Liberia: Senatorial Candidate Blames Underperformance On Personalizing Development

A senatorial candidate contesting among others for the seat in Lofa has pinpointed personalization of development as the key factor that causes many elected lawmakers to fail their people.

Brownie J. Samukai, one of eight candidates, including two females and incumbent George Tengbeh, who are contesting the Lofa County seat, told an online media platform that lawmakers are not to own development or promise that they will implement development projects, but there to exercising leadership that collectively they can foster the development agenda of a county by drawing the attention of the government headed by the Executive Branch.

"Most of our Senators and Representatives fail to meet the expectations of the electorates because they want to personalize the resources meant for the county to make them be seen as doing what the national leadership should do. The money is not theirs and they are not the ones providing it. What they should be doing is to exercise the leadership to present the plight of their counties and districts to the national government for allotments of resources and not to personalize national resources to show the electorates that they are building schools, clinics, roads and so forth," said Samulkai.

Mr. Samukai served as Defense Minister in the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration for 12 years without suspension or any form of chastisement. However his departure from the Defense Ministry was embraced by a lawsuit from the George Weah Administration for alleged economic sabotage, misapplication of the entrusted fund and other charges emerging from how he handled the pension money for members of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

He was found guilty at Criminal Court 'C' and asked to restitute the misapplied money. Not satisfied with the verdict, Mr. Samukai took an appeal to the Supreme Court where the case is pending for final adjudication on the day the court will set.

While waiting for the day of adjudication, Mr. Samukai who is contesting on the ticket of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) is giving out his vision and aspirations for the Senate, and he has nothing more in his platform than "Exercising leadership" so that he and the rest of members of the Lofa Legislative Caucus will collaborate to draw national government's attention to the needs of the county.

"It is the collective efforts of members of the caucus that will address the development agenda of the county and even Liberia as a country. No one Senator or Representative can personalize development to succeed," he noted.

"For the six and nine years Representatives and Senators are there for, they should not be doing things for reelection but should work to show the best that is meant for the people, and by what the people will evaluate them, they can be reelected or rejected. The only way to reelection is doing the right thing and telling the people the truth," he added.

Per his platform, Samukai said leadership is the driving force to development and not self-glorification to take credit for national development.

Concerning the call for more women representation in the Legislature, the CPP candidate said those two women in the race are already in positions that they can use to show the relevance of female leadership and not just the Senate that they are seeking.

"The issue with the women contesting in Lofa is no longer gender issue. They are already in positions and at the level of the Legislature. Why can't they exercise leadership in the positions they are to show the relevance of female leadership?"

On the issue of violence, Samukai registered his disdain for violence especially in election, but also emphasized that while violence is not acceptable, those in power should not provoke violence.

"While it is true violence is not good, those in power too should not provoke violence. So, to avoid violence, the election must be free, fair, and transparent so that ideas will prevail and not leaders to provoke violence.

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