The Upcoming Liberian Benevolent Dictator


The future of democracy, accountability, and governance hangs on the outcome of the December 8, 2020 senatorial elections. The mid-term electoral process which concerns half of the Senate will tilt the balance of power in the Senate. President George Weah’s administration could come out embolden, if it wins the majority and especially the races in Montserrado, Nimba and Bassa counties. A victory, however small, will  give Weah a “mandate.”

By Abdoulaye W. Dukulé, [email protected], Contributing Writer

The December 8 process is also a “do or die” exercise for the opposition, especially the four parties forming the CPP, UP, LP, ANC, ALP. If for any reason, the CPP were to come short, any aspiration to defeat the Weah administration in 2023 will be a pipe dream. In a political landscape where innovative ideas and ideologies are lacking, the process is more or less a beauty contest. With cash and rice.

For the people of Liberia, the outcome of December 8 is even more important. Today, on social media, I listened with great concerns to the Minister of Finance, Hon. Samuel Tweah saying that people should vote for CDC candidates because the only way the country can develop is to make Weah a “benevolent dictator,”-exact words- so that the President could carry out projects as he feels, without anyone checking.

This is bad on several levels. First, Tweah is breaking the law by openly campaigning while serving as an official of the government. Second, it is dangerous because it comes from the man who holds the purse of the nation.

However, the biggest danger is an open threat to democracy. Liberia has lived under autocracy, one way or the other since anyone can remember. President William Tubman who stayed in power for close to three decades was the archetype of autocracy. After him, the country found itself stranded in a culture of bad governance, corruption, and nepotism.

Ten percent of Liberia’s population got killed because the country was trying to free itself from the scourges of autocracy. Calling on Liberians to vote for legislators to turn Weah into a “benevolent dictator” is at best a reckless statement. This makes it compelling for the opposition to win and for Liberians to vote for those who want to preserve democracy.

December 8 is an important date. The future of democracy depends on it. Tweah is not just anyone in the Weah administration. If he is dreaming about turning the already overwhelming presidency into a dictatorship, well, that maybe the plan being discussed. It must be stopped.