Simply for daring to state her observation that the country, Liberia is not being properly managed or governed she has attracted the bloodhounds and they appear to be stopping at nothing. And they have come charging at her under a whole range of aliases and subterfuges, suggestive of one thing. That is they are downright cowards who have no beliefs, their only motivation being, the lure of money, nothing more, nothing less.
They are virtual hyenas but unlike hyenas who give themselves away by their bloodthirsty cries, these ones are silent stalkers prowling in dark areas and feeding in the dark on the bloody carcass of the Liberian state. That the Liberian nation and state appears to be dying is becoming clearer by the day. Nothing seems to be working, government agencies appear to be working in an uncoordinated fashion. It is as if there are no rules with everyone appearing to be doing his/her own thing.
These are very troubling concerns which should claim the attention of every well-meaning Liberian. Thus, it is by no means surprising that these developments have claimed the attention of Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee and she did not bite her tongue to, in her own words, declare: “We have a dysfunctional country. I’m sorry, and Liberia is not functioning the way she should function”.
President Weah is largely to blame for this, in the opinion of a growing number of Liberians.
He had the opportunity to take a fresh start by conducting an audit of the past government in order to determine exactly where we were in terms of our finances. But he failed to do so, declaring instead that his priority was not that of the nation but was instead the protection of the interests of President Sirleaf.
And President Sirleaf had left behind a sorry tale of corruption and plunder of the state coffers by her sons, cronies and other favored officials. The US$10 million from CHEVRON, which she had that organization turn over to her son was just one of many. Then the looting of NOCAL under the watch of her son, the looting of US$30 million provided by late Libyan leader Mommar Khaddaffi for the Foya rice project, the illegal printing of more than 16 billion Liberian dollar banknotes; were all issues on which President Weah could have stood to indict President Sirleaf.
However, he chose not to, but to cover her up instead. And in the eyes of the public it meant collusion.
Probably that can partly explain why the criminal trial of accused former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) appears to be staggering here and there and experiencing hiccups. In the final analysis as the public sees it, no one will be held to account. It is often argued by supporters of this government that the mess in which the country finds itself today was inherited from the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration.
In view of what has been outlined previously, the situation is largely true. However, it should not be forgotten that, for twelve years, President Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change was the foremost and largest opposition party in the country. During the 12-yr period, 2005-2017, President Weah served in the Senate for at least three years.
There he had the firsthand opportunity to learn the inner workings of government. It is highly likely that during his tenure, a bogus concession agreement was signed into law. Even before then, his party held the largest number of seats in the Legislature and those 66 bogus concession agreements signed into law under President Sirleaf must have received their endorsement.
It was widely expected that, given President Weah’s tenure and experience at the Legislature, that he would have come naturally to leadership and the governance it entails. And he also came to power with a majority of parliamentary seats held by his party. Additionally, he appeared never short of goodwill of opposition lawmakers.
On hindsight, the speed with which they passed the failed Eton-EBOMAF loan agreements into law suggests they could have similarly passed into law a bill to prosecute former officials including President Sirleaf herself, if forensic audits revealed any acts of corruption.
They could have, at his urging, passed into law an act establishing a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia. However, it did not happen, neither did it figure on President Weah’s list of priorities — top amongst which was and perhaps remains the protection of President Sirleaf from answering to corruption charges.
In view of the above, there can be no acceptable excuses for President Weah’s apparent failure to provide leadership to a nation so desperately wanting for good governance and the upturn in lives that such would engender and is that which remains a huge expectation of the Liberian people. And the failure to deliver on promises and fulfill expectations is what appears to be haunting this government most.
What Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee said is no strange thing or nothing new. It is a matter being widely discussed in the public, especially President Weah’s silence in these times of crisis. Efforts the government claims it is making to bring relief to ordinary people has been plagued by corruption. Now the public is left wondering just what has happened to the US$ 30 million COVID-Relief Intervention IMF loan.
The General Auditing Commission has announced that it is to shortly conduct an audit of the COVID-19 funds. It is welcome news but, what will become of the final report when it is eventually prepared, is hard to tell. The Liberian people will of course not be surprised should a number of officials be held liable but end up getting off the hook or going scot free.
Judging by the way the missing 16bn case has twisted and turned, nothing can be ruled out. After all, this too is Liberia.