By Mwalimu-Koh Blonkanjay Jackson (MsEd, EdM)Ivy League Scholar, Mathematician, Critical Thinker, Author
In my thinking thoughts, I reflected President George Weah’s current Nationwide Tour and its proclivity to be similar to tours taken by his predecessors such as the late President Samuel K. Doe and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The factor that rekindled my human agency is whether President Weah’s tour would take on the traditional hygiene and chemistry whereby it would be glutted with a convoy of hypocrites, sycophants, and grandstanders with diverse political and personal obscured agendas. If this were the case, its low productivity and value for money of the estimated US$900,000.00 would be a subject for financial, political and social exegesis and debates.
Hygiene of Presidential County Tours in the past
You see, during the administrations of the late President Samuel K. Doe and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whenever presidential tours were taken, all and sundry made frantic efforts to be on the delegation. While some delegates were professionally useful to the tours, others were simply “dead beats”, and useless gravy seekers bent on implementing all kinds of mundane agendas. For some, it was an opportunity to utilize quality time with their concubines; for some, to partake in profuse drunkenness and lasciviousness. For others, it was to receive huge per diems that could pay the salaries of about 100 civil servants for 6 months; for some, to engage in the corruption and bigotry that is so traditionally entrenched within the Liberian society.
Ah yes, during those tours the US Yankee dollar confessed; delegates drank their liquor in front of the local residents; boiled in front of them; play their loud music in front of them; took their young girls in front of them to hotels for loose sex. As a consequence, the full objectives of Presidential tours were hardly achieved because of the hygiene and chemistry marked by the presence of hypocrites, sycophants and grandstanders. The value for money of those tours were grossly low and incompatible.
Sycophantic and Hypocritical Delegates
For the sake of clarity, a sycophant on the one hand, is a person who tries to win favor from wealthy or influential people by flattering them; they were vain praise singers. The sycophantic delegates on Presidential tours those days were insincere flatterers who justified or agreed with everything President Doe or Madam Johnson-Sirleaf said or did because they wanted favor. For example, there were people on social media and mainstream media who defended everything about their Presidents. When Doe and Sirleaf left power, the same people took up jobs with the new national leaderships, recused themselves from the legacy of bad governance practices, corruption and ills of their former Lords, and in fact vilified them publicly without remorse.
A hypocrite on the other hand, is an individual who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; this individual acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. For example, after thousands of young people praised President Sirleaf’s son Robert for his incredible contributions and philosophy of sports in Liberia, they voted against him in his senatorial bid, just as they did to Hon. Thomas Fallah.
The Grand Stand Delegates
Again, for sake of the layman, “Grandstanding” means behaving in a way that makes people pay attention to you instead of thinking about more important matters. To “grandstand” is to show off; to impress; attract attention; a grandstander is a fraud who behaves in a showy or ostentatious manner in an attempt to attract favorable attention from spectators or the media.
If you ever visited the BTC during Armed Forces Day, the place where the guests and the Presidents sit is the grandstand. Troops march past and show off their newly acquired militarily adroitness and receive salutes from the guests from the “grandstand”.
The grandstanders during Ellen’s and SKD’s time were people on Presidential tours who set out simply to be noticed. Some were hustling civil servants, inept unproductive Legislators and mediocre Presidential appointees who were in the line of fire for their gross display of ineptitude and ignorance to positions to which they were wrongly appointed.
Those underachievers believed by standing in the Presidents’ faces or their body guards’, they would gain some closeness to the throne and hence push their ill-fated agendas.
Hustling Civil Servant Grandstanders
During the trips, Presidential appointees took along civil servants who wanted to hustle. Some were their office sex mates or “sexy-taries” who would be available for “pleh-jay” and “jolly-jolly”. Some were males whose roles were to organize “jues” or prostitutes for the government officials who did not carry concubines or “deputy wives” along. This group received huge per diems paid from taxpayers’ money, that they lavished on their illicit cravings and diluted the productivity of the tours.
Legislative Caucus Grandstanders
Back then, Legislative caucus members usually had pet peeves with one another. They did not speak to one another, they did not mingle with one another because of their commitment to their political leaders’ or small gods. During the reign of Madam Sirleaf, because Nimba county legislative caucus members were angry with Senator Prince Johnson for being vindictive and referring to himself as the Godfather of Nimba, hardly were caucus meetings fully attended if they were ever called.
Rivercess legislators could not see eye to eye. Representative Francis Paye did not jive smoothly with former Senator Barney; at some point, playboy Senator Dallas Gueh was not speaking to Senator Paye for the mismanagement of County Development Funds. Similar situation existed in other counties.
However, each time President EJS planned a trip to the counties, Legislative caucuses came together hypocritically and pretentiously under fake marriages of convenience to deceive her. They stood in the face of Madam EJS and pretended like they were united pure angels. They acted like they were men of the people but, in actuality, clowns, bag boys, sycophants and hypocrites. No wonder those grandstand legislators did not win second terms.
Grandstanding Local Authorities
Each time local authorities learned that a President was visiting, they would make the whole place look like everything was well, instead of leaving things as they were, so that the President could get a true picture of their situations.
In the counties, for example the inept legislative caucus and their foolish authorities would paint and decorate the dilapidated City Halls, clean the very filthy cities, patch the ugly roads, cut the tall grasses, and summon the chiefs to make supportive statements and sing false praises. All of this was for them to grandstand, be in face of the Presidents and to fool them. As soon as the presidents departed, “business as usual” with in-fighting, ineptitude and corruption, and a resultant underdeveloped county inundated with needs.
Worst of all, instead of keeping students in their classrooms so the visiting Presidents could observe the pedagogy unfolding, Education Officers would extract the students, mandate them to line up along the road for hours in the scorching sun awaiting the visitors. The students were required to wave palm branches and show white teeth pretending all was well.
As soon as the Presidents departed, the poor students would return to their dilapidated sub-standard leaking school buildings and swarmed by notoriously unqualified teachers. They would return to their woes and suffering to learn under unimaginable conditions. The Presidents would return to their cozy mansions with fake concocted impressions that teaching and learning were on course in those counties.
Thoughts on President George Weah’s Tour
Fellow Liberians, as you may be aware, our President, H.E. George M. Weah, is currently on a nationwide tour which, according to sources is worth US$900,000.00 of taxpayers’ money. Even though the full concept and agenda of the tour has not been shared with the general public, one can surmise it is to receive first-hand information regarding status quo after mid-point of his six-year tenure.
Since the President’s departure from Monrovia, service to the public has diminished. Most of the desks at the Ministries are empty; some legislators have taken sudden residences in their counties to falsely show to the President they are catering to their people satisfactorily; some Ministers who have no real roles to play are on the tour while scores of civil servants are missing from work, supposedly on official duty. Whether those are “dead beats”, hustlers and grandstanders remains to be determined from the output of the whole trip or “value for money”
Now fellow Liberians, as President Weah leads his huge entourage of delegates around the country, Liberians who are left behind remain hopeful. For isn’t the mantra of the CDC based on hope and change?
I, therefore, beseech all Liberians to remain hopeful that President Weah’s tour will not be similar to SKD’s and Ma Ellen’s, whereby hustlers and rogues would set out to blind him with false impressions and grandstanding.
Health workers are hopeful that the hygiene of President Weah’s trip will be complete wellness and strength void of hypocrites and sycophants; politicians are hopeful that the chemistry of the tour will not be contaminated with fake praise singers, far-fetched petitions, mediocre grandstanding Legislators, nor diluted with pranks by foolish local authorities.
Financial experts and economists are hopeful, really really hopeful, that the US$900,000.00 spent will ensure value for money in its true sense and not via theories and graphs. They want to see fruitful tangible results, not promises and unorthodox economic thesis.
Religious community is hopeful that the Almighty Savior will make His face to shine on this nation and purge it of all vices, both perceived and real, and give us perfect peace that passeth all understanding that Jesus gives.
Since we have hope, please join me in Robert Critchley’s favorite hymn, “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less Than Jesus’ Blood” Note the 1ST and 2ND stanzas:
- My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand
2. When darkness veils his lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
3. His oath, his covenant, his blood
Supports me in the ‘whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay
I am simply just thinking thoughts.
About the author:
The Rivercess man, CEO and founder of the Diversified Educators Empowerment Project (DEEP), Mwalimu-koh M. Blonkanjay Jackson holds a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Master of Science in Mathematics Education from St. Joseph’s University; he is a Yale University Teachers Initiative Math Fellow, and UPENN Teacher Institute Physics Fellow. He is part-time lecturer at the UL Graduate School of Education. Mr. Jackson served the government of Liberia diligently for four years and returned to private practice as Development Specialist and Education Engineer. The Mwalimu-koh can be reached at 0886 681 315 / 0770 206 645.