LIBERIA: ‘THE REAL LOSERS AND WINNERS OF JUNE 7″
For those who are fixated on the LOSS and WIN dichotomy, here are the real LOSERS and WINNERS of the ongoing protests against President George Weah and his CDC-led government.
The biggest loser of all is the man behind the brand “George Weah”. A man who dedicated his whole life to build this brand based on hard work and sacrifice. The brand “George Weah” has become synonymous to success especially in the world of football (soccer). To let this brand being dragged in the mud by the same international media that built it decades ago is a complete lost opportunity. Anybody with some knowledge of global affairs, knows that the international media will only continue to dig deeper for more evidence to substantiate all of the allegations put forward by the Council Of Patriots (COP) and disenfranchised Liberians until they bury the brand “George Weah”. Remember that there are plenty of examples around about the role of the international media in challenging despots! Weah has scored an OWN GOAL, to contextualize it in a language he understands!
The second loser is the CDC – a party that promised freedom, development and inspired the youth and mainly the poor whilst in opposition. Like Weah, the CDC professes of being synonymous to the plight of the “downtrodden”, a term her partisans have thrown around loosely since 2005. The party promised HOPE and won a crucial election she did not deserve by defying the odds mainly because of the “George Weah” brand. However, the CDC’s past 18 months in power have shown that the party herself is unprepared, as Weah, to govern or even match her own successes in opposition. The party’s militant, unstructured, raw and carefree tactics in opposition have all failed miserably to materialise in government. Most importantly, the continued cry of hardship/suffering by the party’s own support-base who promoted and joined the ongoing protests is a loss to the CDC’s true values and future in Liberian politics. However, rather than listen, the CDC has continued to turn a deaf ear to the plight of the people, marginalising not only the masses but her own educated and experienced support-base in exchange of militant and die-hard loyalists to George Weah- a kick in her own backyard!
In relation to the WINNERS, the COP and the Liberian people take the lead. The COP
promised, planned and executed a nonviolent protest on June 7, despite the CDC-led government’s fearmongering propaganda about chaos, insecurity and even a return to war. It suffice to say that more Liberians will join the protests in coming days, weeks, months or even years given the unprecedented success of June 7. Many, including like-minded Liberians, the UN, AU, ECOWAS, and the international media have praised the COP and Liberian people for their peaceful nature on June 7. This model will inspire others and could be replicated across the subregion and even on the African continent at large. Whether or not the protests will be peaceful as June 7 going forward remains a question in every analyst’s mind! Watch the space!
There is another obvious winner. Henry Costa! As the George Weah brand is being dragged in the mud by the international media, another brand is being hailed by the international media, in Henry Costa. The “Henry Costa” brand, especially in the last decade, has become synonymous with advocacy, bravery, voice of the voiceless, patriotism, standing up for the truth, popularity with ordinary Liberians and even controversy. Despite losing a parliamentary election in 2017 (his first attempt), Henry Costa continues to fire up to the powers that be, exposing corruption, bad governance, incompetence and the “big man politics” on his popular weekly morning radio program branded, “The Costa Show”. His revelations of corruption in government/ public service put the entire country to halt week mornings with Liberians in diaspora communities also keenly following happenings at home. Henry Costa was recently dubbed “HERO” marking his monumental return to Liberia from the United States of America when thousands of people took to the streets of Monrovia in his honour. The city was locked down for hours. It’s evident that many people who go on to do well in politics usually lose their first election attempts! Watch out for Henry Costa!
The final winner is Hon Yekeh Kolubah. Like him or not, no Liberian whether in government or opposition can deny his unprecedented approach in parliament. From past to present, the Liberian parliament has been, by and large, a place of self-interest, corruption, rubber-stamp decisions, bad laws, carefree concession agreements, unjustified salaries/ benefits and a place where supposed men and women of honour turn puppets to sitting presidents dubbing them the term “Dishonourables”. However, Hon Yekeh Kolubah continues, despite this toxic culture, to challenge the presidency of George Weah and the compromises of his colleagues forcing their hands to do the right thing. This brave move has come with embarrassments, death threats, unjustified lawsuits, house arrests, arrests, summons, unjustified search of his home, threats of impeachment, withholding of his salaries/ benefits, arrests of his bodyguards amongst others. That said, Hon Yekeh Kolubah has won himself a support-base amongst ordinary Liberians that may stay true to him or even his brand for decades.
In conclusion, the ongoing protests are a complete lost opportunity for Weah and his CDC-led government. The wide coverage of the international media about the protests is hurting Weah and this may go a long way. The protests will continue to expose Weah and his government which is exactly what the COP, Liberian people, Henry Costa and Hon Yekeh Kolubah are pressing on for. Weah and the CDC’s stubbornness is a big win for them! Watch the space!