Liberia: NATIONAL LEADERSHIP IS NOT A CHILD’S PLAY
President Weah’s continued presence at the helm of power in Liberia poses an existential threat to our republic. The man has no original idea! He only cares about the fanfare of the office and not the duties that come with the presidency – nearly every major decision he has made disadvantages the people!
His administration is the full personification of a kakistocracy, with very important technical positions assigned to the most unscrupulous and least suitable sycophants. Mr. Weah does not have the basic leadership skills to fully appreciate the awesome responsibilities before him, and what it takes to execute for the elevation of the nation. He is a national disgrace that must be permanently set aside if we are to build a viable society guided by institutions. Maintaining Mr. Weah at the helm of power will not just hurt us domestically in the long term, it will erode our geopolitical capital and make our country an international pariah.
National leadership is not a child’s plaything; it is arguably the most consequential position in any country especially one like Liberia with its mountains of economic, social, and developmental challenges.
A national leader must possess self-awareness, garner credibility, and become a positive role model who fully understands the plight of the people; makes decisions that empower all, exhibits humility, is diligent about national duty, embodies the aspirations of the people whom he leads and be an effective communicator. President Weah possesses none of these traits; he doesn’t even understand them, nor does he have the capacity to. The man is empty in nearly every area of leadership.
Generally, the leader’s role is to coach, guide and inspire with the passion that motivates and calls people to national duty. Where does President Weah stand in this regard? What has he done over the last 5 years or his entire life that says he’s situationally aware or can function at such high level? Does he have the foundational preparedness to govern anything in a successful way? Can he effectively negotiate on Liberia’s behalf ensuring we get a fair shake at the table? Can we trust that he has mastered the intercultural sensitivity and collaborative skills to bring our people together? How will you rate his conflict resolution skills? Does he have any? The answer is he does not. The man is a clog, standing in the way of national progress.
One will ask the question, what does incompetence mean in government? It is simply the lack of the abilities to meet the legal guidelines set by statute. A person is incompetent when he lacks the mental fitness, and his inability to diligently execute as described by guidelines. There are additional traits that are central to the anatomy of an incompetent leader to include arrogance, self-centeredness, tactlessness, easily agitated, blame-shifting, finding comfort only in the mist of praise singers and refusing to directly address the people in his official capacity as a national leader. In essence, a person who shied away from his duties in his official capacity is incompetent and by default, a burden to the state.
Additionally, an incompetent leader has very poor communication skills, very weak leadership capabilities, an inability or unwillingness to adapt to change, an ineffective task manager, poor relationship-building skills, and limited ability to develop others. President Weah personifies these negative traits – he is incompetent and unfit for the position of president in every conceivable way.
Furthermore, leadership is not a joking matter; utmost seriousness must be attached to this most important position. Remember, the leader we choose will determine how far we go as a society. Our captain’s primary focus should be to define a result-producing direction for our society that improves the lives of our people – something Mr. Weah is unable to do. A crucial part of this definition is designing and implementing a strategy that lifts most of our people out of the extreme poverty that is so pervasive in Liberia today. President Weah is totally detached from the plight of our people – he leaves the country for nearly 50 consecutive days with total disregard for the affairs of the state! The reason: To go watch soccer games!
On the contrary, this serial philanderer focuses on nothing but his hedonistic exploits and how to relive his uneventful childhood by criminally taking away from poor Liberians. Mr. Weah is not a leader but a man-child; he’s a curse that must be permanently excluded from political life. After January 2024, the new government should arrest, trial and if convicted, forever imprison this national disgrace and his criminal gang for all the harm they have brought on our people.
Moreover, at the onset of his presidency, Mr. Weah made several promises under four pillars, most of which he has not fulfilled:
Under Pillar One, he promised Power to the People. There were approximately 60 promises made under this pillar as of January 2023; he is yet to complete more that 7 of these promises. Not only has he not given power to the people, but the people have also become spectators in their own economy; they have been disempowered economically and their entire country has gotten poorer. Girl’s school enrollment rate has dropped substantially, there has been increased unemployment numbers in the country, poorer health conditions, lowered life expectancy, and a society with higher prostitution and crime rates. Not only has he not maintained the power the people had, but he also significantly reduced their power by weakening our governing institutions.
Under Pillar two, President Weah promised a vibrant economy, thousands of jobs and to lift about a million families out of poverty. In total, he made about 70 promises under this pillar. To date, he’s yet to complete 5% of these promises. The economy is a wreck with high inflation on everyday commodities, reduced direct investments, dwindling remittances, contraction of economic activities throughout the country, and expanding unemployment; there has been a negative job growth over the last 6 years and all he has done for the people who voted for him is to lower their standard of living and their life expectancy. Again, Mr. Weah failed miserably under this pillar.
Pillar three promises to sustain the peace, but the people live in fear of uncontrollable criminal gangs that roam the city at night. What most people did not realize is the cruel way the president intended to sustain the peace.
First, Mr. Weah sustains the peace by weakening the people and forcing experienced professionals to emigrate the country because he ensures they could not eke out a living in their own country. There were unexplained murders of government auditors who were auditing the president and those closest to him – no justice in anyone of these cases. Guards in the presidential security detail are murdered on duty without any redress whatsoever, disappearance of young men, countless unexplained murders, etc.
The judicial branch of government is populated with mostly criminal judges appointed and controlled by the president. These judges commit all manner of crimes, demand bribes with total impunity! The police cannot arrest anyone closely associated with the president, even if the crime is murder! Security is largely non-existent especially at night when they are needed the most. When a supreme court justice opposes the president overstepping his position into the affairs of another branch of government, he is criminally “impeached” by corrupt legislators paid by the president and his cohorts. Of the close to 10 promises made under this pillar, none has been achieved. The president has ruled by fiat!
Pillar four focuses on Good Governance and Transparency – about 30 promises were made here; the president has completely failed in addressing any of these promises under this pillar. Corruption has been the hallmark of his administration.
The Public Financial Management (PFM) law has been sidelined; the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) is no longer considered in the awarding of contracts as was done in the past; those closest to the president arbitrarily hand-pick unscrupulous contractors so the president and his lieutenants can launder public monies through these criminal entities masquerading as legitimate companies. In many instances, they do not properly complete the task for which they are paid. Even the Americans have begun sanctioning these corrupt officials. Were it not for the stability of the state, President Weah himself would have gotten sanctioned. Those sanctions will eventually come once he leaves office in 2024.
The president does not care about good governance or transparency; he has put the Code of Conduct in the trash bin; he and his cohorts have refused to publicly declare their assets before taking office; refused to prosecute any government official even after the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) or General Auditing Commission (GAC) indicts them or recommends them for prosecution. Moreover, nearly all these officials could barely pay a $50/month rent before coming to public office – they can now afford to build mansions, countless investment properties on their meager salaries and yet claim to legitimately have millions in their bank accounts! Gullible and hungry CDCIANS support them to their own detriment.
The issue of corruption is not just the go-to move for the Weah-led Administration, it is their bread and butter; the only thing these kleptocrats know how to do. Preventing corruption, strengthening transparency, and governing institutions for sustainable development have never been a focus of this administration. What they don’t understand is that these are required ingredients for peace, security, social and economic development.
President Weah’s corrupt actions have diverted talent and resources from Liberia and prevented good governance principles from being instituted. His irresponsible actions limit our opportunity for accountability, the rule of law, an economically viable society, limit international corporation and partnership further weakening the country. Continuing with President Weah could possibly cause our country to implode. His lack of ethical principles, leadership indiscipline, and lapse in morality are a burden to the country.
The dysfunctional leadership style of Mr. Weah robs Liberia of countless opportunities for growth. His leadership approach leads to misuse and wastage of scarce resources, entrenches privilege and inequality, undermines constitutional guidelines with lasting consequences especially for the most vulnerable population. His lackadaisical style breaks down law and order, increases corruption and income inequality, undermines the legitimacy of government and democratic values. President Weah’s inability to inspire growth, define a national vision, lack of discipline in any crucial governing area except kicking around a ball, has left us much poorer in all aspect of development.
Until we make this turnaround and attach immediate compensatory and punitive measures against officials who flagrantly harm the people and require that our leaders entirely commit to serving the people, have integrity, and subscribe to higher moral principles, formulate a realistic vision that they themselves can articulate and implement in Liberia, we will be stuck in this place of shame, disgrace, and Third World backwardness. Liberians should never again make such colossal mistake by electing these bottom feeders who do not meet the leadership characteristics that ensure success.
National leadership requires a whole lot more than the superficial hoopla that brought this man-child to power. Leadership requires you to be self-managing, an effective communicator with a higher intellect, a strategic thinker, and a voracious reader. Our leaders must set clear goals and be persistent in achieving them, manage complexities, foster creativities and innovation to ensure national aspirations come to fruition. The president must be decisive, calculative, has the capacity to influence his subordinates to bring them to action.
Mr. Weah possesses none of these vital leadership traits. He cannot lead nor does he want to! This man-child must be relieved of this awesome responsibility because he is not capable of delivering to the people what this role mandates – he does not even understand it! Vote this doink out or stand to experience a Liberia of total backwardness, bone-crunching poverty, hyper criminality, teenage prostitution and extreme “zogoism”, plus all the ills of a pariah state.
About the Author: Mr. Dualu is the author of countless articles. Some of those include: “A Guide to Picking Liberia’s next President” and “A Message to the Legatees of Liberia”. The Author works as a financial professional out of Massachusetts.