LIBERIA: LPP Urges Opposition Bloc Ahead Of 2023 Elections To Change Their Political Debate From Personality

J. Yanqui Zaza  

Open invitation to political Parties

August 16, 2021

The Liberian People’s Party (LPP), a political party, was established in 1984. It participated in national elections in 1997, 2005 and 2017. And because of experience in many Liberian elections and other Nations’ elections, LPP invites other political parties to change the political debate from personality (age, gender, rich-man, strong man, etc.) to issues (employment, revenue, healthcare, food insecurity, etc.), and how best to move the country forward.

However, there are individuals who do not share this view for the following reasons they gave. 1) they want to delay the debate until after elections; 2) they have the fear that detractors would deliberately misinterpret good ideas, 3) that many voters are not educated, 4) that voters might be less interested in electoral matters, and 5) that complex issues might drive voters away.  

Yes, it is true that political party should not dismiss any of these concerns. Nonetheless, voters, advocates, and candidates should, every day, discuss how community leaders can play a role in managing community resources or collaborating with national leaders to promote peace and unity. Candidates and community residents focusing on employment, healthcare, etc. might help discourage voters to focus less on country versus Congau divide or personality cult, for example.

Without doubts, panellists of Civil Society, etc., even after elections, can develop simple and complex issues as documented within the Agenda for Transformation Strategy, Poverty Reduction Strategy, 2030 Vision or Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. However, one of the many problems for not discussing issues before election is that neither elected officials nor appointed officials have ownership of issues, therefore, voters cannot hold them accountable.  

Moreover, interacting with voters frequently will create an environment conducive for voters to understand the issues and the cost and benefit analysis of each policy. This approach might make the enforcement of policies effective.

Let us review some of the errors that informed voters would have assisted policymakers in minimizing:

Depositors or Western Union customers will get their money on time from commercial banks if informed-voters discourage officials of the Central bank of Liberia from depleting commercial banks’ cash reserves and limit its borrowing to 10% of government revenue as stipulated by the 1999 Central Bank of Liberia Act. Central Bank’s 2020 annual report shows that it borrowed USD $55M more than the USD$50M (USD $105M minus the 10% of the USD $500M government revenue). By selling promissory notes to banks, government reduces cash reserves at commercial banks, thereby, making it difficult for clients to get their money when they need it.  

Liberia’s informed voters would have discouraged Liberian financial advisers from violating Liberia’s 2009 PFM Laws (i.e., laws on transparency and accountability). The Country’s violation of transparency and accountability laws encouraged United States of America Department of State to list Liberia in June 2021 as one of the countries that has violated its own laws.

Liberia’s informed voters, aware that the rice project in Lofa was launched to reduce food insecurity, and at the same time create jobs for our youths, would have advised former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to use the farm-equipment and produce food. Also, they would have advocated for Liberia to allocate 10% of its government revenue as stipulated in the agreement signed during the 2011 Maputo Conference.

Liberia’s informed citizens would advocate against businesses creating economic arrangement that encourages parents and employers to violate Child Abuse Labour Laws and employed school-aged children at Diamonds and Gold industries, Buy and sell industry, Firestone, etc.

Liberia’s informed citizens would have discouraged financial advisers from demanding and receiving pensioners’ cash held by the Liberia National Social Security Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), which is in violation of the 2009 PFM laws. Liberian authorities demanded and received cash from NASSCORP and classified the transactions as payments for dividends and payments to purchase government treasury bonds respectively in 2019 and 2020.

Liberia’s informed voters, in 2018, would have agreed with President George that Liberia was broke, and disagreed with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who stated that Liberia held USD $153M cash reserves. The former President included amounts of “Special Drawing Rights” (i.e., credit privileges of the International Monetary Fund) as part of Liberia’s net international foreign exchange reserves. In 2009, her administration began including the “Special Drawing Rights” (SDR) as part of Liberia’s excess cash reserves. On page # VIII of the 2009 Central Bank of Liberia annual report, the former governor of the Central Bank stated that Liberia’s net international foreign exchange cash reserves increased from USD $49M in 2008 to USD $269M in 2009, principally because of “SDR.” Past and current administrations usually overstate Liberia’s cash position to ill-advise stakeholders for Liberia to borrow more money.

Thanks,

Secretariat

Liberian People’s Party

0776-491-322

0778-029-496

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