• Says corruption causes violent conflict

Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe says bad governance has caused conflict in Liberia, including the Saturday, April 14, 1979 rice riot; the Saturday, April 12, 1980 military takeover; the Tuesday, October 15, 1985 elections results and the December 24, 1989 rebellion.

He claimed that poor governance contributed to the first coup d’état in 1871, the second coup d’état in 1980, and 109 years later, the 14-year fratricidal civil war in Liberia.

He went further to say that the National Elections Commission (NEC) chairperson, Davidetta Brown-Lansanah, who has been accused of having awarded her brother a contract in violation of the code of conduct, should by now be sacked instead of on the job.

“The same with Jeanie Cooper at the Agriculture Ministry, who did similar things by awarding contracts to her brothers and close relatives working in her offices,” Gongloe said.

He said both officials of the government should by now be sacked and made to reverse those contracts and bring back the money. 

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) indicted and forwarded the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission to court while still investigating the Minister of Agriculture for identical conflicts of interest and criminal conspiracy to commit crime against the state.

Gongloe, 65, gave these remarks to inhabitants of Marshall, Margibi County, on Sunday, February 13, during an introduction and awareness ceremony for his presidential campaign next year.

He claimed that poor governance causes a state to devolve into disorder or conflict, resulting in the loss of lives and property in Liberia.

Gongloe told the gathering that Liberia’s 14-year conflict was not based on religion, tribal, or social but on bad governance, which has to do with the mismanagement of state resources for personal gain.

He stated, among other things, that government should not be a place where one goes to steal, but rather a place where one serves for the betterment of the people rather than for one’s own benefit.

The former President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) noted that stealing the country’s natural resources has become one of the major causes of bad governance in Liberia, which is not going forward but retrogressing daily.

“Gongloe reflected that the Weah regime was elected to bring change to the people, but regrettably, it brought suffering to the people to the extent that we are unable to buy a cold bowl to eat from,” Gongloe reflected.

He said both officials of government should by now be sacked and made to reversed those contracts and bring back the money

  He said bad governance has paralyzed Liberia and made it difficult for Liberians to realize their dream of being susceptible of equal refinement and capable of equal advancement.

Therefore, Gongloe continued that Liberia is now far behind a lot of countries in Africa when it comes to sustained economic growth and development saying bad governance has paralyzed Liberia’s development.

 “The people of Liberia need a cure for this paralysis of development and it is against this background that I will speak to you, this afternoon, briefly on the topic a better Liberia is possible,”  he lamented.

The LPP man indicated that Liberia can be a better country only if people who are serious about fighting corruption take power in this country.

He recalled that he has a friend in the legislature from the ruling party who often tells me that the only way to bring positive change in Liberia is to elect a president who is not corrupt and has a record of speaking against corruption.

Gongloe went further to say that this is the only way to move Liberia from paralysis to progress. Yes, a better Liberia is possible only without corruption.

We need to move from paralysis to progress as a nation. In order to do so, we have to follow the examples of other countries like us that were poor at independence and are now enjoying prosperity. Let us take the example of Botswana, “he suggested.

Gongloe reflected on the progress made by Botswana since independence in 1966. Its annual budget was at the time just US $3,000,000, but today, as a result of good governance, based on the anti-corruption record of its past and current presidents, it has made tremendous progress in its development.

Former President Festus Mogae of Botswana, who spoke once at the Peter G. Peterson Conference Center Institute for International Economics in Washington DC, United States in 2006, summarized the progress made by Botswana.

Between 1966 and 2005, the real gross domestic product, or GDP, grew at a rate of more than 7% per year on average.In 2005, GDP per capita was more than $4,000.00 USD.

The national budget has grown from under $3 million in 1966 to over $4 billion in 2006.

Exports have also grown from around $2 million to over $2.5 billion by 2005. Formal sector employment has risen from around 13,800 to close to 300,000 last year. Life expectancy at birth rose from 48 years in 1966 to 65.3 years in 1991 before declining to 55.6 years in 2001, partly as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Primary school enrollment rose from 66,100 in 1966 to 327,600 last year. Access to health, education, transport, telecommunications, and other services has improved dramatically.

Back to Liberia: it became an independent country 119 years before Botswana. More than that, Botswana is a landlocked country and more than half of its land area is covered by the Kalahari Desert.

Given all those natural challenges, with good governance, Botswana has overcome the natural difficulties of being a desert and landlocked country and has become a very secure, peaceful and prosperous country.

Liberia has the capacity to do better than Botswana in growing its economy but its progress has been and continues to be paralyzed by uncontrolled stealing by those who work in the government of the country, especially those who serve at the top as corruption is the only enemy of progress in Liberia.

Corruption has paralyzed Liberia. Therefore, in order for Liberia to make progress, a more serious effort has to be made to get rid of corruption. 

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