Liberia: After Five Years in the Presidency, Pres. Weah Must Tell the People the True State of the Nation
TODAY, PRESIDENT George Weah will deliver his final Annual Message for the mandate given him by Liberians in the 2017 elections. His victory in that election was popular, as the people yearned and hoped for a better change.
AS PRESIDENT WEAH delivers his last Annual Message for that mandate, he must be reminded of this mandate and the two major promises he made to the Liberian people – fighting corruption and Liberianizing the economy. He promised that Liberians would not be spectators in their own economy.
FIVE YEARS down the line, the Weah-led government must be true to itself in telling the Liberian people where it actually stands when it comes to fulfilling these two promises.
UNDER HIS REGIME, the U.S. government has sanctioned five top officials of government – three of these five worked directly under his supervision.
FORMER MINISTER OF STATE, Nathaniel McGill, former Solicitor General Sayma Syrennius Cephus and former Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway, were all sanctioned for massive corruption. To the dismay of the public, the Weah-led administration has done nothing to ensure that these allegations brought forth by the Americans against these former top officials are investigated and possibly prosecuted. And there was no further news about the so-called investigation called for into the matter by the President.
THE CASE IS the same the investigation into the diplomatic passport saga following the arrest of businessman Sheik Bassirou Kante, who supposedly had many links in government. Sheik Bassirou was arrested in the United States for money laundering and wire fraud. Upon his arrest in his Maryland home, he was discovered with a Liberian diplomatic passport, though he is not a Liberian diplomat. Pres. Weah commissioned an investigation into the matter which was supposed to report to his office in two weeks, it’s been eight months now, all efforts by the media to know the status of that investigation have proved futile.
FOR MOST LIBERIANS, this is where trust in the Weah-led government begins. It is either the President himself is part and parcel of these corrupt practices or he just does not have the balls to the take firm and stern actions against corruption.
AND WHILE THE country has been peaceful, we must not mince our words in saying that the country has not been safe. The several mysterious deaths and questionable police investigative outcomes have continued to instill fear in citizens home and abroad. Liberia has been relatively peaceful not because the government has enforced measures to keep it because, but because the citizens are resolved to keeping the peace. This resolve should, however, not be taken for granted.
THE SECURITY of the state must be beefed up and those in charge of it must be sincere with the public. To date, the motive and how several pieces of military grade weapons entered Liberia through the Freeport of Monrovia also remain a mystery. All these are recipes for fear.
THE ECONOMY has continued to dwindled while inflation has never ceased. The public has often been riddled with World Bank and IMF estimations which are often interpreted by the government as improvements, yet the ordinary citizens continue to feel the strong pinch of hunger lack of basic needs.
LEADERSHIP MATTERS. Rot often starts from the top, and every government reflects the personality of the individual running it. A clueless leader will run a clueless government. Thus, as Matthew Parris, a prominent British writer, recently put it, there must be in every government “the presiding intellect with the intelligence to grasp the problem.”
WHAT’S MORE, over the past six years, Pres. Weah has been utterly impervious to voices of reason and wisdom, be it on political restructuring, on handling agitations, or on critical economic and institutional reforms. The results are a comatose economy, a corrupt and fractured society beset by widespread hardship, debilitating insecurity, and, inevitably, massive distrust of government.
WHEN PRESIDENT Weah mounts the podium at the Legislature today to address the nation, it is our hope that his message would not be regular rhetoric only intended to fulfill a government function. It must be honest and sincere, acknowledging his failure and giving true hope in the efforts to correct these failures. This is how we will know that the mandate of the people is not being trampled upon.