By Jeremiah Jefferson Kringar Harris Sr.
The dawn of George Weah’s New Dispensation is upon us with the minds of our people intently focused on what this portends for the future wellbeing of this great nation. Is this the beginning of an era in which our nation’s impoverish masses see light at the end of the tunnel of abject poverty, the skeptics may wonder? Will the culture of corruption inherent in the national psyche of our people deliberately create subtle bottlenecks to prevent the enlightened promises of the New Dispensation from taking hold, thus rolling back the unprecedented progress made in the freedom of expression, justice and maintaining the peace and stability for 12 unbroken years in this nation’s democratic space under the aegis of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf? Meanwhile, lest we forget the unmitigated strength of Corruption as it fights back with a vengeance, we must remain alert against the arrow that flies when the moon is dim. Has the Higher Power, the custodian of Liberia’s manifest destiny, determined that it is now time when our teeming masses must finally dust-off the ashes and soot from the indignities of despair and hopelessness and firmly grasp the change that hope proffers?
Not to tarry, we now begin our foreordained CHANGE FOR HOPE journey, driven by the sheer dynamism, magnetism, affable personality and unblemished character of George Manneh Weah. The journey began in earnest when Weah threw his hat into the race for the presidency in early 2017. This decision, from all indications, was driven not by a lust for power, but by a genuine empathy for the plight of this nation’s downtrodden masses. However, and this was not completely unanticipated, there was great fear from the ruling class and the elites who envisioned Weah’s decision to run as a threat to their unwieldy hegemony. That hegemony was eviscerated by the overwhelming support of the masses at the polls on December 22, with 61% of the votes being cast in Weah’s favor, despite vain attempts by the Unity Party’s neophyte and vindictive strategists, sour losers, who shielded themselves behind the ill-conceived ruse of the rule of law to deny victory to George Weah at all costs. I must say, with all due respect to our Former Vice President, that he lost the elections despite the weight that his incumbency carried into the race simply because his surrogates lacked the fortitude to fully comprehend the nuances and dynamics of the new political landscape.
The Coalition for Democratic Change is not an ordinary political party, we should realize, but rather, it is a phenomenon new to the Liberian political experience. This is a mass movement reminiscent of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC). A mass movement, experience tells us, caters to the whelms of the downtrodden masses who are generally galvanized by the magnetism and charisma of a single individual who they idolize into a force of messianic proportions against that which they conceive as being anathema to their wellbeing. In South Africa, it was the evil of apartheid and all of its attendant vestiges of dehumanizing repression against the African masses. In Liberia, and some superficial minds might deliberately reject this hypothesis because they are one step behind the unfolding metamorphosis in the psyche of our people, it is the clamor of the masses for change with the hope for a better day which has eluded them for so long. This, in essence, is what I call GEORGE WEAH’S NEW DISPENSATION.
The journey that we now begin is in its infancy. Just like an infant child, the Dispensation has begun to experience teething problems, albeit at an unusually early stage in the cycle of its growth. This is not to be unexpected, given its sudden inheritance of the reins of power from a government that induced twelve years of peace and stability and yet failed to bring reconciliation to our people as promised in 2005. Supplementary to this letdown, the nagging problems of massive youth unemployment and corruption run amok in a society still deeply polarized with a disturbing malaise among the youths who have become increasingly disgruntled, in view of the UP government’s glaring failure to respond to their problems. This is the situation, among others, bequeathed to the New Dispensation by the departing Unity Party. Is this a gift one would leave with a favorite child or is this the kiss of death?
The new government has now begun to make key appointments to the Ministries that will be crucial to its success as it seeks to arrest the free-fall that has gripped the economy of this nation and, in the process, reassure the masses that their welfare will be paramount as it formulates policies designed to relieve their distress. The task though difficult, requiring patience and commitment, is not overwhelmingly daunting because the goals are clear; destroy the demon of abject poverty by restoring the prosperity that the trickle down economic policies of the Unity Party led government has taken away from the people; bring reconciliation to the nation; continue the rebuilding of the national infrastructure begun by our illustrious Former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; construct a highway along the coast that will link the entire country, with feeder roads as an addendum, thus making it easier for farmers to get their products to the market; maximize efforts to increase agricultural production thus ensuring self-sufficiency in food production, most especially our staple, rice; vigorously continue the process of national electrification that is in the initial phase; rebuild and restructure the national educational and healthcare systems; ensure safe drinking water for all Liberians.
The man steering this ship of state down a highway with unknown and dangerous curves, meandering through deadly valleys and extraordinarily steep hills is none other than George Manneh Weah, the newly inaugurated President of Liberia. This is the man who it is anticipated will undoubtedly lead this nation out of the wilderness and truly restore power to the people. But is he up to the task? With much ado, I should add that my answer is a resounding yes, despite all of the naysaying that is ringing in the air. I have carefully followed all developments in the just concluded political campaign and can safely say that of all the contestants in the race, his ideas to solve the mammoth problems that the we face are the only ones, I believe, that will take this nation to the next level.
Let us remember that the strength of ideas and not the glamor of eloquence is the magic lotion that will take this nation to the next level.
And so you have it.