Liberia: Distancing President George Manneh Weah’s Construction of Private Mansions from National Development
By Moses Uneh Yahmia, Contributor
The observance of the Holiday Season did not stop many Liberians from using the social media to express their outcry against the obvious theft and looting spree that has overwhelmed the Weah-led government. They are puzzled by the President’s overnight acquisition of wealth amidst the daunting challenges the nation faces. Some are even drawing the conclusion that with the massive scandal that has engulfed the regime, its life span will not exceed two years. This perspective of the people is a slap in the face of the cynics in government who echoed the lies that the ruling CDC has the explicit confidence of the Liberian people and those who oppose the regime must accept that the political dynamics will remain unchanged for a very long time. The people’s consciousness is not a stagnant pond. Consciousness, as an integral part of living
For a people who witness a president treats with indifference the challenges they confront and chooses to promote his personal development, silence is not an option. For a people who struggle for a day’s meal but see their leader mysteriously acquires wealth and leads the caravan of opulent lifestyle of the few, inertia is despised and a revolutionary alternative is embraced. The people are speedily being disabused of the illusion they had in George Weah. They are now convinced that the chap lacks national consciousness and his reign represents the reemergence of an era when illiterate African dictators and despots who abused their people and turned their respective national treasuries into personal purses. To think that the people will sit in the state of apathy as Weah and his cabal plundered the resources of the country incomparably is to have a short-sighted view of the struggle of man in the historical process of humanity.
During the 2014 Special Senatorial Election, Candidate George Weah informed the nation through the National Election Commission’s Assets Declaration Form that he had a total of US$50,000.00 in his bank accounts. According to information on the declaration form, President Weah in 2014 was an owner of four properties: two in Florida, USA, one on 9th Street Sinkor, Monrovia and the other in the Rehab Community, Paynesville City. The 9th street property according to the document was valued at US$150,000.00. His Rehab Residence was valued at US$100,000.00. The property in Miami, Florida had the value of US$1.4million and the other property in the same Florida worth US$900,000.00. Fast forward to 2017, George Weah, then Senator of Montserrado County told a US’ court that he made a little over US$1000.00 as senator and could only afford to pay about US$150.00 monthly as child support fees to Madame Meapeh Gono (The mother of one of Weah’s daughters).
George Weah mismanaged the wealth he made from playing football in Europe. All the businesses he established in and out of Liberia crumbled like a house of cards. His Old School Night Club is no more. The little shop he had in Florida plunged into insolvency and was sold longtime ago. The guest house he operated on 9th Street, Sinkor collapsed and the structured was just recently demolished and rebuilt. George Weah’s Sport Store which was located on Randall Street in Monrovia is history. George Weah’s Junior Professional Football Club did not even last for more than three years. His Royal Communications Network consisting of Clar TV and Kings FM is in decay.
This man was virtually broke before he assumed the Presidency in January 2018 – thanks to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her cabal that were helpful in imposing this national tragedy on the homeland. Before Ellen Johnosn Sirleaf’s political orchestration, George Weah survived on the perks he received from the National Legislature as Senator of Montserrado County. Before becoming Senator, Weah was supported by not only the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Legislative Caucus but also Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who made him Peace Ambassador after the 2011 Presidential Election – a political appeasement which was geared towards Weah’s CDC recognizing the 2nd term of Madame Sirleaf.
So how come this man is now regarded as one of the richest African presidents after nearly one year of his presidency? How did he get the money to buy a private jet three months after his inauguration? From where did he take the money to buy hundreds of acres of land in and around Monrovia in less than a year? Where did the money come from to demolish and rebuild President Weah’s 9th Street guest house few months after taking the helm of power? Where did the money come from to recently construct the roads leading to his Rehab Paynesville residence and his Thinkers Village Jamaica Resort? Do they care to tell us the source of the millions of dollars being used to construct Weah’s modern 49units Estate off the RIA Highway? These are questions being asked by the masses of the poor but are being left unanswered as Weah and his handlers continue the wanton theft and plunder.
Instead of the anti-graft institutions such as the General Auditing Commissionm (GAC) and Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) performing their statutory mandates by investigating the overnight wealth being acquired by George Weah, they are aiding and abetting his self-enrichment by hiding his 2018 asset declaration document under the veil of the law. How come this leader who chest beats about being a transparent servant of the people now stubbornly refused to publicly declare his assets and liabilities to the public? But one does not need the perspective of a dead LACC and GAC to conclude that Weah has prioritized primitive accumulation and has deserted the collective aspiration of the people. It is obvious that Weah is engulfed in huge looting of the state coffers to feather his nest. Even the blind can see that George Weah is an irresponsible leader and a conman who is draining the public treasury for his selfish ends. This is a man with no national consciousness. He has not the mental prowess to devote his life to the people’s welfare. Thus, he will not be spared by the patriotic wrath of the masses.
The nation bleeds. The people are left forsaken. The future of posterity is bleak. The republic remains in its dark ages. The mineral and natural resources of the country are still being exploited and surplus value expatriated by foreign monopoly capital. The workers and peasants are being misused and abused and their income undermined by hyper-inflation. The masses of the poor in the urban centers who eke out a living from informal economic activities are left desolate as their sources of survival have dissipated. The people who voted the farce thought they were voting for change but on the contrary, they gave a band of thieves the chance to enrich themselves. Besides George Weah and his cabal of looters, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the one of the other few beneficiaries of this political scheme as she lavishes in her stolen wealth untouched (off course, this is the fundamental reason for which she ensured the imposition of George Weah through a fraudulent election in 2017).
In the midst of the current Liberian tragedy are the robbing carpetbaggers who are gifting George Weah with standing ovation for looting the public treasury to build his private mansions and lavish in luxury. In their attempt to pacify the unsuspecting people, they distribute falsehoods to the public that the building of exotic haciendas by President Weah is national development and that he has the country at heart because he did not carry such development to a foreign country as others have done in the past. Such an outright lie and bastardization of national leadership from these professional opportunists oblige us to deal with the question of national development in an effort to politically educate our people.
In 1978, Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr. presented a paper to the comrades at Marcus Garvey School: The paper is entitled “National Consciousness and National Development”. In that paper, Dr. Fahnbulleh defined national development as “The total development of the nation, its people, their culture and dignity. We can call this kind of development people’s development. This means that it is reflected in the material welfare of the people.” Dr. Fahanbulleh also argued that only men and women with national consciousness – the mental attitude which places the nation above all else – can ensure national development; that is, an increase in the people’s material wellbeing, a development of their culture and dignity. A man who reneges on resolving the contradictions of society but is obsessed with acquiring massive properties few months after assuming the presidency is lacking in national consciousness and cannot deliver national development. A President who sees the acquisition of a private jet as a priority while his people are caged in poverty, disease and misery has no national consciousness and cannot ensure national development.
We can go further by arguing that national development is reflected in the economic development of society. Walter Rodney, this Guyanese-African Revolutionary of glorious memory, in his book: “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” argues that “A society develops economically as its members increase jointly their capacity for dealing with the environment. This capacity for dealing with the environment is dependent on the extent to which they understand the laws of nature (science), on the extent to which they put that understanding into practice by devising tools (technology), and on the manner in which work is organized. Taking a long-term view, it can be said that there has been constant economic development within human society since the origins of man, because man has multiplied enormously his capacity to win a living from nature.”
An increase in the capacity of the people is subject to unhindered access to quality education and decent healthcare. These provide them the understanding of the laws of nature and the ability to put into practice such understanding by the making of advanced tools that are used to produce goods and services (food, shelter and clothing) for the benefit of society. So to these parasites who argue that national development can be considered as the construction of Weah’s private homes with state resources, how does this increase the people’s capacity to win a living from nature? How does such increase access to education and healthcare for our people? How does this enable our farmers in the rural areas to increase production from subsistence to surplus which can be brought to the market for exchange?
The people who spew such childish nonsense that Weah is developing Liberia because he is building private mansions with stolen state resources have only exposed their nakedness. These are the people who relish an era when plunder and waste are the order of the day. They take advantage of such condition to also enrich themselves at the expense of our people. And when the people ignite the flames of resistance, the indecent hangers-on are seen nowhere around the leader who they have misled. They did such to the True Whig Party (TWP) oligarchy in 1980. Some of them stood before the military tribunal and called Tolbert a crazy man. By 1988, all the sycophants who misguided Samuel K. Doe had escaped from Liberia. Doe was left all alone to be butchered by Prince Johnson in 1990. Today, Charles Taylor is alone in his disgusting and uncomfortable jail cell in Great Britain. Some of those who sang his praises when he abused our people and exploited the resources of the country now distance themselves from the war crime convict. So we know that those who see nothing wrong with George Weah draining the state coffers to feather his nest will be nowhere around to save him from the patriotic wrath of the people.
In Conclusion, the looting of the public treasury to build luxurious estates and lavish in opulence is not national development but development at the level of the individual which implies an increased in Weah’s material well-being and not the material well-being of the nation and its people. Such development only benefits Weah and his family and can never be reflected in the material condition of the masses of the poor. Such development of Weah’s material welfare is being resented by patriots because it comes at the expense of the suffering people of Liberia. Patriots are not angry because of envy and hate as the parasites make it to appear. No man who loves his country and people will sit idle and allow a President to enrich himself while the people fruitlessly wander around for healthcare, education and other basic necessities.
The determination of President Weah to continuously loot the resources of the people for his personal benefit and thinks that he will go with impunity is a failed ambition. He has shown all signs of creating the objective conditions for a social revolution and this can be clearly seen in the anger and frustration of the masses in the metes and bounds of the country. And this inevitable revolution is obliged to transform all stolen wealth into national development which places emphasis on the social transformation of the people, their culture and dignity. One way that can be done is to confiscate the villas of George Weah and put them at the service of our dedicated teachers, senior doctors and experienced nurses. They will be given out as housing facilities to our doctors and nurses as they provide decent healthcare for our people. Our teachers will live in them to focus and provide quality education to the people’s children. Our medical students will reside in them so that they study in a decent environment and graduate from medical college with flying colors to cater to the health needs of our people. George Weah, you are going nowhere with this charade! History will have its last laugh on you!
Moses Uneh Yahmia is a graduate of the Department of Political Science, University of Liberia. He is also a staunch member of the emerging Movement for Social Democratic Alternative (MOSODA). He can be reached via [email protected]