- Published on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 07:31
- Written by Dr. Amos M.D.Sirleaf (Ph.d.) Professor-African-Liberian Studies And Research Department, CU
The Great Ambivalence To The Proposed Vision 2030
Are the concepts of “The Vision 2030” implying, transferring Liberia's political, social, cultural, and economic development to the next generation? If this hypothesis is correct, then, who are considered the next generation? What are the base foundations for the “Vision 2030”? What are the positive templates for the “Vision 2030”?
Responding to these research questions requires a historic revisionist analysis of Liberian political development, because the absence of the above analysis, will result to the understanding of the so-called Vision 2030 to be the depiction and dictation of the neo-classical paradigms of the past. This, of course, will serve as a clear manifestation of the proposed “Vision 2030”, without constructive reasonable principles of moral persuasion and concerted public intellectual, and consensus argument as a civil education. This, of course, will once again re-incarnate the touted “Vision 2030” as the new magic bullet that will pierce through the amour of decades of Liberia's developmental failures.
It is safe to lament that the pursuit of any indigenous hegemonies in post-conflict Liberia must be specifically defined. The so-called “Vision 2030” appears to be an anticipated hegemony. It is essential to articulate that the “Vision 2030” slogans, and others in the past, permeating the fabrics of the Liberian society; like the 1984 draft constitution, the TRC, and the present Governing Commission of old ideas, appear to be an instrument of highly concentrated political and social distractions. The on-going reminiscence of failed political promises of the past, with specific emphasis on the periods from 1980-2003, and post -2011 Presidential leadership, has repeatedly failed to articulate a clear, constructive and concrete national development vision and from visionaries outside the Liberian political traditions . Also, the absolute fears of post-2011 political leadership to integrate transformational innovative Liberian intelligentsias from outside coming in, shows no comparative differences from the past Liberian political traditions of “Who knows you-but not what you know”. Therefore, I conjecture that the proposed “Vision 2030”, is simply an attempt to transfer to the next generation the task of national development that the current re-circled and replicated “old-boy's network” generation of leadership has failed to do.
It must be emphatic to explicate that when ignorance is a cure for nothing, then nothing becomes a cure for ignorance. It is hence fore, imperative to mention that the elevator to inclusivity in the Liberian political structure is still stuck in the basement lobby of 21st century Liberian democracy. The architects of the so-called “Vision 2030”, some of those chosen to drive and sell this vision, including some in the current Liberian government, were the same people who through their writings and advocacies exposed the so-called discriminatory and corrupt policies of the William R. Tolbert government that led to 1980 coup. Their persuasive endeavors and radical transformational advocacies incited many Liberians including the writer, to resist corruption and oppression during the Samuel K. Doe government and justified to the Liberian people and the world that violence, indeed, against the Doe government was the only alternative.
And with their blessings of Charles Taylor's unleashing of volleys of criminal and terrorist activities that brought death and destruction to our people and country, driving our people to the stage of destitution, one can only deduce that the so-called “Vision 2030” is a fallacy of relevance. Because many of our people are saying that Liberians were better off economically during the Tolbert- Doe- regimes and with others loudly emphasizing that even the Taylor regime was better than the current regime in terms of price of rice and economic activities. It must be emphasized that the mixed blessing of peace, the shifted priorities, and the acceptance of superficial democracy in fragile Liberia are reasonable, probable causes for questioning post-2011 presidential leadership in the context of the proposed so-called “Vision 2030.” If my assumptions are accurate on the ideas of the 2030 vision, which in reality, is the transferring of Liberia's developmental responsibilities into the hands of the next generation of leadership, then I wish to suggest that the promising young people of Liberia whom I indeed consider current generation of future leaders, must be the absolute architects, framers, and strength in writing down ideas for the “Vision 2030.”
I am cognizant of the infamous Poverty Reduction Strategy, or PRS, which was declared successful by President Sirleaf, saying that the “PRS is impacting the lives of ordinary Liberians” in reducing poverty and addressing other critical issues in the Liberian society- a claim that seems to be contradicting the realities. Another unforgettable instance is the policy of the 150-Day Action Plan, released last February, which validates the failures of the PRS, because 150-Day Action Plan is the replica of the same ideas that were declared successful in the PRS. It must be mentioned that putting together, a “Vision 2030”, is an embedded leadership responsibility, inherently so as a proof that the leadership knows what it is doing when there is a constructive and comprehensive base foundation. Before and after taking the oath of office, President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf government, and many of those that are now with her have failed to lay down a vision as to how the Sirleaf government would guide Liberia's post- conflict reconstruction to ensure not only Liberia's rapid development, but also how those vices that were used by President Sirleaf and others to justify violence against the Doe regime will not be repeated.
She, rather than laying down a brand new realistic vision for post-conflict Liberia, a civil conflict -weary nation, began to govern as if Liberia never went to war. Instead of a clear-cut vision rooted and guided by her own criticisms of past governments, she only unleashed promises after promises that she had no intention of fulfilling all. While some sprinkles of new faces were seen in the first year of the Sirleaf government, however, for the most part, President Sirleaf keep appointing old faces from the past that were in the driver's seat during the past regimes under which the creation of wealth, equitable distribution of benefits from Liberia's natural resources were rare commodities.
“Vision 2030” faces an uphill battle to attract the confidence of the Liberian people in the face of their ongoing struggle to get ends meet each day. Meanwhile, “Vision 2030”, in its attempt to make the Liberian people to look to the future, it will present an opportunity during its discussion to finally indict the Sirleaf government as a “failed government”. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the “Vision 2030” without looking at the present Liberians' situations. By the time Madam Sirleaf leaves office, she, her family members, friends, government officials will be in the position to leave their children or grand- children hundreds of thousands or multi-million dollars of inheritance, while nearly 98% of the Liberian people will have nothing to leave their children or grand- children. After nearly 35 years of leaderless activism, rampant corruption, along with 14 years of senseless war, during which many Liberians lost their worldly possessions, it will be fooled-hearted to think “Vision 2030” holds any relevancy for the future. What is now on the minds of the people is the question “what has the Sirleaf government done for them lately.” Forget the future.
“Vision 2030”, despite the attempts by its supporters to compel Liberians to swallow their present- day worries and look to the future, may hold some spice or flavor of concession from the Sirleaf government that it lacks the will and capacity to develop the country, reconcile the people and address those other issues the people care about. The timing of “Vision 2030” is a move to keep the people fixated on this supposedly wonderful vision and ignore whatsoever Madam Sirleaf does in the next five years of her second administration. Expect the Sirleaf government officials to use the “Vision 2030” as an effective public relation tool to quell any criticism on the Sirleaf government for its failures. Instead of responding harshly to criticisms like many of these government officials have done in the past, they will simply concede and refer all their critics to “Vision 2030” by saying their criticisms are being addressed in the “Vision 2030” document. In essence, the 2030 Vision will become a defensive shield to protect the Sirleaf government from further criticisms as it continues its anti-people, anti-development policies….
In addition, many of the ideas that will be part of the 2030 Vision hold great potentials of being irrelevant by the year 2030. Here are the reasons. Many of the ideas that will make up the 2030 Vision may not benefit Liberians now and may not benefit Liberians in the future. Because by the time Madam Sirleaf leaves office, not only that she, her family members, friends and government officials will be wealthy or rich individuals, all major components of the Liberian economy will be in the hands of foreigners who will not give a damn about what the ideas in the “Vision 2030” document. Madam Sirleaf and many of her closer associates will become so rich that they will be able to live in any part of the world, escaping the negative impact of foreign control of the Liberian economy. This is why this so-called 2030 Vision is just a smoke screen being puffed over the Liberian nation and by the time the smoke disappears, the Liberian people's fate will be in the hands of foreigners. My fellow Liberians, this is very important; we urge all Liberians to view the “Vision 2030” with deep suspicion, like a Trojan horse, and massively participate in every forum in which it will be discussed. Don't stay away. This could be what the doctor orders for us to take our country back and place it in the hands of proper leadership.
We must insist that Madam Sirleaf and her government fix our roads, electrify our country, rebuild our institutions, stop the economic strangulation of their so-called enemies and seriously prosecute her officials in and out the of government for corruption. These are responsibilities that must be addressed now, not left for the next generation. Importantly, the Sirleaf government must take steps to protect the Liberian economy by preserving it for Liberians, not foreigners. It will be un-forgiven if Liberians were to lose control of their economy to foreigners - a move that could create a destabilizing effect on the future of our country. The protection of the Liberian economy and natural resources should not be a promise to be listed in the 2030 Vision, but an action that is needed now. Madam Sirleaf and her government should pave the way for Liberia's continuing development, not make promises to Liberians for a better future through the so-called “Vision 2030” when she and others will be long dead and gone.