The Analyst Newspaper - (Published in Monrovia 11/15/02)          

Memo To President Taylor: Please Step Aside

Your Excellency, from all indications you seem determined not only to sufficiently fund political activities that are germane to the 2003 general and presidential elections, but also well inclined to contest. Doing so, Mr. President, is not a privilege of yours; it is your right and prerogative as both a citizen and Chief Executive of this West African Republic. No one, including us, can and should challenge or usurp these. As a Liberian, you are at liberty to contest for any job in the country. And you have the charisma and fortitude to win landslide as you did before.

However, Your Excellency, there are some Liberians who are asking whether your leadership can make any difference in their lives and the general socioeconomic and political condition of the nation. You would agree, Sir, that winning national leadership, even 99 per cent of the electorate, is one thing, and making the leadership relevant and necessary is quite another.

Take for instance, Mr. President, your overwhelming victory in 1997. You reportedly snatched an impressive 85 percent of the votes in the elections that were acclaimed very free, fair and transparent by local and international monitors and supervisors. In spite of that brilliant democratic credential, war, which the Special Elections came to mitigate, resurfaced while the emergent regime was in its puberty. To compound the situation, the international community imposed sanctions and what your "men" call "organized conspiracy" to stifle the progress of your government.

As you are certainly aware, Mr. President, Liberians have never known true peace, stability and prosperity since you initiated the "popular people’s uprising" that brought the nation to a near-standstill. Despite the fact that the war had ended and you have taken charge of the affairs of the nation, our villages—countryside—which were candid representative of the serenity of nature and peace, have since been in total tumult, balkanized by armed men and scourged by hunger and lethargy. Our cities and modest civilization have turned into habitats of Old Stone Age people. No electricity, no water, no decent roads and highways and, as kids put it, "no nothing". Nearly every Liberian is asking what the meaning of life is. Hopes are lost because things are worst for the populace by the day and there seems to be no solution in sight.

It might interest you, Your Excellency, to know that as people sit together in their communities or walk the streets, the worry is all the same: How long will we endure this condition? How long will starvation, joblessness, abject poverty continue to scourge us to death? How long will the international community isolate Liberia? How long will we live in fear? How long will true peace and tranquility elude our motherland? How long?

To these questions there are answers as there are Liberians. Your Excellency might as well have had your own answers, which may include amongst other things, your plan to seek reelection at the polls in 2003. However, Mr. President, there are those who theorize and prophesize that your (not the NPP’s) stepping aside in the ensuing general and presidential elections represents an effective panacea to our national quagmire.

The theory is grounded in your vow sometime back to give in provided it can help save Liberians from hardship and death. With hardship, which borders on your incumbency, plaguing your people, the best guess is that you would remember and keep your solemn vow. Besides, Your Excellency, history has a long list of true patriotic leaders who shunned or sacrificed their egos—even their rights--in order to save their people in the face of catastrophic imbroglios. They are heroes of their people, idolized, venerated and immortalized. These are epitaphs, which surely are to increase the stars of your crown if you follow suit.

And thank God, Mr. President, that you think so much and speak so fondly of your post-president life—going into the south eastern province of Grand Kru whose beautiful landscape hypnotizes you so much to become a cattle farmer. What an esteemed epitome, being the first former president of Liberia helping to build the economy of Liberia.

You may go ahead with your ambition and your constitutional right to contest and re-succeed yourself as President of Liberia for another six-year term. And you could do so resoundingly again. But, Mr. President, how sure are you and your electorates that you have put under control those hindrances—international reprimands and loath, as well as domestic dissensions and disgruntlements—which have clawed away and muffled your ability and opportunities to make life worth living for the suffering masses of this backward country.

Your Excellency, the fundamental reason for leadership, particularly the presidency, is more than testing charismas and popularities; it is to improve the standards of living of the people. And your leadership, you would admit, is wanting in this respect, which is why others might be requesting you to step aside during the ensuing elections. But, God forbade, if you have got hindrances under control, then it is prudent that you try again.

added by: Robert W. Kranz (Dec-2002)