10 Core Values of the CDC
1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
We believe democracy functions best when it is able to enhance the lives, actions and participation of peoples at grassroots levels. Building consensus for governance at such levels, gauging the level of participation of local peoples and evolving community-based democratic frameworks that localize access to resources and information are vital components of grassroots democracy.
Strengthening such local democratic efforts is a legacy the Congress for Democratic Change hopes to implant in Liberia’s political culture. The CDC is guided by the belief that expanding the reach and impact of governance to those straddling the lowest levels of society results in a more informed citizenry and generates a greater commitment to country.
We believe that an emphasis on grassroots democracy places important political tools and resources in the hands of our people and heightens the awareness that the people have the right to democratically alter the form of their government, where necessary, to produce alternatives that respond to their concerns and interests and that the abridgement or violation of such inalienable right must meet with the stiffest resistance and punishment under the law.
The CDC believes that people’s power will forever remain invaluable to the democratic experience and that it is such power exercised in its most democratic form that holds the key for any functional democracy.
2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
The belief that all persons are equal under the law and that the law must forever remain blind to a people’s socio-economic standing, educational attainment or family status remains an incontestable definition of social justice. This definition takes on new birth in the emergence of the CDC and in the conception and implementation of its policies, programs and actions.
We recognize the nagging socio-economic inequities and cleavages that characterize the Liberian society and derive philosophical inspiration in proposing to bridge those cleavages and bring the majority of our people closer to the promise of equality, fairness and justice.
All Liberians have the inalienable right to benefit equally from the natural resources afforded by the bounty of Liberian nature and environment and from opportunities provided by society and government. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, and government barriers such as ethnicity and class oppression, nepotism, and partisanship, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
3. ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY
We believe whenever governments function on the basis of openness, transparency and accountability, the interests of democracy and the people governed by it are greatly served. Because governments are run from public resources to which every citizen is equally entitled, information regarding how such resources are administered and what benefits are being derived from their administration must at all times be made readily accessible to the public without hindrance or duplicity.
Those administering public office are obliged to enforce mechanisms of accountability and transparency and must themselves be accountable in all actions and be willing to submit to systematic auditing. The CDC believes that a sure a way to deter corruption and enhance accountable government in the Liberian society is to have public officials declare their assets before entering the service of government and do so after leaving.
Enforcing such regimes of accountability and transparency will forever remain a central thrust to the CDC’s progressive revolution in transforming the Liberian society.
The CDC eternally upholds the tenet of non-violence in all its ramifications. Recognizing the role violence has played in destroying the Liberian society, we abhor any attempt to use violence as a means to political solution or understanding. We believe violence only breeds violence and further destroys nations and peoples.
Those who seek violence as a solution to problems are wrong and deserve no place in our society. We hold dear that political tension, differences and disagreements are best resolved or minimized through conduits of consensus-building, concession-making and dialoging which draw critical strengths from the democratic tradition. The CDC will forever oppose all individuals, movements and parties that are intent on depicting Liberia as a nation ruled by violence.
We believe pursuing non-violent approaches to our political problems provides the basis for more genuine and sustainable solutions and enables all Liberians to live in peace.
5. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY
The truth that birth, ethnicity or tribal origin and nationality are far beyond the control of any individual inspires and compels a respect for diversity. When diverse peoples, ethnicities, cultures or spiritualities work together to build a society which each group values equally, harmony and greater productivity are bound to result.
The CDC believes in building a Liberian society that has deep respect and value for the cultural, ethnic and religious identities of its constituent components. Ethnic, cultural, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity is the way of the future and developing respectful relationships and patterning ideas across those lines foster the building of sustainable peace and democracy.
We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally excluded from leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.
6. GENDER EQUALITY
Marginalizing women is now a relic of the past as many modern and industrial societies have surged ahead in thrusting women at the forefront of social, economic and political agendas. Some societies are greatly ahead of others in empowering women, others are struggling to keep pace while still others are yet to make any meaningful progress; the truth is that the empowerment revolution is an on-going battle with new territories and frontiers being acquired every step of the way.
Empowering Liberian women, reversing years of exclusion and inattention and equalizing opportunities for women while giving them greater access to resources and opportunities are fundamental to the existence of the CDC. The CDC believes that to advance the Women Empowerment Agenda requires situating more qualified women in strategic governmental positions from where they can continue to expand the reach of women’s societal influence.
7. RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Liberia has been a woeful story of the abuse of the child as far as our recent history is concerned. Many innocent children have been abused and given arms and drugged to fight for dangerous causes they did not understand. Today many such war-affected children are growing up amid the scars of such fighting and the Liberian society is still grappling with what to do with these children.
As a point of departure, the CDC acknowledges the total right of the child as contained in the UN Convention on the Right of the Child as a policy imperative. Strongly enforcing and protecting children’s rights is one sure way of saying Never Again to using children as combatants and fighters in Liberia.
8. ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
The Environment is recognized as that last habitat to which humanity retreats when governments, laws and systems collapse and governments have to do a better job of safeguarding it. The pursuit of business and economic policies that fail to reckon environmental costs can be considered irresponsible and reckless endangerment of the lives of a people and of posterity.
We value the tenet of environmental responsibility in governmental actions, policies and negotiations and the CDC will strive to engender an environment-sensitive policy environment. For generations, Liberians of all political beliefs have understood that the protection of environment and the stewardship of our land are vital to the strength of our nation.
God blessed Liberia with extraordinary natural resources; it is our responsibility to protect them. The health of our families, the strength of our economy, and the well-being of our world all depend upon a clean environment. CDC believes in a stronger, safer, healthier Liberia.
Today the world is vastly interconnected more than ever before. Information, resources, goods and services are transacting across international borders and their counterparts in cyberspace at an accelerated pace.
More and more governments acting under the banner of the United Nations or other international arrangements are increasing the pace of international cooperation and accelerating that of global development, though tremendous room still remains for improvement in closing steep divides between rich and poor nations.
CDC believes that Liberia can play a more enlarged role in Africa and the wider international community by garnering greater international respectability derived from its adherence to the rule of law, the tenets of democracy and its ability to enhance the lives of the Liberian people. We see Liberia as closely knitted with countries in the West African sub-region, the larger Africa and the Western world.
10. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
We inherit a world which we must pass on to others who will come after us and believe that the actions of governments and organizations must be motivated by long-term goals. We must seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of all “waste” we create, while developing a sustainable economy that will outlast our existence.
We must counterbalance the drive for short-term gains and repudiate a narrow focus on today by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.