On the African continent, far along the southern Atlantic belt on the West, lies a 43,000 square mile land area, with a 350-mile coastline, country Liberia. Its population is approximately 5 million people with 14 million acres of forest, which is over 40% of Africa’s tropical forest. A narrow strip of land naturally endowed with a plethora of natural resources that some of the developed countries don’t have; yet she incubates her people with much hunger, frustration, terror, and injustice. In addition to that, She has experienced a total collapse of the economy, an abysmal health care system, a consistent downward trend in education, lack of harmony amongst Her people, and an absolute lack of order and system in public entities.
Africa’s oldest independent republic, Liberia, is a state where, since the colonial era, never has any administration been tolerant of her strongest critics. The electorates, with undeniably the most powerful tool, the voting power, see themselves as the least important. Their secret and sacred might has been repeatedly ditched and dished out undeservedly in every given election situation. They allow themselves to be bussed or trucked from district to district in an attempt to make a day’s meal, ergo making legislative decisions for other constitutes. When one votes outside of the district in which they reside, not only do they create, for the real residents of that district, a legislative representation that could be democratically undeserving should the real residents make independent choices, they also leave room for their own constitute to be ill-represented.
Undeniably, Liberia’s electorates are what I call bellycratic (belly driven- as in, concerned about filling their stomach in that immediate moment). This great decision that one may not be opportuned to make ever again in his lifetime again, is sold at about ten (10) USD per piece. The power of being an entrepreneur, manager, of having access to better education and health systems, of attaining enhanced judicial or legal frameworks, of growing a smiling family, etc., is dashed not because of ignorance, but either because of a protest of the system of democracy (opting out of voting) or an unpatriotic choice. The unexplainable part is, the voters are well able to identify the least competent and the most competent by creating campaign songs and slogans that can clearly prove it, but yet and still, they vote for the least competent. The best but most critical one minute in any voter’s life is behind the ballot box. The only thing standing between any voter, and his future, the future of his kids and his country-people, is his conscience and discernment and yet, many ignore them knowingly.
The irony that baffles me, is the folks wanting a tricycle to do the work of a Nissan Patrol Jeep. How do you expect a buyer (electoral candidate) that bought from sellers (electorates) to be on your side? How can a person who took bank loans in the name of buying votes, transported voters to and from political rallies just to get them to vote for them, did last minute political projects just to falsely impress, be on the side of the same sellers (electorates)? Do the voters forget that they traded their votes for immediate, petty gains?
This nightmare of national leaders failing can be fixed through a holistic bottom to top approach. Unless the voters begin to see themselves as the single most powerful group and exercise their power wisely, their livelihoods for the period of that administration will always be reflected in the dollar that trucked them. Unless the electorates create a better approach to their voting lifestyle, their lives will always be consumed by the people that ought to work in their interest. Vote sale and sentimental voting are precursors to bad governance and monumental suffering. Selling your vote is synonymous to selling your future. Voting because you “know” a person and not because of their competence is worse than the most devastating armed conflicts. The moment when patriotism wins over partisanship, is the moment that signals our arrival as a country. Vote protest and vote sale equate to looting on industrial scales, weak judiciary, breakdown of the health care system and the entire economy. All of these are not unique to one administration, which is even provable by the ghost of J.J. Roberts.
Electorates, the powers that be start and end with you! Apply it wisely or forever be ruined.
Authored by Emmanuel Johnson
Featured picture by Creative Blog