By Alexander P. Gongloe (May 05th 2005)
"... Cllr. Sherman, in the interest of the original idea of the formation of the Party and knowing that you cannot in way win elections in our dear country, could you please relinquish your ambition to the standard-bearership and let a real party faithful claim it...."
In the next few days, Jackson Doe’s rooster (LAP) will be going to convention and it seems that one of the biggest mistakes of our lifetime will be made. And I am sure that Jackson Doe will shake in his grave, if he even has one, as a protest to the action of those who will be at LAP’s May 13 & 14, 2005 conventions.
The agenda for convention, amongst other things, read that there are two important orders of business: addressing some constitutional issues and electing national officers and the standard-bearer. As for the constitutional issues being addressed, there is isn’t much to lose because we can always amend the constitution if we find out that we erred when we adopted certain things. But with the electing of national officers and the standard-bearer, we have to be careful because we can do it only once.
When Jackson Doe and other founding members of the Liberian Action Party gathered to coin their ideas of how government should be run, they were very careful and thoughtful in their judgment. They knew then that to make one your torchbearer, you had to consider a lot of things other than mere money and, an Oxford or Harvard degree. When a party decides to choose a standard-bearer, it has to consider a lot more than just friendship and connection. The interest of the Liberian people will have to be at the foundation of any such decision and those who are delegated to make this decision will have to be sober and reflective of the aspirations of the common people and the founding fathers of LAP.
I am sure that there were more people in LAP at the time, that had more money and better degree[s] than Jackson Doe but, the 1st National Convention delegates where closer to the spirit of LAP than it seems today. They knew then that it was Jackson Doe who, at that moment, could speak to the people and address their problems. Even though at the time Samuel Doe and NDPL believed that Jackson was too ugly to become President. It was not about beauty, as Jackson Doe told them; “if we were running a queen contest, I would send my daughter to contest”. So you see, now it should not be about money. It should be about a guiding principle that keeps us together as a people and honors the aspirations of our founding fathers and mothers- some of whom have passed on.
It is troubling to see that the rooster can no longer crow with the kind of force and power it had in its larynx just a few years ago. This kind of manipulation and politicking in the LAP is worrisome at best. We have seen a new breed of leaders emerge in the Liberian Action Party that will do everything to stick onto power because they believe that they control the economic base of the Party. In 1997, we saw that there were high levels manipulations that left the Party steward, Ellen Johnson, out in the cold. This caused Ellen to abandon the Party of her dreams and buy another party just to further her political ambition. The New LAP is one that is run by personal ego and anyone can now see why Cllr Emmanuel Koromah decided to stay out of the party convention in 1997, even though he’d worked closely with Cllr. Varney Sherman (Sherman & Sherman Law Office), who by the way, was a major supporter of Cletus Wotorson and an architect of the plan to leave Ellen in the cold by conducting convention sooner than expected.
The same kind of attitude is now been exhibited as we move closer to the 2005 National Convention slated for May 13 & 14 at the Unity Conference center. To date, everything about the Party is Varney Sherman. We have seen that every car that bears the Party logo belongs to Varney Sherman. And for a long time now, everyone has been made to believe that Cllr. Sherman is the Party’s choice for the standard-bearership even though he has very little support amongst the broad base of partisans. Since Cllr. Sherman announced that he was running for President on March 15, 2004 , everything about the Party has been Sherman and we all know that Sherman is not like Jackson Doe. Sherman lacks any real connection with the people in whose interest the party was organized.
I know that Cllr. Sherman has spent a lot of money on the Liberian Action Party but I don’t think that gives him the exclusive right to the standard-bearership. I also know that with the amount of money that Cllr. Sherman has pumped into this undertaking, Mrs. Brown (Party Chairman) and other party executives are willing to do everything to present the standard-bearership of the noble institution to Cllr Sherman on a silver platter. They will be the ones to select delegates and control the elections and so they will eventually decide the election – but, woe onto them. This will be the biggest mistake in our Party history, to sell the standard-bearership to someone who doesn’t represent the aspirations of the Party and who cannot win elections. This man, in pursuit of wealth has hurt a lot of people on his way. This man has advocated for powerful interests against the common good of the ordinary man. I don’t think it will be a good idea to make him the face of our organization.
Cllr. Sherman, in the interest of the original idea of the formation of the Party and knowing that you cannot in way win elections in our dear country, could you please relinquish your ambition to the standard-bearership and let a real party faithful claim it. If we were operating under the predisposition that these conventions would be fair and devoid of financial influences, I would not be making this plea but I know that you intend to use your wealth to influence the Party. You have already been boasting that you made Gyude Bryant and Cletus Wotorson and as such, in your book, it is now your time. I visited a friend in Minnesota lately and saw how much money you are spending behind printing party materials; it would be difficult to think that you will not be the flag-bearer of this party. For several years this party operated out of the living room of Bryant until you decided that you were ready to announce that you were running for the Presidency, thus renting that office on Buchanan Street for the Party. All of these things are good but to use them as a means to political power even though you have no political appeal with the masses is a sad, sad day for the Rooster.
My warning to those who are being granted delegate status to this historic convention is that do your best not to be influenced by money. Make the choice that Jackson Doe would have otherwise made. Don’t make our founding father ashamed. Defend him and speak the independence of your mind. Speak like you did even when Samuel Doe was after you and act in a way that will prove that Jackson Doe and other Party faithful did not die in vain.
About the author:
A. P. Gongloe is a member of the CGLCW and can be reached at AlexGongloe@yahoo.com