Liberia: Bon Adieu, Ambassador McCarthy, and May God Bless You Plenty, Yah!

U.S Ambassador, Michael McCarthy

.... Ambassador McCarthy is right and what he has said is nothing new because others have said similar things before.  However, it is up to them to decide. Should they make the mistake of voting to power another group of power-hungry, crooked wealth-seeking individuals, they will only have themselves to blame.

That outgoing US Ambassador McCarthy is leaving Liberia with a declared strong sense of disappointment not only in the national leadership but in the country’s political class as well should constitute a wakeup call to all Liberians.

The Ambassador’s disappointment stems from the failure of past governments including this government to address the issue of corruption head-on.

Former President Sirleaf once declared corruption as public enemy number one (1). In her first inaugural address she pledged to fight corruption with every fiber of her being stressing that her declared commitment to fight corruption was not just a play to the galley.

But as it turned out she was indeed playing to the galley because by the time she completed her two terms of office, the names of family members and close associates had become enmeshed in corruption. At the end, she confessed failure, noting that corruption had morphed into what she called a “Vampire”. 

Her successor, George Weah, made a similar pledge at his inauguration. But six years down the road, that pledge has turned out to be hollow as corruption has risen to unprecedented heights.

The scale of official corruption had become so rampant that it triggered the imposition of sanctions on some officials of this government by the US Department of Treasury.

The sanctions which were imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act affected several government officials, some of who are now contesting public office. 

And to the utter disappointment of the public, political parties are including some of the sanctioned individuals on their official lists of candidates. And all have been cleared by the National Elections Commission to contest the up-coming elections.

What this clearly shows is that most politicians and political parties are interested in power only for power’s sake. This is because historically, the attainment of state power provides immediate and unfettered access to the coffers of the state, which they can pillage and plunder without remorse and, more importantly, without accountability.

This can probably explain why aspiring politicians with the exception of a few have maintained a deafening silence on their disposition to the question of accountability, especially the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

More to this, with the exception of perhaps a few parties, their quest for political office is not driven by any ideological underpinnings, neither is theirs a quest for transformation but for the sole purpose of attaining state power.

Some politicians have publicly declared that they are even prepared to dance with the devil if such will garner them the necessary votes to propel them to public office.

But lest they be deceived, dancing with the devil often comes at a high cost which can often prove to be their own undoing. The story is told of a bold and daring hunter who often boasted he could even ride the back of a leopard which he would bring alive from the bush. 

The day finally came and true to his word the hunter turned up in the village with a leopard in tow. And with the entire village watching in astonishment, he, beaming with broad smiles mounted the leopard and away they went for a joy ride.

But on return from the ride, the hunter was instead inside and the smile was on the face of the leopard. And how the villagers wept bemoaning the loss of their cherished and renowned hunter. Now they had to search anew for his replacement. 

Such can aptly be likened to those political parties who have on their slate either those who have been sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act, are linked to or are associated with sanctioned individuals.

Granted such parties are elected to office, how do they expect to deliver on promises in the face of sanctions which may more likely than not be triggered by their victory?

Already, the country’s economy is in a downward spiral with the rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar and ever increasing prices of commodities on the local market. Any government coming to power would, without question, need/require the support of the international community.

And it will be delusional to expect that election to public office by hook or crook will confer legitimacy because, in the eyes of the public and the international donor community, such individuals are despised and are unworthy of public trust and undeserving of resources financed by their tax payers. 

These are all reasons why Liberians should subject all those seeking elected office to rigid public scrutiny. While there appears to be a general consensus that widespread corruption under this government will undermine its chances at the polls.

Yet, there are strong indications that some Liberian political actors appear prepared to embrace another populist just as corrupt, weak, and ineffectual as the outgoing.

And it is not that they do not know any better; they know what they are doing because they know better. It is all about Power, an undying greed for power, nothing more.

Ambassador McCarthy is right and what he has said is nothing new because others have said similar things before. 

More to that, ordinary Liberians know Ambassador McCarthy’s observations are correct and true because they are of it, they feel it and they live it daily.

However, it is up to them to decide. Should they make the mistake of voting to power another group of power-hungry, crooked wealth-seeking individuals, they will only have themselves to blame.

And as Ambassador McCarthy pointed out, unless Liberians address the issue of corruption and its prevalence, this country might find it difficult to attract foreign investment.

But what do these aspiring politicians care anyway? With or without foreign investment, the national coffers will still be at their disposal. They will eat their fill, throw crumbs to the masses and keep them in a state of slumber, heavily overdosed and sedated with empty slogans.

Such is the makeup, with a few exceptions, of virtually all the actors contending for the nation’s highest office. Liberians are urged to reject them at the October 10 polls.

Bon Adieu Ambassador McCarthy, and may God bless you plenty, yah.

Editor’s note:  The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and not necessarily the Daily Observer’s.