I was inundated by e-mails and phone calls after my short article appeared on Theperspective.org website about the campaign in Minnesota for the leadership of the Liberian organization. I was asked why I got involved in these "small local" politics. Some people asked why I did not speak of other candidates, and finally a few were clearly partisans of other candidates and out rightly attacked my article and tried to use it to fortify their characterization of Kerper. I would like to bring a few clarifications.
I will be the first one to admit that I am supportive of the candidacy of Kerper for the OLM leadership. This is my right, even if I cannot go there to vote. I hope and pray that he and his great team wins the elections and provides a new direction to OLM. I like his ideas and I can testify to his personal integrity, courage and sense of responsibility. The mere fact that he decided to stand up to the Charles Taylor killing machine at the time, when this was a dangerous posture, should make him a hero. If fighting Taylor makes him a "rebel leader," well, I will join him anytime and carry that qualification as a badge of honor.
However, it is important to clarify that the historical distortion I wrote of was not about the question of being a "rebel leader". It had to do with the bloody images posted on the Internet as they did not relate to the activities of the NRC as we know this group never engaged in any meaningful combat to cause the death and destruction Kerper's opponents want to portray. Some of these pictures have come from Darfur tragedy. It is sad that Liberians would use the disaster in other countries to blemish each other.
The second issue that I raised was about the negative campaigning that characterizes many of our political leadership battles in the Diaspora, where people seem to forget why they are trying to be leaders: which is to unite our people, provide them with a sense of direction and belonging, and finally, iron out differences, however strong they may be.
I could not write about other candidates because I know very little of them, if anything at all. The only one I met in person and spoke with on a few occasions is Ms. Martha Sinoe. And these were not instances that one wants to write about at this time. I have no doubt that every candidate in the race has something good to offer, and in the end, Liberians in OLM will make the decision. I pray that the Almighty will guide them in their decision, in the interest of all Liberians, especially those of us in the Diaspora, to make the right choice.
Finally, in response to the issue of meddling in "small local politics," I do not consider certain actions small. When people are linking someone to the killing of other human beings when his role was actually to save children from being gun totters, decency claims that we must come up and make clarifications if we know anything. Showing pictures of starving children and dead people and accusing someone of causing these disasters has the propensity to expose that person to harm. This is a dangerous game that Liberians must stop playing. This is why I said that we tend to be fighting a war that people at home seem to have left behind, at least in their daily lives. We must learn to set limits in what we say about each other in our quest for power. After the campaign, these same people will meet again and will be living in the same community, going to social functions, attending church or playing football together and in the end, defending Liberian interests.
I am proud of knowing Kerper and I have total confidence in his leadership ability as well as his sense of duty and sacrifice. I admire his humility and his calm. My endorsement is one from a friend who has come to know him in a very challenging situation. I feel proud to provide to him and his team my moral support and tell OLM voters the little I know about him. And, yes, I totally endorse him, because in term of leadership, I believe he is in a class of his own.
Well, I hope this is clear enough, for those who needed clarifications.
© 2007 by The Perspective
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