Philadelphia, PA 1/27/11: The Political Action Committee (PACO) of United People’s Party (UPP) wishes to express its opposition to the declaration made on the 28th of December 2010 by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (ADP) in Liberia. In that declaration, the Alliance stated it will not contest the presidency during the October, 2011, presidential election but will, instead support the second term bid of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. PACO categorically rejects this action and views it as out of character and unacceptable for the Alliance to issue such declaration without the benefit of a mandate from each Party’s Congress or due consultation with the rank and file of its membership.
PACO’s decision to stand against the ADP action is grounded in the following observations:
1. Since its founding, United People’s Party (UPP) has fought for the creation of multi-party democracy in Liberia and the existence of a healthy opposition is a benchmark of such enterprise. Consequently, the prospect of Liberia returning to a de facto one party state with an imperial presidency is both troubling and unacceptable. This observation is demonstrated by the willingness of the Alliance to fold its own tent and join the daily parade of opposition politicians jumping ship to the Unity Party in what appears to be nothing more than casual political prostitution and a clever attempt by the ruling party to become and remain the only serious political player in town.
2. Mrs. Sirleaf, who ran on an anti-corruption platform five years ago, now presides over a government that has shamefully been labeled “the most corrupt in the world.” The reckless abandon with which Mrs. Sirleaf and her cronies are looting the national coffers and mortgaging Liberia’s natural resources in an attempt to recoup their investments in the 14 year Liberian civil war is striking and breathtaking.
3. Mrs. Sirleaf who was elected as President of the Republic of Liberia; and, therefore President of all Liberians, has, through her policies and actions escalated the ethnic or sectionalist divide in our country. Her economic policies have also widened the gap between the haves and the haves not thereby undermining the already fragile unity amongst Liberian and igniting class warfare.
4. Mrs. Sirleaf, the principal architect and one of the major financiers of the 14 year civil war in Liberia, has blatantly refused to allow her Administration to fairly treat the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and to honor the Commission’s recommendations thereby arrogantly displaying her disdain for the healing and reconciliation process in Liberia.
5. Abject poverty remains the order of the day after billions of dollars have been poured into the country since President Sirleaf took over the helms of government in 2005. Mass misery, pain and suffering have become the lot of the poor while only a powerful few continues to enrich themselves and flaunt their wealth. Mrs. Sirleaf seems perfectly content with unemployment as high as 85% - the second highest in the world behind the nation of Nauru, and a whopping 68% of the Liberians living below the poverty line.
6. The fact is that after almost six years of the Sirleaf Administration, the government remains incapable of providing such basic services as electricity, water and transportation.
The entire aforementioned are reasons while PACO strongly believes that Mrs. Sirleaf and her party do not deserve our support and a second term for the presidency of Liberia. The record of her performance so far is one that is characterized by massive corruption, incompetence, blatant disregard for the suffering of the majority of Liberians, the promotion of elitism and the desire to return Liberia to a one party oligarchy. We in PACO therefore urge our fellow Liberians to see Mrs. Sirleaf and the Unity Party for what they truly are, and to send her on the unemployment line in 2011.
In the cause of the people, the struggle continues!
Isaac T. Settro, Jr.