IT STARTED OFF AS TRULY AN eventful year for Liberia. And the world. 2016. On the rooftop of the Royal Grand Hotel during the early morning hours of January 1, 2016, Ms. Lloa Bass-Golokeh and her friends gathered to welcome the New Year but no sooner her pants were pulled down by a Lebanese national but what followed after saw a dip in the pockets of its income.
A YOUNG LIBERIA GENDER ADVOCATE led a protest against the hotel, which also brought Nobel Laureate leymah Gbowee to join in, and other advocates to call for a boycott of the hotel as, according to him, it has had several incidents of such at its subsidiaries.
HIS PROTEST YIELDED RESULTS TO some extent because, according to sources, UN Women Executive Director and her entourage, during a visit to the country last year, quietly passed over the swanky hotel for the Cape Hotel in Mamba Point. It is also said that other expats in the country also boycotted the venue.
BARELY A MONTH AFTER, THE lifeless body of the former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), Mr. Harry Augustus Greaves, was found at the back of the Executive Mansion stark naked with parts missing thereof.
FIERY POLITICIAN AND BUSINESSMAN, Simeon Freeman, went into hiding following pronouncements by him that the Liberian government had a death squad to get rid of prominent Liberian who are critical of government policies.
HIS HOME WAS SHUTDOWN for several days as his wife and family were reportedly locked in, leaving them several days without food or water.
SO-CALLED HUMAN RIGHTS AND social justice advocate, Vandalark Patricks, was charged and sent to the Monrovia central prison for libel and criminal sedition. Following rigmarole between his lawyers and state prosecutors, charges were dropped against him. FOR THE FIRST TIME, POLITICAL PARTIES seemed to be one when they met in Nimba at the behest of senator Prince Johnson to for a pact but barely before they left the hall, tempers were flaring as businessman Benoni urey and former Grand Bassa Senator, Cllr. Charles Brumskine engaged in a war of words.
THE LIBERIAN MEDIA PERHAPS SUFFERED the most loss with the passing of many of its dear professionals. Welemongai Ciapha, II, Lawrence Randall, Singbe Johnson, Prof. James Wolloh, etc, left their earthly abode for the great beyond.
IN JULY THIS YEAR, UNMIL abdicated its responsibility of handling the security of the state to the Liberian government.
THE GOVERNMENT FULFILLED ITS PROMISE OF turning on the hydro the week before when President Sirleaf turned on the first turbine of the Mount Coffee Hydro Electric Dam.
IN THE US, BUSINESS MAN CUM POLITICIAN, DONALD John Trump, won the US presidency in the Electoral College against former U.S. First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton, however, won Trump in the popular vote with more than 2 million.
MONTHS EARLIER, BRITAIN VOTED to exit the European Union. Trump’s win in America has led to an anti-establishment win for many parties in Europe from Italy and other countries. Power houses Germany and France are teetering of a Trump’s replication.
IN AFRICA, PRESIDENT JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA lost to his rival, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo. He has conceded defeat. His counterpart in the Gambia, however, has refused. Initially, he did, saying he will turn over power on the scheduled date for inauguration.
AN INTERVENTION FROM ECOWAS leader and threats of an intervention force plus many more have not led him to budge.
THAT WAS 2016.
AS WE HAVE USHERED OURSELVES INTO 2017 and slowly but steadily head towards elections, it is our hope and prayer we’ll have a smooth transition as it is key to Liberia’s stability. With so many deaths and misfortunes, 2016 was truly the Shakespearean’s ide of March.