Liberia: Lack of Transparency, Accountability Major Achilles for Weah-Led Government
JUST A DAY after delivering his second annual message, President George Manneh Weah found himself engulfed in yet another nagging scandal.
A VIDEO AND NEWS REPORTS out of neighboring Senegal showed that the government of Liberia recently signed a five-year agreement with Senegal to exploit Liberian territorial waters and in return provide training and support to local fisherman and the fishing industry.
THE DEAL WAS SIGNED in Dakar, Senegal on January 22, 2019 with Ms. Emma Metieh Glassco, Director General of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority signing on behalf of Liberia while Senegal’s Minister of Fisheries Mr. Oumar Guèye signed for his country.
PRESIDENT WEAH has made more trips to Senegal than any other country since his inauguration last January, each time spending a little over US$70,000(seventy thousand United States Dollars) per visit, according to recent vouchers obtained and published by FrontPageAfrica.
NEITHER THE PRESIDENT’S Press Secretary or the Ministry of Information made any mention of a signing of an agreement in Senegal which promises to allocate 300 fishing licenses (in Liberia’s own water) for Senegalese fishermen for five years, broken down as follows: 200 for artisanal fishing, 100 for semi-industrial fishing. In exchange Senegalese will give advises to Liberia to fight against illegal fishing,” Radio France International reported.
THE DEAL ALLOWS the Senegalese alone to harvest about 40,000 tons of fish from Liberia a year, FrontPageAfrica has gathered.
THE FIVE-YEAR AGREEMENT which is also renewable for equal period will grant Senegal greenlight to the exploitation and the management of the marine resources, the enhancement and commercialization of fishery and aquaculture products, fisheries research, preservation of the marine and coastal environment, training and capacity building of human resources, monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries and safety at sea for artisanal fishermen, among other important measures in Liberia.
IT IS IMPORTANT to note that Senegal has depleted nearly all of the fish from its waters due to bad environmental and fishing practices.
NEARLY A WEEK AGO, FrontPageAfrica reported yet another scandal involving the National Port Authority after it was discovered that the NPA had signed a container tracking deal with Global Tracking and Maritime Solutions, Liberia – a company chased out of Sierra Leone for allegedly defrauding the Sierra Leonean government over US$11 million.
Based on that agreement, GMT Solutions would be tracking all containers coming to and passing through all sea ports in the country at an additional fee of US$175.00.
THESE SCANDAL follow earlier ones which dogged the administration during the early days of the government taking over.
SHADY AND rushed deals with Eton Financial Private Limited and the Burkinabe firm, EBAMOF raised a lot of red flags from the media and the public but each were greeted with attacks and assaults from government officials and President Wean who labeled the reports as fake news and the media and critics as enemies of the state.
NEARLY ALL OF THESE deals have one thing in common: They were all shrouded in secrecy as the government only fed Liberians what they thought they should know while hiding basic details from the public.
THE END RESULT, every concern about Eton’s lack of financing and history of investment anywhere in the world as well as the conflict of interest surrounding Ebamof, whose President, Mr. Mahamadou Gonkougou the president considers a friend who borrows him his private jet.
THE FACT OF THE MATTER is, the Weah-led government, in most cases, have not been forthcoming with the Liberian people in a lot of their dealings.
THE PRESIDENT and his advisors have taken matters into their own hands, appointing an ambassador to the United States of America in the absence of a Senate confirmation and outrageous spending for roads and other construction outside the national budget.
FOR MANY OF THOSE SINGING the president’s praises and failing to explain to him the implications of these actions, history has a funny way of coming back to bite perpetrators of bad governance in the butt.
PRESIDENT WEAH’S PREDECESSORS learned the hard way. The legacies of William V.S. Tubman, William R. Tolbert, Samuel Kanyon Doe and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf have been stained by echoes of corruption, nepotism, greed, poor governance and the lack of transparency and accountability.
THE LATTER HAVE been a major Achilles for Mr. Weah and his officials. The writings are on the wall and the signs are becoming all too apparent that if this government does not check itself, the pitfalls that continue to haunt its predecessors will soon begin showing its ugly face – if it isn’t already.
TOO MANY PEOPLE HAVE DIED in Liberia eclipsed under a recurring spell of corruption and bad governance.
PRESIDENT WEAH must be mindful of the sycophants parading his inner and outer circle, trumpeting the noise he loves to hear while casting away pleadings for he and his key lieutenants to wake up before time runs out and patience wears thin.
THOSE POISONING the minds of the president with ill-advised antics and shady deals are hurting Liberia’s future. The sooner Mr. Weah realizes this, the better his government will become.
LIBERIA CANNOT and must not allow itself to fall prey to the trappings of the past which led the country to more than a decade of war. The shadiness and secrecy surrounding the wave of deals the government is undertaking smells to high heavens.
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS have been spent to keep Liberia on the track of completing its transition from war to peace. A successful transfer of power is only the first step; staying the course is the most challenging and perhaps the most important. But it begins and end with President Weah, mustering the courage and political will to avoid the ills of the past and embarking on a reformist agenda that will separate him from those before him, who failed to take cue from the pages of history.