We Need Equal Sacrifice: Liberty Party USA Chairman Challenge Supporters after Observing Successful Convention in Lofa.
Philip B. Suah, jr.
Chairman, Liberty Party USA
During military crisis in America, the phrase “freedom isn’t free” is often mentioned because men and women in times past have sacrificed their lives in defense of America and its ideals. Proponents of this phrase recognize that all good things come by the hard work, commitment and sacrifice of people dedicated to common goals. During my recent visit to Liberia to participate in the just ended Liberty Party Convention in Lofa County, I realized that Liberty Partisans and Liberians need to recognize that freedom is indeed not free and that transformative political change in not cheap.
I congratulate National Chairman Fonati Koffa, Political Leader Charles Brumskine, former Political Leader Franklin Siakor, the National Executive Committee and the Legislative Caucus of Liberty Party for the tremendous sacrifices made to realize a very impressive and successful convention in Lofa. LPUSA applaud their efforts as we stand up to the financial commitments needed to bring relief to Liberians.
Liberians are often extremely critical of politicians and political parties, albeit for very good reasons, but our critiques have always been from a distance. We often throw stones at the proverbial “glass house” without getting close enough to understand the challenges of operating and living in the glass house. Similarly, advocates for change are often good at critiquing party leadership, their actions and inactions, but very few get involved in understanding the challenges of running a political institution and even fewer get involved in finding solutions for those problems.
While Liberty Party have benefited from everyone’s critiques (as it makes us better), I believe our partisans, well-wishers, and admirers should know that there is a huge financial burden implementing ideas they suggest. And it is prudent that such critique be accompanied by active engagement, financially and philosophically.
I often hear the questions, “what is Liberty Party doing now for Liberians or what tangible things have the party delivered to Liberians?” Why isn’t the party building institutions in the 15 counties and 73 electoral districts? These are all valid questions; however, it takes resources from each one to deliver all those tangible things a party (or any institution) can deliver to our people. And Liberty Party has done so.
During the Ebola crisis alone, Liberty Party halted all political operations and gave US$5,000 to Samaritan’s Purse and Liberian Red Cross, LD$100,000 each to six impacted counties, as well as thousands of Liberian and US dollars worth of rice and relief supplies to impacted communities. Although the work of an opposition party is not to develop the country, as it is the responsibility of a sitting government with a national budget, Liberty Party has chosen to go above the call of duty and lend itself to solutions for Liberians. But this must be a collaborative effort from everyone as the costs are high.
For example, to open an office in all counties require the cost of real estate, payroll for salaries, logistics and transportation, among many other costs. These cannot be accomplished by critiques alone, it takes finances and other resources which should come from Liberty Partisans and well-wishers. During the convention in Lofa, the party spent tens of thousands of United States Dollars to transport, feed, and lodge delegates and guests from Tuesday June 23 through Sunday June 28.
The cost alone to rent a four wheel drive from Monrovia to Lofa runs between US$150-$200 per day, not to mention the price of fuel. When compounded for all the delegates, guests and party officials, it can be astronomical. While everyone was glad for the significant turnout in Lofa, very few people recognized that such success comes at a high price. A few partisans had to dig deep, sometimes sacrificially at the expense of their personal and family needs, to facilitate such success.
Even in these United States, political parties receive funding from their supporters and partisans. And this is a country where political parties are not asked to build roads, drinking water wells, pit latrines or develop communities; where political leaders are not expected to carry bags of rice or money to help poverty stricken communities as a gesture that shows what they will do when elected.
If political parties in America need partisan support to function and win elections, how much more does a party like Liberty Party need support from its partisans. Yes it is true we cannot all contribute the same amounts, and yes it is true that those who intend to run for office should take the lead, but it is time we recognize the need for equal sacrifice, not equal amounts.
No matter the amount of that sacrifice, each person needs to make a financial contribution to the party so that our leaders can have resources to help our people. It is unfair to leave such tremendous financial responsibility to a handful of people who, like everyone else, have obligations to their families; yet continue to raise expectations when those people are already expending their limited resources sacrificially.
I therefore call on all partisans, supporters, affiliates, and admirers of Liberty Party USA (and Liberty Party) to actively share the financial burden of transforming the party by making monthly contributions to facilitate implementation of projects that benefit our people. In this way, the party can continue the long list of humanitarian work it has managed to accomplish with the limited resources of a few.
We call on Liberians everywhere to actively support the growing democracy in Liberia knowing that a support for Liberty Party is a support that delivers value to the average Liberian.