Liberians Will Have to Grow Out of the Dependency Mentality
Just days ago, I wrote that Liberia was losing control of its affairs, by allowing foreign diplomats to be arbiters of national political disputes. This is something that the Council of Churches, the Muslim Council and the Traditional Council should do. Of course, we miss Bishop Michael Francis, Sheikh Kafumba Konneh, Chief Jallah Long. And the voices of all those progressists of the past years, when they inspired our generation. If foreign diplomats take the lead in resolving Liberian issues, stakeholders will soon start talking to their fellow Liberians through foreign diplomats.
I served as diplomat in Washington, DC and in Abidjan. I cannot imagine any of my colleagues in those posts speaking out loudly about issues in those countries. That’s not what diplomats do. They represent foreign nations. They cannot solve problems they don’t understand!
There is nothing wrong with diplomats interacting with state actors who are interlocutors. And the state had its designated officials to deal with foreign missions. We miss Baccus Matthews, Cecile Dennis and the voice of Wallace. The number one rule of diplomacy is discretion. The more visible and powerful foreign diplomats become, the weaker the government will appear. And soon CoP will start dealing with them rather than petition the government. Maybe a good thing… people may get their salaries!
There is no national emergency that necessitates the issuance of a press release on national issues by four big foreign missions. Because of their weight, they would be more efficient if they were doing their work in the background and let Liberians take credit for the positives. But being the ultimate agenda setters, they eclipse both government and opposition. Democracy will suffer.
There is no war in Liberia and Liberians will not go to war because they want to protest. They have issues to discuss with their government. In democracy, in Paris, Dakar, Honk Kong, Washington, D.C. people make pan-carts and take to the streets. It’s a medium through which people negotiate with their government. Of course, some people think and believe that CDC won elections because they took to the streets so many times!
When Liberians were dying like flies, it was a group of Liberians who sat together under the banner of the Interfaith Religious Committee and drew a plan for the return of sanity and the end of the war. That peace plan was never compromised until the end of the war and it was never negotiated away. Then they called on ECOWAS for help. That’s how it should be.
When the same diplomats published a letter about government going into their accounts, I said that if they were in some other countries, they would have been sent out.
Liberians will have to grow out of the dependency mentality that has engulfed the nation as a by-product of the war.
Time to hit the reset button.