LIBERIA: MCSS Students’ Protest: The Blame-Game Won’t Cut It, Rep. Acarous Gray


IF REPRESENTATIVE Acarous Moses Gray(CDC, District No. 8, Montserrado County) had his way, the head of the Monrovia Consolidated School System would be out of a job. Not because he failed to pay teachers, in whose interest students took to the street Wednesday, but because, in Rep. Gray’s world, Superintendent Adolphus  Benjamin Jacob is one of the so-called “unpatriotic” “haters” in the government’s midst, sparking chaos and protests against President George Manne Weah.

MR. GRAY, in a Facebook post after the violent protest this week, sent a public message to the President that read:  “Mr. President and my brother, you are indeed President for all Liberians but the writings are on the wall that we must weed out the traitors and bring in competent and qualified loyalists who are patriotic too. No matter what you do you will be demonized by your haters. Haters are haters my brother.”

JACOBS, SPEAKING to FrontPageAfrica following one of several incidents that led to injuries to students at the SDA School, explained that the salary process is been ongoing until September. Jacobs accused but that “some people, are infusing different dynamism into it and it has become political in less than one hour.”

LAMENTED JACOBS: “People are fueling our students to do what they are doing.”

JACOBS ASSURED the students that they are going to begin taking their tests next week admitting that the tests were delayed because of teachers’ go-slow.  “They have salary issue as a result of the budget harmonization. We are technicians; we will focus on ensuring that the students take their tests. Some people are disgruntled when it comes to salary and some people are here, who are not students. You cannot be throwing stones at the President’s convoy and say you are advocating for salary. The behavior of police to react on our students is unacceptable. When irresponsible officers try to knock on students’ head, that’s beyond repair.”

AS HEAD of the MCSS, Jacobs utterances, at least in his interview with the press after the incident, does not fit the profile of someone on the inside causing trouble. It speaks more to someone appearing to be giving an honest assessment of what caused the problem and what government is doing to fix it.

MR. GRAY’S FACEBOOK POST is just the type of public exhibits leading many to conclude that those with access to President Weah are leading him down a spiral slope of one misstep after another that can only be compared to a chicken without a head, wandering in a state of confusion and pondering why its head had just been cut off?

EVEN MR. GRAY would be the first to admit that, the Coalition for Democratic Change government, since its inception last January, has made more partisanship appointments than any government in recent memory.

FROM THE START, it has been all about finding jobs, not for qualified Liberians; but members of the party that had paid their dues, even if they hadn’t – or as the popular song now says, they were not in the photo yesterday, but are now enjoying the fruits of what they never helped create.

IN FACT, THE ECONOMIC quagmire that the government now finds itself entangled with is because it perhaps, simply bit more than it could chew by hiring just too many people into government against the advice of critics who were labeled as “Enemies of the State” or the new terminology now being adopted by Rep. Gray, “Haters” and “Traitors” against President Weah.

THE TRUTH of the matter is, President Weah must begin to wake up from the slumber of unrealistic expectations he and his officials have been trying to sell the Liberian people, obviously without much luck as more and more reality begins to set in.

THE LIKES of Rep. Gray may think that they are displaying loyalty with posts, declaring the MCSS protest as the work of “Haters” and “Traitors”, but they are simply doing more harm than good.

President George Manneh  Weah does not need to fill his government with anymore loyalists, partisans, gravy-seekers, bootlickers – or sycophants. What the President needs, more than ever before, are competent, honest and hard-working folks who will help him and his government get out of the mess and current predicament it now finds itself. 

WHAT WOULD IT have cost President Weah to get out of his motorcade, if he was in it, to stand and talk with the students and hear them out?

CHILD RIGHTS ADVOCATE Satta Sheriff put it rightly when she posted Wednesday: “You can imagine the pain most of the high school students are experiencing now, simply because our government chose tear gas over dialogue. Sad! The most sickening part about the entire protest is the action of the police. They behaved like a bunch of desperate, untrained and reckless individuals. What a sad day for our democracy. The President’s action to allow his convoy passed among those students without remorse is the most egocentric action I have ever seen from a leader. Pathetic! Ensuring access to free education isn’t a gift from the government, it is the government’s responsibility – students shouldn’t have to protest just to get the government’s response. The government should do better to avoid these kinds of situations.”

BUSINESSMAN AMIN MODAD concurs: “These are just high school and elementary students protesting out of desperation for education…NOT OTHER IMPORTANT RIGHTS LIKE FOOD, HEALTHCARE, OR FREEDOM…just to be educated.  “Education is a continual process, it’s like a bicycle… If you don’t pedal you don’t go forward.” – George Weah. “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X. “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Annan; “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated. Any nation that is progressive is led by people who have had the privilege of studying.” — Nelson Mandela; “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.

PRESIDENT WEAH does not need to fill his government with anymore loyalists, partisans, gravy-seekers, bootlickers – or sycophants. What the President needs – more than ever, are competent, honest and hard-working folks who will help him and his government get out of the mess and current predicament it now finds itself.

REP. GRAY GOT one thing right in his post – the writings are indeed on the wall. The sooner President Weah realizes that the clock is ticking on his room for lapses, the better he will be able to checkmate himself – and put his house in order.

FOR THE LIKES of Rep. Gray and others, still living in the twilight zone of denials and sycophantic spells, it is time to wake up to the unfolding realities, that even time may not be able to reverse, when stuff begins to hit the fan – if it isn’t already.