5 November 2012

Liberia: Would Any Self-Styled Censorship Compel Another Re-Think?


The trappings of an election year brought to bear its attendant ramifications and sheer complexities to say the least folks. Anyone from one of our remotest villages in this country would not be the most surprise about the euphoria amid its consequences. We had made so much fuss cum noise in the marketplace about freedom, justice and liberty.

We agitated profusely about equality, fair distribution of the national wealth and electing government for, by and of the people. But elections themselves are not the solutions to the plethora of challenges that confront civilized people.

Colleagues and avid admirers of our modest contributions formed dozens of interpretations either parochially, emotionally or mischievously. We have a duty to respect them within the confines of their individual thought processes. Even those who are accustomed to presenting frivolous ideas do sometimes contribute an iota of thought.

Established media organizations function on account of scientific and effective management systems. There are guiding principles that border on editorial policies, which originate from the dictates of the Board of Directors. Do our media institutions have Board of Directors? It is worth reckoning though given that a lot of the mess being perpetuated in the name of some kind of "Press Freedom" would have been check-mated.

Who pays the bills or signs the check to pay the media managers of press boys or girls? Our apologies folks! We are referring to media managers and journalists. No offense to colleagues doing all they can to present the news fresh and alive to the population.

We sought forced retirement within the context of "A Patriot's Diary" as a result of 'self-styled' censorship because, as in the wisdom of the media managers, our thoughts were subjective. Yes, a politically charged season was at hand. Although knowingly so-called independent media establishments are not considered partisan - at least in theory, but we were seen as bias when our analyses were interpreted as somewhat overly critical of the lawlessness some political parties were engaged in. But elections will come and go while the people who make the decision to empower the elected will continue to carry on with their lives.

Certainly, whatever the heartburn about the position we took; the trend of our arguments expiated; the relationship between personal sentiments and objective rationalization of issues as well as the interpretations vis-a-viz contextualization of various subjects involved - it has always been about ensuring the common good of the country and its people. If a particular political party wants to lead this country, which of course is the basis of its foundation, it is obliged to set the kinds of examples that demonstrate that it is better prepared and well-placed to govern our country.

Governance is not a child's play folks and we must accept it as a living testimony. Mind you, outside of power, the politicians claim to have great ideas and dream all manner of dreams. But once caught in the mainstream of the tentacles of power or authority - they present one but similar confession - "We honestly underestimated the magnitude of running a country". We hear all of these when it is time to deliver and the deliverables are not forthcoming. Those theories that earlier sounded attainable outside of political authority have now become intriguing. The people are now asked to understand that their government is doing everything humanly possible to address this or that challenge. The people are also called on to tighten their belts in order to make the necessary sacrifices for the nation. Contrarily, they soon forget those incredible tales told on the various political platforms that were mounted.

The reconsideration of our humble action was driven by humility, candor and our firm commitment to place country before self. Folks, the expectations of the good people of this country remain high and there is no time for pussy-footing in dealing with the challenges before us. We will take on the government elected by the people of this country to be accountable to the governed. Managing ingeniously and strategically the expectations of the citizenry remains critical to implanting a legacy worth emulating. If the change we preached yesterday must truly become achievable, we must resort to deeds now ignore words forever.

When roads must be built - it is important that our engineers get to work to give us their utmost best. We are not talking about the A.B. Tolbert road scenario or the disgraceful Jallah Town Road projects presided over by former Minister Abe Donzo. Huh! In the end, it took the Chinese to rescue the day. Donzo did not put the interest of this country first as was indicative of the poor quality work done. He betrayed the public trust openly mismanaging project started by a staggering budget at the time.

Yes, in broad daylight hundreds of bags of cement disappeared as site managers turned blind eyes. The Ministry of Public Works will be in the news in the coming days and the folks there will be under the microscope as the good people of this country will not settle for anything short of quality. Quality? Well, that is the assurances we have got from Minister Woods thus far. But we have heard long speeches in the past. The Minister has promised and we will watch the clock ticking.

Hmm! We followed a lineup of roads that will be prioritized during the dry season but no mention was made of Police Academy road. Supposedly, someone thinks it is not a priority because it does not link to anywhere. Then where will the Clara Town road already considered link. The National Police Training Academy is headquartered along this road, where Secretary State Hilary Clinton, Angela Merkel and a host of other world leaders have used to assess projects undertaken by their respective government. After a massive show of political solidarity last year in the heat of campaigning, President Sirleaf ordered the Chinese to fix the road and we must commend the effort. Notwithstanding, we think Public Works needs to shine its eyes well, well for heaven's sake.

The Ministry of Health has a lot on its plate but poor public relations remains its Achilles' Heels. The plight of medical personnel continues to be in the news for all the grotesque reasons. Amid the huge donor-driven support to that Ministry, doesn't it make sense for the Minister of one of his deputies to show up at one of MICAT's weekly press briefings? Folks, why should it take the president to intervene when students of the Tubman National Institute for Medical Arts (TNIMA) hah concerns that needed to be addressed? Does it suggest that the Minister is working? We think the president has a lot on her menu and these kinds of distractions are just unnecessary. Our public offices are not intended for "lazy people". Poorly packaged radio jingles aired around here and advertiser's supplements published in newspapers mean absolutely nothing. Let the good people of this country know the status of our major referral hospitals in the country in terms of availability of qualified doctors, nurses and the state of such facilities.

Arguably, the justified cum radical return of "A Patriot's Diary" will resonate outspokenly critical analysis, advance patriotism and the quest to place country before self. If we must join the bandwagon to "Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way" - our contributions will surely litmus test where we stand - fellow countrymen and women. For struggle will also be to resist any attempt aimed at self-censorship. So help us Lord...

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