By Julius T. Jaesen, II
Over last weekend, speaking at the Movement for Intellectual Exchange in Clara Town, Atty. Phil Tarpeh Dixon urged the CDC government to stop saying that they are fighting to reclaim Montserrado County from Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the opposition CPP, but should instead run after the people by focusing their energy on fixing the economy to provide a decent livelihood for the citizenry.
According to the World Bank reports released July 30, 2020, the people living below the national poverty line in Liberia has dramatically increased from 55.5 per cent in 2019 to 68.9 per cent in 2020 and is even expected to rise further due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy. The reports also said additional 526,000 Liberians sit at risk of falling into poverty, and that economic growth could further slowdown if government’s policy response is delayed and not well targeted or if the external environment doesn’t improve significantly this year.
But notwithstanding, with all these early warnings coming from Liberians and international financial institutions, the government of Liberia through its economic management team headed by a loudmouth and loose talker in Samuel Tweah seems not to be bothered or disturbed by these troubling reports and the rising poverty in the country. All that Liberians are hearing from the CDC and its government is that “We are prepared to reclaim Montserrado from the opposition.” “Darius Dillon is a vacation Senator”. “He will be the shortest-serving Senator or lawmaker in Liberian history”, among many other things.
But speaking to residents of a densely populated slum community of Clara Town, a stone throw away from Gibraltar where Ambassador Weah grew up, Atty. Phil Dixon blasted the CDC for such statement.
“It’s not just important that I run for this office but it is also important that I win for several reasons. You see, there is a statement that is being said over and over. And as much as I love my movement and still a part of the movement, I must point out that the statement is in error. There is a statement that says the CDC is trying to reclaim Montserrado. That statement is wrong! What happens is, there is a Transitive Property of real numbers that can be applied to politics. What has happened is not that the CDC belongs to Montserrado County but Montserrado County belongs to the people and the people belong to the CDC. What we need to be doing is not to run after Montserrado County but instead running after the people. When the people come to us, Montserrado County will logically follow just as the expression goes, if A=B and B=C therefore, A logically equals C”, Atty. Phil asserted.
Meanwhile, Atty. Phil cautioned residents of Clara Town that when a politician tells you about ‘government of the people’, you should not just clap but rather ask him on whether it’s your people or my people. According to him, when CDC postulated the mantra, “Power to the People, Yes We Must”, it was not intended for few groups of people in their movement to provide unprecedented opportunities to their family members and cronies at the expense of the country and the CDC.
“When we say power to the people, yes we must! There was no attempt to count the number of these people, and you also didn’t ask how many people. Am I lying? But today, it becomes a question of definition which people. And I must say to you in my mind when we say power to the people, we meant the people who struggled to bring power to the party. And I’m saying, when you consider these people, there is a difference between those who sacrificed to bring power and those who benefited along the path to power. There is a difference also between those who benefited along the path to power and those who managed to become stole-away or stole-ways in the political process after we have entered power. So at this moment as we have managed to settle into power after three years, there is a divergence now. We are seeing those who benefited along the path to power, those who are stole-ways and have entered the place to power in some instances looking down on those who sacrificed along on the path to power,” Atty. Phil stressed.
Yet, many political pundits including diehard Cdceans believe that the CDC government has betrayed its foundational mantra upon which the party was borne and has embarrassingly frustrated market women and youth who printed their own t-shirts and walked distances – sacrificing to bring Weah and the CDC to the helm of power. Many Cdceans today feel hurt and discouraged in the party they put their all in to bring to power. No wonder why they in their throng voted for Abe Darius Dillon who could not finish 5th place when he contested on the Liberty Party ticket in 2009 against the CDC’s candidate, the late Geraldine Doe-Sheriff in Montserrado. In the 2009 by-election created as a result of the death of Hannah Bryant of the CDC, there were ten candidates that contested, of which, Senator Dillon was a part. But unfortunately, during the said election, Dillon sorrowfully obtained a little over 6,000 votes in Montserrado County finishing six places amongst the ten contenders. CDC repeatedly won Montserrado throughout her days in the opposition but grappling to take hold of the county today. This many pundits and Cdceans believe is tied to miserable governance failure and careless betrayal of the aspirations of those diehard partisans who struggled whether rain or shine, to bring the party to power.
Today, many Cdceans are seeing strangers like Bill Twehway who resigned from CDC in 2011 with over 300 hundreds partisans, Diana Nebo, Eugene Nagbe, Gbazohngar Milton Findley, Saifuah Mai Gray, and many other family members to George Weah, Samuel Tweh and Nathaniel McGill are benefiting from their sweat, sacrifice and earnest labour.
But speaking to scores of young people in Clara Town, Atty. Phil Dixon warned that Liberia will make no move forward by continuing to circle power and opportunities around a few persons. According to him, this was the reason why our forefathers put their lives on the line during the rice riot. He also lamented that this was why our mothers danced whether rightly or wrongly on April 12, 1980, and it was the reason why people had questions on December 24, 1989.
Atty. Phil noted that they must not afford to create a superclass of persons who are tied to the entitlement of good things. He further urged that good things must spread across instead of select few benefiting while the bulk of the people languish in despair and deprivation.
“When they come to you and talk to you about party discipline, ask again whose people, your people or my people? And ask again how is it that Phil Tarpeh Dixon is not one of your people? After all he went through. After all he means to us or we mean to him as well. How is he not your own as well? Because you see, there are many different ways to embrace the truth and I urge you not to allow the “Patient CDC” to get sick simply because the medicine is bitter. Voting for me as an independent candidate is going to be bitter medicine for the sickness of poor consultation within our movement, CDC. But I tell you if poor consultation is happening today and nothing is happening; you’ll get no consultations in 2023 because life in and of itself is built up in growth. Who told you no consultation will remain stagnant? It’s going to grow into something that you’ll not be able to stormy. But you know why? Then you’ll be told you are undermining the “Chief”. You know the chief is running too, so anything you do now it will reduce the chief’s chances. And you’ll be a constraint to be quiet. Don’t clap when there is sore in your hands or blister! Simply because you chose to be silent now”, Atty. Phil eloquently accentuated to the huge crowd of young people who bowed in strong agreement.
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