Ordinary Liberians are resilient

Op-Ed By Kai Toteh | November 22, 2013

Going on their daily hustles in the morning, not sure how the day will be, ordinary Liberians get on “Yellow Bus” or “Killer Bean” - used school buses once used in the U.S., and conduct praise and worship in unison and with conviction and smiles and pay offerings through the leader, whom they referred to as pastor who leads the on-wheel praise and worship.

Despite economic hardship, ordinary Liberians are getting by every day and continue to believe in God. If it should be any group to praise for the peace in Liberia it should be ordinary Liberians, not government officials.

Someone would say government officials are the ones who administer the country before things can happen. But without the people there is no government. Besides, government officials receive exorbitant salaries more than the work they do. Therefore, the ordinary people are the ones making the sacrifices for their country.

If ordinary Liberians were not strong and did not agree to sacrifice, Liberia would have gone back to chaos, given the rampant corruption and abuse of power that are depriving them of the needed development.

One example for why ordinary Liberians should be highly respected and should be considered honorable people instead of honorable representatives, senators, ministers, directors, etc. is the death traps around Monrovia called roads. Almost there are no roads in Monrovia except Sinkor where the president lives and because that’s the road foreign diplomats use when visiting Monrovia.

The heading of this article is applicable to the past and present conditions of the ordinary people given their endurance in times when the country is going through hell and other Liberians, government officials ask them to exercise patience, even though they government officials don’t exercise patience themselves. Instead, they make policies that allow them to live luxurious lives while they keep the ordinary people waiting in the name of patience.

During the civil war ordinary Liberians were the ones who put up with the greatest patience, thinking that when the war would have ended they would be better off, while those Liberians who are now at the echelon of society ran into exile because they had the money to do so. Soon after the war, they returned and began to share positions, and not only did they share positions, they also began to share Liberia like an elephant meat.

As we speak, 10 years have passed but Liberians continue to live in abject poverty while the big shots travel around the world in search of pleasure and medical attention whilst their people lack healthcare, sanitation and water and electricity. To avoid a sweeping statement, let’s hit the nail on the head by making reference to the so-called Agriculture Break during which time, government officials receive huge bonuses and travel abroad leaving their people undone. For example, the District #13 Representative Saah H. Joseph left for the U.S. for his agriculture break while his people lack safe drinking water, and the road spoiled.

Another example is conditions of roads mainly in the suburbs of Monrovia including Battery Factory, Sayon Town, Cemenco, Iron Factory, New Georgia Estate junction and so forth.

Ordinary Liberians are resilient and honorable than do the honorable government officials, because they are patient in the highest degree and had it not for them, the 10 years of peace we all celebrate would not have come to be.

So, let’s give credit to where it rightly belongs. The awards, noble peace prizes, bonuses, allowances, pay raises, gas slips, free vehicles, and etc. must be shared with the people as a way of giving back to the people for their resilience, courage, and peacefulness.

Not only does this article seek to dedicate itself to the hard work of the ordinary Liberians, but it also seeks to remind government and government officials that they, too must begin to start making sacrifices, because the nation belongs to all us, not only ordinary Liberians.

Government must, like ordinary Liberians do, put the nation interest above and begin to reduce their salaries, allowances, bonuses, rethink raising their already excessive salaries as a manifestation of their readiness to submit to equity in the distribution of Liberian resources, taxes, and donations from foreign nations. Overall and frankly speaking, let us all make corruption public enemy number one. The fact is all of the vices listed herein are the ones that serve as a driving force for corruption.

We will conclude by being straightforward with the government and government officials that too many calls and appeals have been made for accountability and transparency in the administration of this great nation. It is time they listen and stop playing clever as if ordinary Liberians are bunch of empty heads, who can be manipulated and trampled on ceaselessly.