Liberia: Leadership Deficit Glaring Amid Delayed Salaries, High Prices, Financial Crisis

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THERE IS NO doubt that Liberia is facing numerous challenges ranging from non-payment of salaries for several agencies of government for about three months, increasing prices of major commodities including the country’s staple food, rice.

FOR THE FIRST time in many years, the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced increment in the price of rice to USD 17.00 wholesale and retail USD 17.50 or LRD equivalent.

BY THE PUBLIC announcement of increment in the price of the commodity in Monrovia, the situation will be worse in faraway counties due to long distances, bad roads, and other prevailing conditions.

A FORTNIGHT AGO, the Supreme Court of Liberia through Chief Justice Her Honour Sie-A-Yeneh Youh cited the Minister of Finance and even held him in Contempt for Court for the inability of government to pay judiciary employees for more than two months.

IN A RATHER COMICAL response Finance Minister Samuel Tweah blamed the delay in the payment of salaries to judicial employees on what he termed as “technical glitch”, a phrase that has now become a nationwide laughable one.

FOLLOWING TWEAH’S DEBACLE at the Judiciary, the Liberian Senate again cited the finance minister to provide explanation on the same issue – non-payment of salaries for employees of the National Legislature.

WHILE MINISTER TWEAH was running here and there providing explanations, the Public Prosecutors Association of Liberia, the umbrella organization of all government lawyers, staged a protest boycotting all court activities.

COURT ACTIVITIES WERE completely paralyzed for more than two weeks with the police unable to process those accused of committing crimes to send them to court.

BESIDES THE THREE EVENTS mentioned above, too many things have been going wrong in the country lately as the National Housing and Population Census which is the first since 2008 could not commence as announced.

PRESIDENT WEAH, WHILE away from the country, even declared a nationwide holiday for the same census, making people to remain home when the process had not begun.

FURTHERMORE, THE NATIONAL Elections Commission (NEC) voters registration process scheduled for early next year is facing doubts ahead of the crucial 2023 general and presidential elections. 

THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT for the company to conduct the Biometric Voters’ Registration is still in conflict casting doubts over the commencement of the processes leading to the conduct of the election on time.

IN THE WAKE OF ALL THESE negative and worrying events, the President of Liberia, His Excellency George M. Weah wrote the National Legislature informing that body about his absence from the country for more than seven weeks.

DURING THE PERIOD MENTIONED by the President for his absence from the country, the Liberian leader was visibly seen watching soccer games at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar. The president, whose son Timothy Weah plays for the United States of America Men Soccer team as a citizen of that country, had accordingly travelled to watch his son play even though his supporters claimed that he was invited by football governing body, FIFA.

THERE IS NO SUCH INVITATION from FIFA attached to the president’s communication to the national legislature and to add more weight to the claim by others that the president had gone on private visit to watch his son Timothy Weah for the United States of America, the Liberian leader hosted a dinner for the United States of America soccer squad in an expensive country like Qatar.

PRESIDENT WEAH WAS even spotted playing soccer along with other famous former soccer stars, including the likes of Kaka of Brazil and others.

THE LIBERIAN LEADER again in a video widely circulated online was heard saying goodbye to his son Timothy and informing him that should he and his US teammates qualify for the final of the World Cup, he (President Weah) would return to Qatar to watch them play.

MONTSERRADO COUNTY Senator Abraham Darius Dillon wrote the Liberian Senate recently calling for a probe into the prolonged absence of President Weah from the country just to watch the World Cup. Senator Dillion in his letter indicated that the Paris Conference has since ended and as it lasted from November 9-15, 2022, and it is therefore untrue for the president to claim that the conference was extended as a justification for his stay from the country.

SENATOR DILLON IN HIS communication provided justification that the Paris Conference was held on November 11th and 12th and was never extended as claimed by President Weah in his communication to that August Body.

NAYMOTE, A CIVIL SOCIETY organization, also expressed similar concern over the prolonged absence of the president from the country in the wake of all the unfolding developments in the country something NAYMOTE says could create a constitutional crisis.

WITH ALL THESE NEGATIVE developments taking place in the country and the President still out of the country with these serious problems unresolved, it indicates that there is huge leadership deficit 

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