The New Deal
The New Deal: Preamble
For centuries we have witnessed the grievous wrongs the Liberian government has inflicted upon ninety-five percent Liberians who are natives and rural residents, marginalized their humanity, discriminated against them, consigned them to a second class citizenship status in their ancestral land, and disrupted their sustainable way of life, including self-sufficiency in food production.
For greed, power, and money, the government has continued to degrade the native people’s ancestral land and environment.
The unfair distribution of power, money, education, and employment opportunities between rural and urban elites.
For failure to successfully support and achieve the made-in Liberia initiatives, self-sufficiency in food production, and the balance of imports and exports.
For the failure of political parties to educate voters, engage in constructive civic engagements, discourse, duties, and responsibilities, especially after elections.
For failure of the system, as a whole, to severely deal with corruption and unethical behaviors of government officials, including civil servants and citizens alike.
Failure to invest more in information technology, quality education, and appoint educational leaders who care about school children, especially overseas scholarship students and the technologically driven future.
Because Liberia’s sustained prosperity depends on the prosperity of rural Liberia and its continued downfall and socioeconomic instability will equally depend on its neglect of the rural population.
And since the Checks and Balances System and good governance have become an ineffective tool to deter the executive branch’s power and enforce the rule of law.
For the inability of the rural population to galvanize, speak up, and speak out for justice, equality, economic fairness, and restitution.
And because the exercise of true democracy is not and has never been in the hands of the majority rural population in Liberia, a few powerful elites are bent on corrupting the integrity of a properly functioning democratic system based on the rule of law.
Therefore, the Institute of Liberia Politics and Democracy is morally bound to write the New Deal with the Liberian Government; it personifies the native people’s unspoken words and ideals, deferred hopes, aspirations, and proposals that are concrete, measurable, achievable, time-based, and environmentally responsible.
The New Deal is also a paradigm shift from the dark past to a better tomorrow, a renewed hope in the future, a clarion reminder to stand together, deter the arbitrary use of power, better serve the country like it is personal to every one of us, make the remaining 21st Century a rural development century, and support Liberia’s democracy, stability, and prosperity.
The New Deal with the Liberia Government
The following general election period begins in 2022, and like previous elections, it will be over, and new leaders, or the incumbent, will swear in office. What will have profound consequences beyond electoral victories and these dangerous and rueful decades constitute decisions elected leaders will make impacting the kind of Liberia we are going to create in the remaining of the 21st Century, the type of legacy we will bequeath to future generations, and the 22nd Century, Liberia’s 3rd Century.
Yes, most Liberians were disillusioned and disconnected in the last Century. Unfortunately, everyone is more disillusioned about the 21st Century and its worsening and weak economic problems. People are afraid and becoming hopeless; they don’t know what to do. But they have begun understanding that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. If Liberia’s first Century left them behind, impoverished, and insolvent, and the 2nd Century has deepened poverty, left the country in tatters, over billions in debt, killed over 250,000 of their families, created humanitarian tsunami disasters, and destroyed the infrastructure of the entire country, that the people built with sweat and tears, then only a few credulous will become optimistic about Liberia’s 2nd or 3rd Century; the living condition of Liberians will be more of the same or worst. Politicians or warlords may ignite the 2nd Civil War to arrogate power, embezzle government funds, ruin the country again, and enrich themselves to the detriment of most of the Liberian people.
The writing is over the wall. Millions of dollars have disappeared without a trace. The government has broken its promise to implement the County Development Agenda fully. The Ministry of Finance & Development Planning budget projection for 2018 & 2020 surpasses the total budget of all the fifteen counties in the same fiscal years. The Supreme Court is expelling justices critical of the presidency, destroying the Checks and Balances System. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, an executive branch agency, regulates or sets procedures in tribal trials and determines tribal court fees in violation of the Checks and Balances System. Liberia’s debt is increasing at an unbeatable rate. Corruption and unethical behavior are endemic in every aspect of the country. The Government has become incapable of managing overseas scholarship students trained to handle tomorrow’s difficult and technologically complex problems. The country’s import and export balance has perennially abated. Liberia continues to import rice even though the government has the potential to produce and export rice more than its local consumption. Liberia’s human development index (life expectancy at birth, gross national income per capita, and means years of schooling) is among the lowest on the planet.
The Creator of the Universe is very patient but inscrutable. It warns repeatedly, forgives over again before acting. God manifests in prophets, social and political activists, scientists, individuals, and good leaders and forewarns before the occurrence of imminent danger or cataclysm. Of course, perpetrators of the law, along with their benefactors, will usually be the loudest critics of even God’s vicegerents and those who warn against impending catastrophe. So, criticize and attack the Liberia Institute of Politics and Democracy any way you like. Still, Liberia will soon slip into an abyss if the government and the people do not act fast to evert another economic, financial, or political meltdown.
No one person or group possesses all the ideas and answers about the government, including its complex interrelated and auxiliary components. And the government can’t solve Liberia’s problems alone. Our focus should be laying a solid foundation, making the remaining 21st Century and the next century a rural development century, encouraging and celebrating diversity, reducing inequality, investing more in quality education, balancing imports and exports, subsidizing or lowering taxes on food production, and made in Liberia initiatives, applying good governance and the rule of law, making the eradication of corruption and unethical behaviors a national emergency crisis, prioritizing training in technology, science, and math, and searching for and hiring talented leaders capable, prepared, and ready to solve the complex problems ahead.
The People's Dream Smashes to Smithereens
More than 170 years ago, the aboriginal tribes and their kings, consul of elders, noblemen, and noblewomen, were forced to decide between the past and an uncertain future. They gave away values that they treasured for a lot that they thought would be halcyon and better. They went through Scylla and Charybdis in the twilight to make that decision –not looking backward but forward, counting only on faith, their progeny, and the arbitration of an awakened people for recourse in case the government breached the constitution that all signed. Crucial to the body was the right of popular suffrage because people realized that without the power to vote political candidates in or out of public office, they would become corrupt and fall foul of the organic law of the land.
The natives were promised equal protection under the laws; each time they assembled to redress grievances, they were intimidated or imprisoned in the cruelest and dehumanizing manner. The people, therefore, became frustrated and subsequently disengaged from civic responsibilities and patriotic duties and began to scoff at politics and politicians in derision, cynicism, and suspicion. Consequently, the country lost the capacity and power to create and live together as free, equal members of a democratic society.
The government promised the natives economic opportunities; they lived in an extreme and vicious cycle of poverty under the most decrepit condition over a hundred years. The government promised health facilities and schools; for over a century, they were misled and deceived. They remained poorly educated, under-employed, and lacked the aptitude to afford decent jobs.
The moral values taught at schools, and religious institutions were never practiced in homes, communities, and government institutions. That is why the eradication of corruption efforts became farfetched and elusive. Even the few talented, including the so-called educated natives and patriotic ones that could have given the system a reason to stay alive, were often forced to choose between their paychecks and moral principles. And in time, everyone settled down on his cheek. And that’s when the moral and intellectual compass of the nation went off course. In the absence of good men and women, dictatorship, tyranny, and corruption had triumphed throughout the land.
Irrespective of years of indignity and disappointment in the integrity of government, paying taxes without representation, being deprived of the right to participate in the democratic process, the people did not lose optimism in the future. As the years went by, feudalism or domestic slavery was abhorred. Local customs and internal regulations were jointly negotiated and agreed upon by and in respect of the indigenes. The partial integration of the indigenous and the few elites partly ended mutual distrust, conflicting interests, or political rivalry. In the early 1950s, Liberia created an Open-Door policy and a free enterprise system unparalleled in African economic history. Only a few privileged people, however, achieved a middle-class life and a better future. Put differently; the country grew without development. And while the overwhelming majority gave the average of over 40-50 years of their lives to their employers, both public and private, they stayed behind, and the future remained bleak for them and their families. And for generations, elected officials had systematically torn the Liberian constitution to shreds.
The Indigenous Lost Faith in Government
The people’s faith in the system has become a nightmare; their hope-long endures become deferred. Everyone, including their progeny, ignored the people’s cry for justice. They have become like liberated slaves disparately in need of restoration of identity. But their long-held agony and sufferance have given them the spirit and courage to fight back and protect themselves, and that’s how things are going to be in the new decades ahead. There will not be an air bow-room of compromise with those who misrepresent the people, refuse to reduce the inequality, build rural Liberia, invest more in quality education, balance the country’s imports and exports, make food production and made in Liberia initiative a priority, apply good governance and the rule of law, and make the eradication of corruption and unethical behaviors a national emergency crisis. Since the sovereignty of the state lies in the hands of the people, the government will no longer ride on the people’s backs; they will hang together. The people no longer hold back their feelings; they are not afraid or intimated anymore. And they reject the long-held belief that government is a boogeyman, scarecrow, untouchable, and belongs only to a privileged few.
We are our Worst Enemy
Despite the country’s ample natural resource endowment, we still can’t feed ourselves. For over one hundred and seventy years, we have faced perennial export and import imbalance and cannot balance the books. Exports bring money into the country, increase GDP, expand the economy instead of imports that take money out of the country, decrease GDP and economic growth. Import and export imbalance is a leading cause of Liberia under development and debt. Currently, Liberia’s GDP per capita is about $698, number 164 out of 196 countries. For the Liberian population engaged in subsistence agriculture, the average per capita income may be less than $200.
The rural population is committed to the County Development Agenda; the government is yet to fulfill its promise to help them achieve CDA goals. Corruption, every nation’s woe, is endemic in the system. It dominates the ballot box, the lawmakers, the executive branch and touches even the ermine of the supreme court bench. It’s undermining the laws of the land, weakening democratic governance, sabotaging economic growth, increasing the costs of doing business, reducing productive activities and foreign direct and domestic investments, and increasing inequality and poverty. Corruption and unethical behaviors were also the causes of the worst economic or financial crisis in 2008. It crumbled the world economy. Please read our articles 1, article 2, and article 3 on ethics and unethical behaviors.
We have the mindset that borrowing or hosting a one-day economic summit is the panacea to Liberia’s economic doldrums. Instead of the root, we water the tree leaves; instead of investing in rural Liberia and quality education focusing on producing engineers, computer scientists, programmers, software and hardware engineers, and other of that ilk, we can’t pay the stipends overseas bilateral scholarship students.
In the ensuing decades, the country will continue to decide socioeconomic and political issues, the widening gap between political leaders and the governed; the haves and the have-nots; parity and disparity; the so-called civilized and the natives; the literate and illiterate. These divides emerged with the Republic’s existence over a century and a half and continues without resolve. We can decide to slip back and set Liberia out on another collision cause ignoring our inequalities that triggered recent civil hostilities and led a generation fritted and lost. Or we can honor the deaths by working together to co-create the future that endures, appealing to the better side of our common humanity, and making government fairer and just in the way it distributes the abundant natural resource that nature has provided us.
Let's Make the Remaining 21st Century a Rural Development Century
Liberia of today and tomorrow acknowledges no concession between equality under the laws and dictatorship, economic fairness, and injustice. The people’s choice is crystal unequivocal (perhaps there hasn’t been a better time to do the right thing) to choose equal rights, socio-economic fairness, and justice once and for all and develop rural Liberia; any sustainable prosperity of the country rests on the prosperity of rural Liberia. Our program for the future is to achieve the goals of the County Development Agenda fully and Pro-Poor agenda, namely security, economic revitalization, governance and the rule of law, and infrastructure and essential services, including paving roads to connect agriculture communities to market; construction and rehabilitation of health facilities with proper staffing and affordable services; and much-expanded education services, balancing imports and exports, eradicating corruption, investing more in quality education especially technology, science and math, self-sufficiency in food production, better jobs, economic opportunities, and equality under the laws, regardless of social, economic, or religious orientation.
Measurement of Future Liberia's Leaders
And because the country is two decades left behind due to the Civil War, a war that has brought so much untold destruction and sadness to all, especially the rural population, we have to run faster, work harder, sacrifice more for Liberia, do things better, and wiser to have a chance to catch up with the rest of the comity of nations and survive as a proud and independent nation. And for once, in the country’s history, we should stop begging for others to do for us what we can do for ourselves. We can’t afford to have a fledgling and irresolute leadership at the helm that does not know the dimension and scope of Liberia’s problems, where we are, where we are going, the risks and complexities that we must endure to achieve a sustainable and secure future.
Therefore, the Liberian people demand that their future leaders uphold and commit to the following pledges based on propositions that will form the foundation of sound, logical, and practical future policies.
The County Development Agenda Pledge
The Anti-Corruption Pledge
The Import/Export Balance Pledge
The Education Pledge
The Good Governance Pledge
The Checks and Balances System Pledge
The Democratic Leadership Pledge
The Information Technology Pledge
The Political Party Pledge
The Ethics and Morality Pledge