By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed, PhD
Those in the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) as a larger umbrella, who are closer and instrumental in the life of President George Weah may not be serving him well. President Weah’s message to the nation on Wednesday, May 29, was self-defeating and portrays him as a “don’t care President.” We say self-defeating, because the President shot himself in the legs by questioning the experience and competence of his Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) appointees even though he is the appointing power. We also say “don’t care” because in the present state of affairs in our country, where the nation is at a crossroad for the Commander-In-Chief not to speak directly to the citizenry in the presence of an array of government officials, journalists and diplomats undermines a president’s connection to his people. Similar disconnected speech was repeated June 11, 2019 in [so-called] address to the nation. That is another side of George Weah we believe the nation just got to know. The purpose of this article is twofold: first, to proffer the proposition that not just Central Bank appointees are incompetent and not up to task as the President made us to think and believe but a cross-section of presidential appointees in the CDC led government. Second, the President’s refusal and inability to appear in person to speak directly to his citizens in time of economic woes and uncertainty shows disconnection, dis-ingenuity and a don’t care attitude of President Weah.
In his long awaited nation’s address on May 29, President Weah questioned the experience and competence of the CBL Governor and others. From every indication, reports from the government’s prosecutorial arm, the Minister of Justice, concluded that there were systemic flaws in the operation of the bank. Referring to the perceive criminal activities at the bank, President Weah stated, “all of these reports and lapses point to a major lack of systems and controls at the CBL, and call into question the ability of its present leadership to effectively revamp its internal mechanisms to provide greater accountability and professionalism, so that confidence and credibility would be restored in the institution.”
Just as the President called into question the ability of the Executive Governor and others who are his appointees, we also question the President’s ability to critically and analytically scrutinize the academic credentials of his appointees. It was President Weah, who nominated and eventually appointed the current Central Bank’s Governor.
We ask, what did the President see in this current Executive Governor and concluded that he was the best person suited for the job? Did the President analyze and verify his academic credentials and CV? With Such dismal performance by presidential appointees at CBL, we wonder whether President Weah fully understood the Term of Reference of the Executive Governor and Deputies at the CBL? Also, we wonder whether His Excellency was directly involved in scrutinizing the credentials of those he nominated and subsequently appointed at the Bank or the task was delegated to some of his trusted lieutenants? If affirmative, how competent and honest are those lieutenants that as the Head of the government, the President will neglect and abrogate his constitutional functions to individuals who are mere appointees? We ask, if someone the President nominated and appointed blunders, who take the blame?
We maintain that as an Appointing Power, President Weah is fully culpable for the malfeasance and blunder at the Central Bank. What is also disturbing and it seems to us that the President does not fully comprehend is the duplicity in the President’s message concerning appointees at the CBL.
First, declaring the bank a mess, accepting a letter of resignation from one of the deputies and yet granting retirement to the executive governor, is not only disturbing it equally kills good governance as enshrined in the African Peer Review Mechanism. President Weah stated, “To provide the opportunity for the Central Bank to have a new direction, I have accepted the resignation of the Deputy Governor for Economic Policy. The Executive Governor is scheduled for age-related mandatory retirement in the next three months.”
Here, Mr. President, it seems to us that your actions or inactions have contaminated good governance and the desire to fight unbecoming behaviors in your government. Excellency, consider your own logic: your appointees at the Central Bank have been questioned by you with respect to their abilities to properly perform. You accepted one of the deputies’ letters of resignation, but the executive governor, who is the head and implementing arm, is allowed to remain in position to be honorably retired with benefits, because of his age. In order words, had it not been for age, your executive governor would remain in the position.
With such logic, there is no need to question the present leadership at the bank. Not only is such logic confused and twisted, Excellency, it demeans your analytical ability to objectively and reasonably arrive at a conclusion where good governance will be the order of the day. The executive governor in question was once retired and we believe is still receiving retirement benefits. You appointed him without considering his retirement. He is currently being pay as an executive governor. You promised to retire him again so as to be receiving two retirement benefits. Is this not corruption? Is, this not bad governance and a plot to destroy the Liberian economy? We also believe that similar situation with Central Bank is equally with other institutions of government. We also wonder whether apart from CBL, the president personally was in the know about vetting the credentials of all his appointees or most if not all of his appointees passed through monetary gates, partisanship, friendship or tribal affiliation? We also wonder whether since close to two years of being in power, the President has taken stock of his appointees’ performances and how well they have been able to perform?
Disconnection and dis-ingenuity
The President’s insensitivity to the prevailing economic condition in the Country demonstrated by his disconnection cannot be under estimated. As alluded President Weah’s inability to directly speak to anxious citizens of the prevailing conditions in the Country shows that the President does not fully understand the magnitude and desperation of citizens’ plights. Why the President could not directly speak and take questions from journalists? Was he afraid because taking questions would further expose his level of sophistication? Can the President actually explain methods being employ to ensure, assure and assuage the deplorable economic conditions in the Country? Reading from paper is one thing and quite another to personally engage the audience.
The President is well educated as we have been made to think and believe and if he claims to be who he is, why not through interactions, intellectually and pragmatically discuss the prevailing situations in Liberia with journalists? It seems to us that public phobia and lack of compelling and persuasive verbal articulations seem to be at play here.
President Weah who campaigned on Change for Hope seems to betray his own promise to the Liberian people. He does this by first appointing individuals that he now believes to be incompetent. How will the “change” comes when those that the President appointed are not up to task; Case in point is President Weah’s appointees at CBL and perhaps similarly some in government ministries and agencies. The President’s inability and refusal to speak directly to his people is a bad omen for the Country. President Weah seems to have problem with truth telling. ON MAY 29, HE PROMISED TO APPOINT NEW BOARD AT THE CBL AND NOTHING HAPPENED UNTIL THREE WEEKS LATER. Togba Nah Tipoteh once said, “The worst crime a government can ever commit is to lie to the people.” We ask that President Weah be honest with the Liberian people, rethink, replace and reshuffle his appointees that are inexperienced, uneducated and whose performances have become questionable like those of the CBL with qualified Liberians. We also ask for a broad based ethnic representation so that the CDC’s Government will not continuously be a regional government.
About the author: Kadiker Rex Dahn holds a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He formerly served as a Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Director General, National Commission on Higher Education. He is a member of the North America Scholar Consortium, membership with Highest Honor. Contact: [email protected]