The World Has Finally Found Out

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By a Special Correspondent

For most of the last 12 years, contradiction has characterized the difference between the way the world has viewed Liberia and its highly esteemed leader, versus the view Liberians have of their own country, government and President.

But that gap seems to be closing.

Quite a rosy picture of peace, progress and development has characterized the outside world’s impression of Liberia, courtesy of lofty speeches and glowing reports, and evidenced no doubt by equally glowing accolades, beginning with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

Surely, the international community has showered tremendous goodwill upon Liberia, pre- and post-Ebola. The last reported figure of US $16 billion represents the amount of aid this country has received over the duration of this administration.

At the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told the world body, “Liberia is YOUR success story.” Tears on cue and all, her presentation was well received.

Journalists accompanying the President to New York included the BBC’S Liberia correspondent Jonathan Paye-Layleh, who found a few carefully selected Liberians in the Diaspora to venerate the President.  Sirleaf had done her best under the circumstances, they said, citing 12 years of peace and a few newly built roads.

That view from the Diaspora was very rosy and very forgiving, as it has been over the last 12 years, but also very far from reality.

All of a sudden, in the twinkle of an eye, the cameras zoomed in on the occasion of these historic elections and the picture has dramatically changed. The brutal, glaring unforgiving truth has finally surfaced, and it is ugly.

Liberians on the ground were 12 years pregnant with silent grief, and are poised to deliver. Liberians opened their doors and lifted the carpet for the international community to see. And there was absolutely nothing Mr. Paye-Layleh could do to stop his own employers from seeing and hearing the bitter truths. A lot of assumptions had been made.  Sirleaf co-Laureate Leymah Gbowee told the BBC that because the two had shared the prize, Madam Sirleaf was automatically considered a feminist.  “President Sirleaf,”  Gbowee said emphatically,  “is a politician, whose policies were only intended to suit her own political gain.” A scathing criticism, were we to describe it.

Other Liberian activists for various societal ills also told the BBC what was really unfolding on the ground — ‘zogos’, a poor education system, a failed healthcare system, massive unemployment, and the list goes on.

Market women told the BBC the country’s economy was unbearably tight due to the ever escalating exchange rate; so much so that when they sell, they get no profits and therefore cannot afford their children’s school fees.

Journalists took a BBC reporter to one of Monrovia’s many slums — the ‘God bless you’ community.  The police avoid the area, the people said, as do its elected representatives –until elections come round again, that is.

The reporter noticed something peculiar and observed that the President’s office directly overlooks the slum, yet nothing had been done.

International reporters on the ground to cover these elections are not all looking for scandals and bad news; but the glaring facts are staring them in the face as they try to reconcile the view from abroad with what they’ve faced on the ground.

In the days leading up to the elections, Liberians remained prayerfully and hopefully optimistic about their future, as all — political parties and the voting public – were  committed to peace.

Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman promised Liberians “internationally acceptable” police service, although under the same breath he admitted that some officers had to be transported to their various duty stations by canoe due to impassable roads.

The ballots reportedly suffered the same transportation-related challenges and were also being delivered by canoe to some hard-to-reach areas of the country.

The Fourth Estate did its best to promote peace, even on Election Day when reports of irregularities began to surface from across the country. But by 2 p.m., reports were that not only had voters not been able to vote and returned home, but that by that hour, voting had not even begun in some precincts!

At 3 p.m., the National Elections Commission (NEC) held a press conference with international and local media, who tried in vain to get answers to the many questions raised by the poor handling of the elections.

NEC had no concrete answers to give concerning how many people were being affected by the technical problems, let alone how they planned to address the situation.

Two years ago, a United Nations (UN) official speaking to the Daily Observer on condition of anonymity following the death of petroleum law expert Michael Allison, said the international community had done it’s own investigation and was concerned that such extra-judicial killings might become the modus operandi of this administration.  Almost exactly a year later, the body of Harry Greaves was found on the Monrovia coastline. He had been raising questions in a local daily about what had happened to the hundreds of millions of dollars missing from the National Oil Company’s account. He also warned this administration that they could still be prosecuted for crimes of economic sabotage after leaving office.

The UN official also confided to this publication that after the Ebola crisis, the Secretary General’s office was anxious to find out what this administration’s post-Ebola agenda was.

Madam Sirleaf reportedly told the UN that of paramount concern was her security and that of her family.

They had been expecting to hear post-Ebola support and education, the official said.

Perhaps the world powers that be have known the truth for some time, but diplomacy has prevailed. Now the truth can no longer hide and the entire world is aware.

2 COMMENTS

  1. What has the world found out? Well, let me enumerate some areas where the
    world has woefully failed Liberia. This no joke at all if the world has credibility
    at all to solve, with all their educational, scientific and technical know-how, the
    mounting problems on mankind; solution of which United Nations and other
    Western world have been boasting to have.

    LIBERIA:-
    Imposition of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Liberia as President. Why the Western
    world treated Liberia not in compatible with the knowledge and experiences they
    claim to have. Why the Western world is not treating Liberia the same way it
    treats other countries on this planet earth? For example,

    (1) creation of war crime Court in Liberia. Yes, the Western world helped Liberia
    set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I believe that the purpose of
    establishing the TRC was to get to the bottom of all the ills in that tiny country
    called Liberia, which was very good. At the same time, you can not get to the
    bottom of such enormous problems without some forms of punishment so that
    the public can have a needed relief. It was for this reason that the TRC imposed,
    in its findings, a 30 t0 35 years ban on Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf forbidden to
    occupy public office. Knowing this, why did the Western world, especially the
    United States in which elements like World Bank and the International Fund (IMF)
    ensured that their former worker Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf does not comply with
    the Decision of the TRC. I have always observed that an African leader who is too
    friendly with the United States ends up being a dictator and corrupt. Now that the
    Western world, especially the United States and its World Bank and International
    Monetary Fund (IMF) have seen that Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, having received
    US$16 billion dollars, left her 12 year office with no road, education system in a
    mess, unemployment is more than 85%, no efficient portable healthcare. Mind you,
    this is a country that went through massive destruction of human beings, institutions,
    and meagre infrastructures all destroyed. Even, during her incumbency well known
    Liberians were murdered; the late Counsellor Michael Allison, and Hon. Harry A. Greaves.
    No credible explanations from her Government to date. Yes, she might allowed some
    forms of freedom of the press, but observers or political pundits put that Ellen Johnson-
    Sirleaf is and was three time more corrupt than any previous administrations in Liberia.
    These are what happen in any country in Africa, ye in Liberia, whenever its leader is
    too friendly with the Western World, especially the United States of America.

    (2) President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is seeking for immunity after office. Why is she looking
    for immunity after office? Good governance and good behavior while in office are what
    a leader should and must live on after office. However, this is not the case with President
    ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. She is afraid of her shadow and what she had done in office will
    definitely follow her after she leaves office. That is why she is seeking for immunity. The
    brutal killing of Allison and Greaves without any credible explanations to the Liberian
    public loom over her. That is why she seeking for immunity.

    (3) Recently, we saw or the world saw on the internet that the Southeastern Liberia
    was cut off from the rest of the country because of lack of pliable roads in the country.
    She is leaving office with the giant John F. Kennedy Hospital dried of or completely out
    medicines, only the walls. But when she is sick, she ran to the United States for medical
    attention or treatments. The world has and is seeing the misrule in Liberia.

    (4) The victims and the grounds in Liberia are demanding that the United Nations be
    serious and ready to treat Liberia and Liberians just fair and give them justice without
    much cry to set up the War Crime Court in Liberia so that Liberians will have a relief
    from their trauma and fratricism that they went through the 15 year war in their country.
    Now, do not forget, I repeat, do not forget that if Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had complied
    with the TRC’s Findings should have been excused from trial by the War Crime Tribunal.
    But since she forced herself upon the Liberian people, or she allow herself to be forced
    on the country, open up the no questionable trial by the War Crime Court for Liberia.
    After all, she was the organizer, financier and executioner of the war.

    There are so many other areas where Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had failed Liberia and
    Liberians that make her answerable to the Liberian people after office. However, I like
    to stop her for time being.

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