Liberia: Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe Blames Ex-President Sirleaf for Bad Governance, Corruption Under Current Administration

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MONROVIA – Presidential aspirant Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe has blamed former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the current level of hardship, extreme poverty, and bad governance the nation and its citizens are encountering under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government of President George Manneh Weah due to her decision taken in to prioritize her personal interest over the interest and well-being of Liberia and its citizenry.

Counselor Gongloe is the Standard Bearer of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP), and the former President emeritus of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA).

Madam Sirleaf of the Unity Party, did not support her longtime friend, who served as Vice President for 12, Joseph Nyuma Boakai in the 2017 general and presidential elections. She covertly supported George Manneh Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor as President and Vice President respectively.

The decision was made following the reported rejection of few personalities Madam Sirleaf proposed to serve as running mate by Mr. Boakai and other hierarchies, and the high level of gross disrespect shown her by some former executives of the party.

According to Counselor Gongloe, Madam Sirleaf should bear about 90% responsibility of the societal ills, vices and bad governance that the nation and its citizens are experiencing due to the manner and form in which she endorsed and paved the way for President Weah to excel to the Presidency at the time he was “inexperience and ill-prepared.”

He made these assertions in an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa via telephone recently.

The issues

Cllr. Gongloe pointed out that as a result of Madam Sirleaf’s action, multiple vices and ill-advised actions are presently strangulating the growth and development of the nation and its citizens.

He pointed out as a case in point, the recent amendment of the act which established the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to prevent the entity from being robust in the combat against corruption.

He disclosed that new law makes it difficult to name and shame public officials and individuals accused of corruption in post-conflict Liberia.

“One of the methods of fighting corruption is naming and shaming; so when the LACC started doing that,  the Executive sent a new law that effectively dismisses those who were fighting corruption in a robust manner.”

Counselor Gongloe made specific reference to Section 10.9 of the document

Amongst other things, Section 10.9 prohibits the LACC from informing the public about undergoing investigation of individuals accused of corruption and set aside dismissal for anyone, including commissioners and others caught or found liable of divulging contents of ongoing investigations on corruption.

But Cllr. Gongloe observed that the move made by the Executive branch, headed by President Weah to request and ensure the amendment of the LACC Act barely few weeks after the Minister of Agriculture and the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Counselor Davidetta Browne-Lasannah were linked to acts of corruption by the commission, makes the fight against the menace to be a “secret”.

He maintained that the move also undermines the combat against corruption, which continues to deprive Liberia and its citizens their just share of the country’s wealth and resources.

“President Weah is not prepared to fight corruption; it’s not going to change today or tomorrow. It is good for the United States to continue to do what it is doing by plucking out the most corrupt officials from the government because, it provides the opportunity for President Weah to replace them for his government to still function and receive from the US. The process of combating corruption is not a political issue. Nobody in this country, including people in CDC wants corruption to continue.”

He observed that a devastated health sector prompted rise in infant mortality, multiple deaths from curable diseases and illnesses, the growing wave of mysterious deaths involving high profile citizens, including auditors, the escalation of violent crimes, human trafficking due to harsh economic constraints, and hardship are other vices that remain visible in Liberia.

Cllr. Gongloe added that since the CDC-led government came to power, Liberia is yet to score passing grades for its eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) of the United States government.

For four years now, Liberia has flopped to meet internationally accepted human development standards to benefit from several millions of dollars under the Compact.

“Liberians are living far below the human development standards expected in the world war because of bad governance and stealing. The resources of this country have been stolen by less than 2% of the population of Liberia that find themselves in certain positions in government that obligates them to control our resources and release them for our protection and welfare. But they are not doing so; they are building houses and mansions even over the graves of their deceased parents.”

He stressed that all of these acts continue to “multiple poverty in Liberia”, and as such, Madam Sirleaf should also take the responsibility of what is transpiring in the country.

“Anywhere were poverty is multiplied, disenchantment development because, hungry man is an angry man. More people are hungry in this country now. The level of anger is high.”

Counselor Gongloe stated that the severity of hunger in the post-conflict nation is also contributing to the high level of intolerance and the escalation of violent crimes.

He further pointed to disunity and the lack of reconciliation among vast majority of Liberians as other issues that are yet to be addressed under the present administration.

According to him, President Weah has not done enough to reconcile Liberians as evidenced by the growing number of interests and needs among public officials

“This country is in deep trouble and risk internal crisis and that why we want Liberians to remain patient and resolve these issues once and for all on election day in 2023  because we don’t want coup d’état, civil war, interim government or anything that will bring war. We want formal transition of government through the democratic process.”

Lifting Weah’s Hands

Counselor Gongloe claimed that societal ills and vices spoken against by Madam Sirleaf were visible in her government, including nepotism and corruption.

He stressed that the current administration is trending similar path of Madam Sirleaf.

He added that Madam Sirleaf also set a “low standard” when she supported Weah to excel to the Liberian presidency.

“Madam Sirleaf said she will fight corruption, but she made corruption a vampire instead of fighting corruption. The way to change anything is by your conduct but her business interest and other reasons made her not to fight corruption. If she had govern in her first term as though she doesn’t want a second term and just be straight to fighting corruption, Liberian people were ready to get rid of corruption but she was not ready to fight corruption.”

 “Because of the low governance standard she set, people like Weah who had no experience and was not prepared to govern just used their popularity to come to power. If she has raised the bar so high, Weah could never have run. Yes, I agree with citizens that she bears over big or over 90% responsibility. She lifted George Weah’s hand in Gbarnga during the Vision 2030 conference and she said ‘Weah is 90% ready to lead.”

Cllr. Gongloe claimed that though many Liberians did not share and embrace the view of Madam Sirleaf at the time, she went ahead and took President Weah to form part of a ground breaking ceremony for a road construction in the same county, leaving her VP in the cold.

He noted that Madam Sirleaf’s action at the time was a clear show of embracing and “turning over power to Weah” when her Vice President Boakai was running in the same elections.

“She (Ellen) knew that Weah was not prepared to lead; he did not have the education, experience and composure to lead. All that it takes-I don’t care you can have a PhD, you need some experience in governance.”

Why Ellen supported Weah?

Counselor Gongloe maintained that the decision by Madam snubbed to support President Weah over her longtime buddy and Vice President was based upon the fear that Mr. Boakai was poised to see “whether skeletons were in her closet” when elected President.

He disclosed that the fear factor which gripped the former Liberian leader was substantiated based upon her actions to also prosecute the former head of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), Charles Gyude Bryant for alleged acts of corruption.

Counselor Gongloe was serving as Solicitor General of Liberia at the time the decision was taken by Madam Sirleaf.

“Former President Sirleaf prosecuted a former Head of State. She felt that it was possible that many of the people supporting Boakai was openly accusing her of corruption and she never wanted for her and any of her family members to be disgraced through trying to hold her accountable. And George Weah openly said ‘I will protect the President and her family members’.”

He said Madam Srleaf did not take into consideration the interest of Liberia and the masses when she supported the ascendancy of Weah to the presidency in 2017, but she prioritized “her personal interest and supported Weah..”

Don’t make same mistake

Meanwhile, Counselor Gongloe has called on Liberians not to make similar mistake of “electing somebody who has never served anywhere in the executive branch of government,” adding that, “it is the executive branch that runs the presidency.

He said working in government should not be a “child mentoring center” for those serving at the highest level and as such, Liberians should desist providing political support to others who have not served in the executive.

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