A Commentary by Ciata Victor "A Proud Moment In Time"

Liberians made a choice for sanity, education and for a positive move forward. With their votes, they proved that they are NOT IDIOTS who did not learned lessons over the last 25 years.

With their votes, they rejected incompetence, ignorance, selfishness, greed, threats, lack of vision and violence. I am so proud of Liberia, so very proud. If these election results show nothing else, they show Liberia is ready for change, POSITIVE CHANGE.

The lady needs all of Liberia's support and protection. The tasks and responsibilities are not hers alone. They are many, but I know we are up to the challenge. For the last 25 years, Liberians have been trained abroad, in every discipline, many with one focus, learn what is needed for Liberia. Every specialty is required. With the return of hundreds of thousands of Liberians from all around the world, there will be a culture explosion that could only benefit the country and the people of Liberia. Only Liberians can rebuild Liberia, because rebuilding Liberia is in no ones interest, other then Liberians. Anything we want there, we will have to build it there.

For 25 years we have criticized, we have demanded better, demanded more then we got. In 2005 we cried for competence. This time we elected competence. Liberia can begin to move forward, but only if we are willing to work to achieve and protect the vision of Peace, Progress and Unity. In 1980, Willie Tolbert had a vision plan for Liberia. The plan was a good plan, a workable plan, a plan that would have propelled the country forward and benefited all of Liberia and West Africa. I am sure Mrs. Sirleaf has her own plan, but I hope it includes pillars of mat to mattress, self-sufficiency, self-reliance and total involvement for higher heights.

Congratulations Mrs. Sirleaf, your victory is a victory for Liberia, Africa and women of color all around the world.


William R.Tolbert

Four Pillars included in William Tolbert's Vision Plan for Liberia

For the benefit of our readers who are not familiar with William Tolbert's plan for Liberia, the four pillars I remember included the following concepts:

Mat-to-Mattress ~ Increase the standard of living for all Liberians. This would have especially benefited the people with low income. The concept was to raise their standard of living and take them off the mats in shacks and put them on mattresses in affordable housing. He started implementing this plan with the low income housing estate projects, that were built in the 1970's.

Self-reliance ~ Develop industries that would decrease Liberia's dependence on foreign imports while increasing it exports to Africa and major world markets. The paper factories, soap factory, sneaker factory, Messarrado Fishing Companies, Mano River, etc.

Self-sufficiency ~ Develop Liberia into an agriculture industry that would grow enough food to feed all of Liberia and grow excess for exportation. To accomplish this, he tried to discourage Liberia's dependence on imported rice, by increasing the price, making it no longer affordable, but also increasing the price of the locally grown rice, making it more attractive to local farmers and allowing them additional funds for improving the quality of the locally grown crop.

For expertise in rice growing, he turned to the Chinese who came to Liberia to teach Liberians how to become efficient, yield more and grow better quality rice. He opened the Agriculture college, sent students abroad to study agriculture and made loans available for small farmers to purchase seeds, tools and land to start or improve their farms. It was this project that led to the rice riot on April 14, 1979, which was followed by the coup on April 12, 1980.

Total-involvement ~ Include all Liberians in the process of government, including those who had been denied access to the benefits of the system for years. He started a social security program, a health care program, as well as a free education program for all Liberians from grade 0 to grade 6. He built more public schools and began to work at improving schools curriculum. He also for the first time, encourage Liberians to join the political process, he even made funds available for the opposition, which people like Baccus Matthews used to gain popularity while undermining William Tolbert's efforts.

William Tolbert slogans were Rally Time and Total Involvement for Higher Heights. His vision for leading the people of Liberia to higher heights, did not come to be. It ended tragically when he was overthrown in a bloody military coup on April 12, 1980. With his death came the mass exodus of Liberia's working class, failed coup attempts, mass killings, followed by a vicious fight for power and three brutal wars, that exploded across Liberia's borders, into the lands of our neighbors.

William Tolbert's model wasn't perfect. His model was not about selling Liberia, it was about building a solid foundation in Liberia that would elevate all of the people, starting with their most basic needs, education, health, housing, employment, and business opportunities. His model was especially targeted at the poor, uneducated, disenfranchised and those who did not have opportunities available to them. What was weakest in his plan was security, including his personal security.

Tolbert's model with some rewriting, can be and is still relevant to Liberia's future. It is inclusive, accomplishable and can raise ALL LIBERIANS to the heights, William Tolbert envisioned. If new technologies are added and weak pieces studied and improved, along with the security and protection of our nation's highest office, the functions of our government can get back on track much faster, then if a new plan is hurriedly designed to be disseminated.