Chronicle of a Hypocritical Nation: A Glimpse at the Duplicity of People Critical of Weah’s Leadership
When fallacies and flawed narratives cloud the truth, perception becomes a reality, and all is lost. This is the unfortunate case of Liberia, a nation of contradictions and misconceptions. Liberia has a deep-rooted social structured hierarchy. Those who find themselves in the lowest level of the hierarchical structure are often treated as second class citizens. Many of them dare not venture into a particular area or hang around certain individuals. They are usually overlooked, and sometimes their rights are violated by people of the upper hierarchy with impunity.
Today, the current government comprises of many young people who came from the lowest level of the structured social hierarchy in Liberia. This is unprecedented and never heard of in the history of Liberia. Could this be the reason why many of the political elites are making every effort to remove or undermine the current administration? While it is true that there are challenges of incompetence and corruption in the current administration, it is not a unique phenomenon.
Liberia has always struggled with the issue of bad governance, tribalism, incompetence, and corruption. There are audit reports and dossiers that reveal gross human rights violations, and rampant corruption in the previous governments. Unfortunately, we tend to deliberately misdiagnose the country’s numerous challenges by reinforcing selective lies and biases of government and people who don’t form part of our circle. We claimed to want the best for Liberia, but in actuality, we are only seeking a chance to benefit from the system that we stood against.
Today, vices that were treated as a usual trend under previous regimes are treated with widespread condemnation. When former President Sirleaf was in power, there were a lot of challenges her government faced even with the outpouring of over $16 billion direct foreign investment. The Sirleaf’s administration was engaged in wasteful spending and an unprecedented level of rampant corruption that went unnoticed for over a decade. Interestingly enough, some of the people that are criticizing the Weah led administration were benefactors of the corrupt system, yesterday.
In 2011, the General Auditing Commission (GAC) audit report indicated that the former Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai, was involved in a fraudulent rice transaction with the Supplying West Africa Traders (SWAT). The defense ministry signed a $282,000.00 disbursement voucher for The Supplying West Africa Traders (SWAT) for the purchase of 9,400 bags of rice for soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). According to the GAC audit report, only 800 bags of rice were delivered. The defense minister was never fired or reprimanded for his corrupt dealings. In fact, he served his position until Madam Sirleaf’s tenure ended.
The stepson of President Sirleaf, Fumba Sirleaf, who was the National Security Agency (NSA) boss, has been implicated in numerous corruption cases. In 2014, Mr. Sirleaf and a Lebanese man named Nasser Aly was accused of robbing $284,300.00 from some Korean businessmen. 2011 audit report noted that the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) made bogus payment under “donation” to Mr. Fumba Sirleaf.
The General Audit Commission (GAC) audit report further noted that the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) paid the late, Dr. Edward McClain, former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, US $2000.00 for what it termed as “professional service.” Article 90: (b) of the Constitution of Liberia states that “No person holding office shall demand and receive any other perquisites, payments or benefits, directly or indirectly, on the amount of any duty required by Government.” It was obvious that some members of President Sirleaf’s inner-circle blatantly violate the law with impunity.
The audit of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) also revealed diverse patterns of corruption. In one of the audit conclusions, it was noted that the former Director-General of LCAA, Richelieu A. Williams, paid himself $64,833.00 for the purchase of a vehicle and a generator. The General Audit Commission also accused Director-General of running what they term as a “Susu Club”. According to the GAC audit report, Mr. Williams loaned $ 80,000.00 to Mr. Nyanquoi T. Johnson and $5652.00 to himself for the purchase of a plane ticket. All of these financial improprieties were overlooked or dismissed when they surfaced. The same benefactors that are damning President Weah today aggressively defended and normalized corruption.
Incompetence was rampant under the Sirleaf administration, but her government managed to minimize its effect by paying millions of taxpayers money on lobbying and public relations. One notable incident of incompetence that became a national embarrassment was announced by Ellen Corkrum. During a town hall, Corkrum revealed the incident that caused the death of a Guinean army general and ten other officials, who were coming to attend an Armed Forces Day celebration. Due to the Sirleaf government failure to install a”Navigation Safety Device” and other emergency equipment, the Guinean military aircraft crashed and everyone on board burned.
In spite of all the problems and controversies, the Sirleaf government was faced with, the thought of her forceful or early removal from office was not aggressively pursued like the way some of the political elites are attempting to overthrow this government. No patriotic Liberian will ignore the vices of this government. However, we must be fair with ourselves and the country. The current deplorable economic situation that we are experiencing was not caused by this administration. The failure of the Weah led the government to initiate an immediate audit of all ministries and agencies when they took over will continue to haunt this administration. Many of the challenges the CDC government is experiencing can be traced back to Sirleaf’s poor handling of the state of affairs of Liberia. It is only through collective efforts we all can help rebuild Liberia. Allowing our nation to fail for political purposes is not a wise strategy. #Strongertogether, we can #SavetheState.