Liberia’s Weah a Pond or Conduit for the Protection of Others


The Editor,

Let me run my mouth small-small on this failed and fake democracy we have in Liberia.

Once upon a time a country was “founded” in West Africa by former black slaves from America 174 years ago that was to be to Africa what Japan Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea are in Asa today, Africa’s Shinning Star of a democracy and economic miracle. But something big went horribly wrong and we have not found our bearing since going on 200 years now.

The first big mistake in setting up this model of American style democracy was perhaps, like in America and on paper, ALL citizens are equal until it comes to practicality. A US Supreme Court Chief Justice Tanney said then the clause that “all men are created equal” did not apply or include blacks or slaves. In Liberia, since this was black on black so a distinction had to be made between “Americo-Liberians” and natives or tribal Liberians.

For tribal Liberians it meant taxation without representation and the denial of the right to form a political party, let alone the right to vote or run/hold public office for over 100 years. And this was supposed to be Africa’s first imported “democracy” from America. And in democracy, you would think the majority would rule. In Liberia natives constitute 95 percent of the population going back 200 years to this day.

And if that degradation and marginalization was not enough, our brethren from America took it a step further by forcing tribal Liberians into becoming the equivalent of “human horses/donkeys” where natives were forced at gunpoint to carry/tote the settlers on their heads in hammocks throughout the rest of the country where the government had neglected to build roads in order to collect the dreaded “hut tax” imposed on the natives.

But still that was not enough again for the “Christian freed slave settlers or Americo-Liberians”: In order to expand the economy due to revenue shortfalls, the settlers cleverly decided to sell thousands of natives to the Spanish and Portuguese plantation of Fernando Po, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde for $20.00 per native. And natives were selling like hot cakes or like a cattle rancher would auction off his animals, in their thousand…all in the name of democracy. And the vestiges of this failed and fake democracy are still inherent in present day Liberia regardless who is at the wheels. Once a mind is contaminated or brainwashed, no “sanitizer” can clean a wasted mind.

Fast forward from 1822 to 1980 to 2020, it is the same darn game but with some native players who have clinched on to the old ways of the settlers: corruption, injustice, human rights abuses, hanging on to power by any means necessary, violent rebellion, bloody coups, civil wars and the whole nine yards. This is where we find ourselves today in Liberia. Weah is simply a pond or conduit for the protection of others. She he is copying their ways. I don’t blame him. The system is rotten to the core and from the beginning.

I totally abhor and reject this notion or fallacy of rebranding old rotten wine in new bottles through fake elections regardless what brand name it carries. We are simply recycling inept and corrupt Liberians because of our failure to build genuine democratic institutions to weed out fllunkies. And therefore the cycles are repeated every 4, 6, and 9 years with the same results: official licenses to steal, commit crimes including murders in the pseudo name “democracy” and running of a government. 

Our politicians, knowing there will be no accountability for their criminality, are emboldened and notorious in promising our gullible angry, justice-deprived, democracy-hungry citizenry and voters a pie in the sky, the ever elusive utopian democratic society that we have been chasing with tears, blood and deaths for early 200 years now.

They always promised to deliver us Heaven but only deliver us in HELL, with lies dripping from their lips with words of nullification and hyprocratization. We are still chasing after our Heaven but they easily find theirs right after taking office. 

How we navigate these treacherous political times with a collapsing economy exacerbated by a global declining economy made possible by the killer Coronavirus may be the last straw that will break the camel’s back. Is the Emperor naked or with clothes on? He/she thinks she/he has clothes on.

I am not betting my money again on 2023 because I end up the loser each time as in April 1979, April 1980, November 1985, December 1989, June 2003, October 2005, November 2011 and November 2017. No betting on 2023 in this failed and fake democracy. This bubble may or may not burst but it depends on the Captain of the Ship. But clearly, the boat is taking water. Just a thought and not a sermon. 

Jerry Wehtee Wion
[email protected]
Washington, DC, USA