David Kpomakpor to prosecute Gen. Charles Julu was found guilty and sentenced to long-term imprisonment, but was later granted clemency by the Council of State of the LNTG;

-made presentations at workshops and conferences in and out of Liberia, made TV and radio appearances in and out of Liberia, made TV and radio appearances in and out of Liberia on issues of human rights in Liberia;

-1994, admitted to the Supreme Court Bar as Counsellor-at-law

-1994-served as a member of United Nations Observer Mission in South Africa (UNOMSA) as UNV team leader in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape;

-1990-1994, Executive Assistant to the President of the Interim government of Liberia and participated in almost all the peace conferences organized by the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) as a member of the Interim Government’s delegation;

Achievements

Professional Membership

President

Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA)

2019-Present

1988-Admitted to the Montserrado Bar as Attorney-at-Law, the Supreme Court Bar as Counsellor-at-law in 1994

Elected three times as member of the Executive Council of the Liberia National Bar Association, the first of which was in 1995;

Life Member, Governing Board of the African Bar Association

Member, Public Interest Lawyers Association of West Africa

Publications

2005-Impunity is threat to Freedom-an op-ed co-authored with Gen Romeo Dalliare (former commander of the UN Peacekeeping troops in Rwanda)

2003-Help Us Rebuild, an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

The Law and the Medial in Liberia, a booklet published by the Media foundation for West Africa in Ghana (1998)

Liberia’s experience with the doctrine of separation of powers, an essay published in the Democracy Watch Journal, Monrovia, Liberia (2000)

Written numerous articles in Liberian and foreign newspapers and websites, mainly theperspective.org and newdemocrat.org, amongst others, on peace, human rights and the rule of law issues;

Awards and Honors

2004-2005 – Human Rights Policy Research fellow, Car Center for Human Rights Policy, Kennedy School of government, Harvard University.

2004 – Research fellow, Harvard University, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of African and African American Research;

2002 – Human Rights Watch Highest honor for human rights work in Liberia;

2003 – A. Philip Randolph Bayard Rustin freedom Award, A. Randolph Institute’s highest award;

2002 – Honored by the Liberia Mandingo Association of New York (LIMANY) by naming an award for peace and human rights in his honor;

1995-2000 recognition as human rights lawyer and advocate by nearly all local newspapers;

Work Experience

2011-Present

Managing Partner

Gongloe & Associates, Inc

July 24, 2009-November 4, 2010

Minister of Labor

Republic of Liberia

1994-2002

Managing Director

Legal Consultants Inc

1990-1994

Executive Assistant to the President of the Interim Government of Liberia

Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS)

His Quest For The Presidency

The Human Lawyer was On September 16, 2022 in Gbarnga, Bong County was elected as the standard bearer of the Liberia People’s Party on white ballot. Following his election, he pledged to implement the devolution of power, especially looking at the imperial presidency that continues to strangulate the other branches of government with absolute appointing powers—a major reason for conflicts in the country.

Cllr. Gongloe is running on a resounding campaign message, pledging to revive the country’s economy by putting agriculture, health, and education at the top of his agenda in what he says is “The Better Liberia Agenda,” which is anchored on transformational change for prosperity. Observers say “Comrade Tiawon Saye Gongloe is the only candidate and aspirant to have volunteered to lead the LPP.”

According to reports, the progressive social democrats in Africa, especially Liberia, are excited about the upcoming 2023 presidential and legislative elections, as they are fielding a popular grassroots candidate and a man of integrity, who has made corruption the central issue of his candidacy.

According to Weah Karpeh, Gongloe’s media team man, “The former Liberia National Bar Association President has distinguished himself both in the public and private sectors, and is promising to transform the country based on the rule of law.

He cuts across every political, cultural, regional, or religious divide based on his commitment to respect the rights of all Liberians based on the rule of law in Liberia, a track record that is there to be vetted.”

In one of his speeches to his supporters declared, “We’ll Use AFL to Fight Hunger”, he said when elected by the Liberian people his government will declare war on hunger by using the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as the ground force, utilizing agriculture as its main artillery.

According to Cllr. Gongloe since the formation of the Armed Forces Liberia (AFL) in 1908, they have not fought a simple war in the country, adding that his government will ensure that the AFL will now lead the fight against hunger in Liberia.

He further noted that under his leadership, the AFL will be heavily involved with agriculture production, and disclosed that machines will be provided to enhance agriculture production across the 15 counties through the military, adding that doing so will help reduce the importation of rice in Liberia and will help improve the living conditions of the Liberian people.

The former president of the Liberia National Bar Association said the Government of Liberia spends over US$200 million each year on the importation of rice when the soil of the country is good for agricultural production.

Cllr. Gongloe’s assertions come against the backdrop of a 2023 FAO Early Warning report that listed Liberia amongst other countries that are in urgent need of food assistance. Many of the other countries listed are experiencing war, flood, drought and other climate change issues, but Liberia is listed because of rising food prices and government economic policies that make 500,000 Liberians acutely food insecure.

Addressing Public Enemy Number One

The 2023 Presidential candidate further attributed the backwardness of development in Liberia to the ‘failure’ of the country’s leadership to adequately seek the interest of the citizens.

Gongloe further accused past and current leaders of the country for doing nothing to positively impact the lives of Liberians, despite the abundance of natural resources that are being mined by companies in the country.

“This country is blessed with natural resources and rich soil but the country has been victimized as a result of leadership bankruptcy,” he added.

He told the jubilant crowd that bad governance has unfortunately made corruption an acceptable culture of governance; and as a result of the high level of corruption in most government offices in Liberia, a majority of the people of Liberia are getting poorer and poorer every day.

Further outlining the negative impact of the menace, he said corruption has made every aspect of life so difficult that more children are dying in Liberia before reaching the age of five, more pregnant women are dying and more people are dying from easily curable diseases, and from hunger.

“Corruption is keeping more children out of school because their parents cannot afford to send them to school. Corruption has made it impossible for Liberians to travel in most parts of Liberia, especially in Southeastern Liberia during the rainy season. Corruption is a weapon of mass destruction,” he stated.

Likening corruption to a pandemic, he said the only way to slow it is to take preventive measures. “We will tell the people that LPP believes in operating an open, transparent, and accountable government with the assets, salaries, and benefits of the president, the vice president, the Speaker, President Pro Tempore, the lawmakers, the Chief Justice, justices and judges as well as all public service employees made known to the people of Liberia by publishing same on a government website.”

He vowed to mobilize and motivate the Liberian people by setting a good example for all Liberians to collectively sweep corruption from Liberia, saying: “The number one task of the Liberian People’s Party is to lead the Liberian people in the battle against corruption. We must collectively form a movement against this notorious enemy of Liberia.”

The prominent human rights lawyer, law professor, and politician Tiawan Gongloe has a reputation for being upright and is running on an “anti-corruption” ticket.

In his early years, Gongloe served as a student leader and later as an activist. In 1983, he, along with others, founded the Liberian People’s Party (LPP).

As a human rights lawyer, he provided legal representation for journalists, pro-democracy groups, media, human rights NGOs, and many grassroots organisation members illegally arrested and detained by the government or held in contempt

Watch out for another candidate soon.

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