Former Weah Running Mate Decries ‘Corrupt, Incompetent Leadership’

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Calls on Incoming Leadership to Convene National Conference of Citizens at Home and Abroad to Fix Liberia

J. Rudolph Johnson, former Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs, broke his silence on Saturday, October 7, when he called upon the incoming government of Liberia to consider organizing and convening as soon as possible a National Conference of Liberians from all walks of life and from all parts of the world.

Addressing the 2017 Conference of the National Association of Cape Mountainians in the Americas in Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Johnson observed that Liberia was currently facing three major crises, which needed to be addressed and resolved at once to get the country moving on a solid path to sustainable peace and development.

Liberia’s identity crisis, moral decay, and incompetent and corrupt leadership, he stated, were mainly responsible for the country having now become the fourth poorest in the world and one of the most corrupt in Africa.

In an hour-long discourse, Mr. Johnson, who during 2005 presidential elections served as running mate to George M. Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change, regretted the fact that after all these years, Liberians still did not seem to be a united people with a common destiny. He also decried the moral breakdown in religious institutions, state, and society, as reflected in Liberia’s current high crime rate, ranging from child abuse and rape to armed robbery and human sacrifice.

Regarding the leadership crisis, he blamed ECOWAS and the International Contact Group on Liberia for mishandling the end of the 2003 Accra Peace Conference by ill-advisedly conferring power on the warlords and their accomplices whom they saw as the key stakeholders of Liberia.

He also took the peace brokers to task for claiming the 2005 election “free, fair, and transparent,” for then pressuring George Weah to abandon his challenge of the election result, and for finally declaring Charles Taylor’s cohort and chief financial backer, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as winner of the presidency.

Mr. Johnson said the new regime inaugurated in 2006 “was not a messiah coming to save, unite, and rebuild Liberia, but a fox that was put in charge of the hen house, with deadly consequences for the Liberian people. Taking the support of the international community as a license to pillage and plunder with impunity, they proceeded to install a governing contraption consisting of family, cronies, business partners, and lackeys.”

Minister Johnson believed much of the leadership problems could have been avoided had the Liberians in the Diaspora been more active in the Liberian peace process. In this regard, he criticized Liberian county associations in the American Diaspora for failing to unite “under one umbrella” to enable them “think with one mind and speak with one voice.”

He further lamented that because the thousands of Liberian intellectuals, technicians and other professionals in the Diaspora had not placed themselves in a position to play any role, much less a decisive one, at the final Peace Conference in Accra, the international community ignored them altogether and went with the warlords and their accomplices.

Invoking the wisdom of three philosophers (Descartes, “I think therefore I am”; Bergson, “think like men of action and act like men of thought”; and St. Anselm, on exercising our God-given freedom of choice), Ambassador Johnson called on the incoming government to convene a national conference as soon as possible for what he called a “constructive dialogue” on ways to address the problems facing the nation.

Such a conference, he said,  should be attended by Liberians from all walks of life and from all parts of the world, and should be designed to draw up an ambitious agenda for the creation of a new united republic, committed to securing the best interest and welfare of all Liberians.

Provisional topics for discussion and critical issues for decision at the proposed national conference, he suggested, may include the following: To define and establish a unique composite Liberian identity (including matters of culture, arts and symbolism), with a view to ending all tribal, ethnic, Congo-Country conflicts, and to guarantee all Liberians the full enjoyment of their rights as citizens and not as foreigners in their own land; to devise concrete ways of repairing the broken moral fabric of Liberia, requiring all Liberian families and institutions (schools, churches, mosques, governmental organizations, etc.) to participate in such a venture, starting with the leaders of church, state, and society, since the fish starts rotting from the head; to review and assess the stewardship of past administrations, especially the most recent, to hold them accountable for any wrongdoings and to avoid repeating their crimes of commission and omission. In this regard, also devise new ways of choosing national leaders by requiring, inter alia, concrete evidence of their moral integrity, citizenship, academic qualifications and life experiences, to confirm their readiness to properly manage the affairs of the Republic; and to study and evaluate the efficacy of our current political and economic systems and determine what changes should be made to better meet the needs of the people in the rural areas.

In conclusion, Minister J. Rudolph Johnson declared, “Indeed, my friends, we can do this. We can fix our country, not having to wait for others to do it for us. The Americans, Chinese, Europeans, Arabs, Jews, even the Nigerians, and Ghanaians are sick and tired of our excessive dependency. So let us wake up now and see the light. It is time to do the right thing for our children and grandchildren. Our people are waiting and the whole world is watching. What shall we do?”

Authors

20 COMMENTS

    • Please this shouldn’t be about Weah! (I’m not Weah’s Supporter). Cleaning the house should start with him. Now, let’s begin questioning his (Amb. Johnson’s Judgement) when he patronized Weah as running mate.

  1. The former ambassador, J. Rudolph Johnson makes the point that there’s too much incompetence in Liberia. I think that Johnson is on the ball with all intents and purposes. To be blunt, the blame for such incompetence must and should rest on the back of the first female president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
    Take a glimpse at some areas of gross incompetence in Liberia:
    # Most streets have no yellow line dividers.
    # Most market houses have no toilets.
    # Bike riders wear no caps for protection against head injuries.
    # Most schools have no dictionaries or encyclopedias.
    # Most schools have no toilets for staff and students.
    # There’s theft and incompetence in the ranks of most cabinet ministers. The list is sadly endless.
    # Some Liberians think that Ghana is heaven, when in fact some Ghanaians are the worst of crooks.
    # Most toilets do not flush well on Capitol Hill. Rediculous!
    Yeah, a meeting must be convened. There’s a moral decadence in our country.

    God have mercy

  2. Ellen Sirleaf is incompetance at the highest order . If we think Taylor is a criminal, she’s the mother of all crime that the Liberian people had ever come to know. The double standard the West use in praising her, is just rediculeous.

    • You’re 100%right my dear..
      The west use democracy to kill us . They give Noble peace prize to someone who kills thousands of her own citizens..it’s a shame on Liberian ..and, we still have some Liberian American who don’t have the country at heart but they still support her.
      They told us, Taylor was the wrost man but,he lift the country 14 year ago but still, Liberia at mess today.

  3. Mr. Rudolph Johnson is a political prostitute, who, in like of this current status-quo, is lingering here in America, planning a “COME BACK”, to Liberian politic. Not to say the least, he is “BARKING”, to be recognize.

  4. Well said Minister Johnson. It is time for Liberians to get rid of self-center-ness ( me, myself and I) Focus on each other and move the country forward. I hope the incoming president will see reason to call a conference as Amb. Johnson stated. Very important!

  5. Boon and Zag hi there….
    Look, two of you patriotic Liberians have a valid point.
    Boon, you want to know how the message of Weah’s inability to govern effectively can be driven to the voters in Liberia. Well, if you’re out of Liberia and you know your county of origin, (I know you know that very well) text or call the Senators and Representatives. Influence their decisions to persuade people to vote Boakai. See, the sticks are too high to see this thing go in the ditch. Call your friends to let them know. As you know mighty well Boon, one vote can make a difference! Okay?

    Zag,
    Like Boon, you’re right! The referendum shouldn’t be about the excesses of Weah. So, do this if you could….
    Tell your friends and all potential voters to vote Boakai. See, if we get into ripping people into smithereens, we’ll be on a collision course. That’s not necessary at all.
    Call your friends and all you know to vote Boakai. No questions asked. Let’s not make the mistake people used to make when they said ” you killed my mommy or my daddy, I will vote for Taylor”. The voters in those days were wrong.
    Hang in there.

  6. Any body who is a patriotic Liberian will appreciate that this one of Liberia’s foremost experienced, educated, patriotic career bureaucrats that God gifted to Liberia. The Lord himself has endeavored to awaken us to his values to us by keeping him looking youthful with a view to keeping him with us until his mission of making Liberia a great self sustaining free democratic country where all will strive to build a wholesome functioning society . We should demonstrate our appreciation of this sanguine fellow compatriot by pulling together our wisdom to implement the aforementioned recommendations by Honorable J. Rudolph Johnson. We should not squander the opportunity of having the wisdom of this sage. Thanks very much Ambassador Johnson.

  7. What we must learn is to be one people. We are too divided and the politicians are trying to divide us to use us in elections. When it is time to vote, then all the divisive politics come out. The country is morally bankrupt because our future mothers and sisters are being raped by men with money. Period! Our country now sees money as everything. Our churches have sold their moral voice for money and our people are suffering.

  8. This passionate and profound plea by Hon. Rudolph Johnson for “the incoming government to consider organizing and convening as soon as possible a national conference from all walks of life and from all parts of the world to discuss moving the country on a solid path to sustainable peace and development” is one of the best proposals on the nation’s future in a very long time. But we would like to suggest that Liberia’s original cum eternal sin is “identity crisis”, to which “moral decay” and “incompetent & corrupt leaderships” are natural outcomes.

    For instance, when a psychologist says a person or something is having identity crisis, he/she means that it isn’t clear what kind of person or thing they are, or they would like to be. In essence, the person or thing is conflicted and insecure. It made perfect sense therefore that identity crisis married identity politics on July 26, 1847 to unilaterally declare independence (UDI); and during the TWP – Tubman hegemony formed an oligarchy that moved away from the quasi broad – based party politics then in existence. Of course, by now, every college kid at home knows that Tolbert, despite an enlightened outlook, was entrapped in the mostly despised political maze he inherited.

    It is for this reason collectively we should consider the former foreign minister’s reasoned appeal for a national dialogue instead of flogging ourselves into inertia over the byproducts of an ancient failure to create a nation state (an inclusive political habitat) out of the land aptly called Liberia. Not to mention that our long history hasn’t produced many competent and incorruptible leaders to be role models by which to compare and contrast. This is not to imply that citizens need foils to judge or hold politicians accountable. What it urges though is that we quickly make the systematic and institutional adjustments to bring about real change starting 2018 rather than swallowing unachievable policy doses from politicians.

    Put another way, what this comment seeks in addition to echoing the author’s resonating appeal is that we must go back to basics: Reconcile and develop by making every citizen a stakeholder in Liberia’s prosperity and security. Anyway, with a presidential rerun in the offing, and jockeying going on for eleventh hour mergers which involves bargaining for lucrative jobs, we wonder whether there is any political will to listen to any extraneous proposal now, or after the presidency is won.

    Nice try, Brother Rudolph Johnson, however, the logic of your insightful take and the sincerity of purpose may persuade the incoming powers – that – be. We pray that it does. Because Liberians can’t wish away an original perennial sin of “identity crisis” which has polarized the nation, cost us lives, treasures, and our humanity to truly call each other “neighbor”, or be a “brother’s keeper”. No wonder words like faith, hope, and love, respectively, in and for country, seem bereft of meaning in our society; and the currency is who’s milking the marginalized majority’s resources or not. Seriously, a sorry situation, if you ask me.

    • Sylvester Moses
      How does a National Conference benefit Liberia when you have the same old corrupt and useless actors showing up at such conference? A National Conference is a complete waste of time and energy. Do you know how many conferences were held after the Civil War?

  9. I do not subscribe to any so called ‘National Conference.’It is another avenue that politicians want created for filling their pockets at the detriment of the suffering masses.This is no time for empty talks.Our leaders must start to manifest the confidence that we the people have reposed in them by providing those basic services and opportunities for all.Infact,what had happened to the notes from fmr Pres Taylor ALL LIBERIAN CONFERENCE?
    Remember, Liberians are very good at talking,composing, and signing documents.But implementation is the problem.I don’t think we need to burden the GAC and LACC with another investigation….Liberian Conference funds.

  10. Because, Mr. Elijah A. Barnard, what he is saying makes perfect sense: Liberia might do better if we critique messages, not criticize me messengers.

  11. Self inflated wound and Armageddon if you vote for Opong, Charles Tailor and Mrs.. Tailor the BLCKWIDOW … female spider that kills the mating partner after mating

    Vote Boika and have better future and prosperous Liberia

  12. Come together Liberians and put all selfishness aside and vote in leaders that will serve Liberia not the other way around. I am counting on you and I’m certain you will put country first by God’s assistance.

  13. Mr. Johnson have said it all, his narrative are so unique that one can tell his frustration regarding the back seats positions of Liberian abroad. During the crisis in in Liberia I came to realize that we are all talk with no actions. We heard a lot about ULAA , but during the war this organization was never heard of no longer. Mr. Johnson for your information corruption play’s a major role in the breakdown of the various Liberian community abroad, if you think it’s only in Liberia it’s happening you have got it wrong. But in my view I blame incompetent and dishonesty couple with lack of respect for one another to be a major factors in this regards.

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