“For to every person who has something, even more will be given….” Surely when Jesus Christ concluded his parable of the three servants, his thoughts were deeply rooted in what impact this parable would have on leadership; political, social, religious, and managerial. This statement sets the managerial basis for trust and the capacity to handle the business of the people including the people of Liberia. The Quest to Win therefore started in 2006 when the talents were divided among the politicians including the sitting President, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Six years on, each politician the president included are being ask, “What have you done with my talent?” and all that we hear is excuses. Major among the many excuses is the fact that “they were not at the helm of state power.” So right now the best way each politician would have reinvested and transformed their master’s talent which in this case is Liberia, is if they were elected president in 2005. If the parable is anything to go by in the General and Presidential Elections than the ruling Unity Party (UP) stands a better chance. Though many Liberians including her opponent in the elections speak less of the progress made by the President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led government, the visible evidence of how best she has invested her talent in these last five years made her a possible candidate to whom the master will say “well done you good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in managing small amounts, I will put you in charge of large amount.” Herein the Quest to Win is justified from the Unity Party’s point of view.
The Quest to Win which the UP has justifiably demonstrated through actions and deeds raise several issues that the other politicians can use in making their case. For example, there is no way any of the politicians would have undertaken any kind of infrastructure development of any proportion without having the finances and contacts with the international community. Moreover, some of these interactions require state approval and it is not likely that the UP led government would have approved the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) bid to construct a major road network by accessing funds through it international connections. That is what I think, but Seeing it Differently, most of the political parties did not help to improve lives in their “little corners”, but spent significant portion of their time criticizing the government.
The Liberty Party’s Standard Bearer is on record for saying that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is not a “reconciler.” Yet there is no evidence of a reconciliation workshop(s) hosted by the Liberty Party either for its members or some Liberians in any of the would-be conflict prone community of the country. At least the corruption noise that was trumpeted by the Liberty Party’s Chairman is quiet now because of his involvement in a 2 million dollars scandal and subsequent incarceration. At the level of the Liberty Party, the Quest to Win is to discuss the failure of the government which the party was not in any way ready to fix. The provision of checks and balances on the government is not wrong, but depending on the same government to heal itself is more of a disservice to the people you represents. So like the servant, the master will take from the Liberty Party that which it has; the critical mind, and give same to one who has justified the Quest to Win. In this case the servant is the Unity Party.
As if this is not time wasting enough, several parties spent the latter part of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration mastering the art of criticizing her government, forming mergers, and coalitions. One of such coalition, the National Democratic Coalition’s (NDC) Standard Bearer, Dew Tuan-Wleh Mason accepted the party’s nomination with this declaration; “I am willing and able to lead our campaign to victory so that our people will be lifted out of the poverty-stricken conditions with which they are saddled.” That was since July 2011 and many of us especially Liberians know that those who participated in the convention that nominated Dew Tuan-Wleh Mason are now speaking from other parties including the Unity Party. The promise to “lift our people out of the poverty-stricken conditions” beckons one important question. What has the professor done for the people outside of the normal and persistence criticisms that he and his likes rendered the government? Surely there will be several answers from him and his supporters. Answers like, “I have given scholarships to needed students” which is all that we heard from most of the legislative candidates who participated in the debate on the Truth FM Radio.
That brings me to my next point of concern; the legislative elections. In his article, “My Senator, your Senator, our Senator”, K. Abudullai Kamara, provided this statistics; 99 persons contesting the 15 senate seats across Liberia. Ten of these contestants are women including two incumbents. Each of these individuals has their personal Quest to Win which has been stated in different form and style. As stated earlier, all of them have provided some kind of services to their people and constituencies. Seeing it Differently, I think we need to give those who justified their Quest to Win, the chance to lead us into the next six years. For example and according to Kamara, “the Bomi County incumbent contestant Richard Devine of the Unity Party (UP) comes with the controversial and generally incomplete caseload from the transitional government. His former party's alliance with the ruling UP has effectively taken him off the hook. The main challengers, Sando Johnson of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) comes with the notoriety of challenging and insulting the former Archbishop of Monrovia, during the reign of the NPP 1997 -2003. The decision to elect these people depends largely on what they bring to the table; The Quest to Win. What have they done not necessarily what they will do?
The Quest to Win is impregnated with several livelihood options that will benefit the Liberian people after October 11, 2011. For many politicians, especially the presidential candidates, the major quest is to explain to the Liberian people what President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf did not do rather than what they themselves have done in the past six years. I stand with some of them surely. Their distance from home did not allow them to see what the reality of living in Liberia was prior to this election. Practically, for some of them, the Liberian Presidency is a game of chance; get in, if you win that is it.
From where I sit, the Quest to Win is a baggage that that each of them needed to off load with the six years prior to the General and Presidential Elections. The baggage includes how well each of them responded to international, national, and local issues that affected and shaped the lives of every Liberian. Seeing it Differently, I think the 16 presidential candidates did not do well except for the incumbent. I don’t need to say what she has done; neither will I say what she did not do because the media landscape is filled with her failure rather than her than her success story. As the gap between “the day” shrinks, the decision of the voters will depend on how well they benefited from what was and is contained the candidates’ baggage; The Quest to Win.