￼‘Liberia is Poorer Under Pres. Weah Compared to Ex-Pres. Sirleaf’ – Leymah Gbowee
MONROVIA – Nobel Peace Prize Winner Madam Leymah Roberta Gbowee has described Liberia as an “angry and hungry” nation under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government of President George Manneh Weah, with nothing being done by either the government or other political actors to address the situation.
In 2011, Madam Gbowee jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize along with ex-Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.
She was selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for uniting Christian and Muslim women against her country’s warlords. As head of the Women for Peace movement, she was praised for mobilizing women “across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war” that had raged for years in Liberia until its end in 2003 and for ensuring “women’s participation in elections.” She rallied women to sing and pray to protest fighting in the Fish Market community in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.
In a statement released on her official social media on Monday, July 18, Madam Gbowee maintained that Liberia is poorer as compare to the regime of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
She observed that the level of anger among citizens, especially young people has escalated.
She noted that the citizens believe that many of those riding extravagant vehicles are public officials who “steal” state resources.
“My recent travel back to Liberia has been a natural source of joy. I love being at home and interacting with the community, my students, friends, and family. During these last few days, I have observed a trend growing daily: the level of anger that people carry, especially the youth. They would fight at the slightest sign of provocation. These young people seem to have no qualms about insulting whomever, wherever, and whenever. Anyone driving an SUV is automatically connected to the government or those “stealing” the country’s money. In their state of anger, rationality appears completely absent”.
Fighting for L$30
Madam Gbowee further narrated a scenario where two young men were fighting over $30LD (0.20 US cents). This implies that the level of hardship in the country has reached an unprecedented peak.
“I stopped my car and tried to intervene. The aggrieved young man was adamant that he still wanted to fight. While calming him down, another young man started insulting my driver and me. He was upset because we were parked wrongfully. Even after apologizing to him, he continued hurling invectives at us. I handled the fight and ignored the insults, but the interactions stuck with me. This incident is just one of the many occurrences daily in many communities across Liberia. I was thinking about anger and its primary source and then remembered the famous saying, “an angry person is a hungry person.”
Madam Gbowee pointed out that many friends and family members continue to complain about the growing wave of hardship in the country.
She recalled that a statement she made in 2012 brought bad feelings to not only her Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Madam Sirleaf, but others in the country.
“In 2012, when I spoke about Liberians being dirt poor under President Sirleaf’s regime, many came after me with fury, that I had insulted Liberians and their integrity. Today, the situation is even worse”.
She observed that the increasing wave of economic hardship continues to anger citizens in Liberia.
Lack of hope
Speaking further, Madam Gbowee observed that despite the current situations Liberians are encountering on a regular basis, there seems to be a lack of hope in a political system to move the country forward.
She maintained that finding solutions to the mountainous problems confronting the citizenry appear to be far from accomplishment as political actors appear not to be showing no real interest in doing so.
“I am also compelled to add the seeming lack of hope in any political system to truly serve the people’s needs. Unfortunately, many political factions seem more interested in scoring political points on social media than finding solutions for Liberia’s problems”.
“The times and seasons point us where we need to do more to save our land. We need to talk less and strategize more to transform Liberia from a hungry and angry nation to a satisfied, dignified, loving, and peaceful one”.
The comments made by Madam Gbowee comes in the wake of entrenched hardship and extreme poverty among Liberians. The cost of living remains high due to the hike in the prices of basic commodities on the local market.
The high rate of unemployment in the post-conflict nation as a result of investment drought has jeopardized the already harsh constraints the citizens, particularly those residing in the leeward areas are faced with.
The accumulation of ill-gotten and questionable wealth by some public officials continue to ring bell in the ears of the locals and send a signal that their present living condition is far from being improved.