“All’s well that ends well” is an old idiomatic expression which means no matter how ugly the circumstances may be, as long as the results obtained are desirable. This expression can aptly apply to the events that obtained at the Catholic Hospital in Congo Town last Thursday, October 3.
Rape and torture victim, Jestina Kumba Taylor, was hospitalized for over 45 days for injuries received from a brutal physical and sexual assault committed by unidentified elements. Since she was admitted at the hospital, she had been surrounded by a bevy of armed police officers, whose continuous presence at the hospital had aroused public suspicion about the true intent underlying the deployment of armed police officers at her hospital ward.
The hundreds of protesters who converged at the Catholic Hospital to prevent the Police from taking her in for questioning were accosted by riot Police officers who prevented them from entering the hospital compound. A standoff and then a melee ensued with angry protesters engaging the Police in a stone throwing match.
As things appeared, not even the use of teargas or water cannon proved sufficient to deter the protesters. At the end of it all, the tension virtually dissipated following the release of Jestina to INCHR (Independent National Commission on Human Rights) interlocutors who eventually turned her over to her relatives. What had initially appeared to be an explosive situation in the making eventually petered out.
But in the aftermath of this development, the nagging question is whether all this drama was necessary in the first place if, at the end of the day, things would have turned out the way they did. Happily things turned out well and the nation breathed a sigh; but at what cost to the image of this President and government is something worth pondering.
President Weah ought to be reminded that chinks are now beginning to appear in the armor of accountability in which he was generally perceived to be garbed. He appears to be conveying a distinct impression that he is speaking from both sides of his mouth and that does not portend well for his image.
Moreover, his recent flipflop on the issue of a war and economic crimes court has been making the rounds in diplomatic circles, according to diplomatic sources, and all for the wrong reasons too. And the affray instigated by the Police at the Catholic Hospital has not helped.
This is indeed worrisome because these developments will serve more to engrain the impression that Liberia’s post-conflict recovery could prove illusory under the watch of President Weah and is replete with grave implications for social cohesion and stability. Why? It is because pathways to conflict still remain and key drivers of conflict such as chronic high unemployment and joblessness, social marginalization and runaway corruption are not being addressed in a meaningful way.
Thus, President Weah needs to awaken to these realities. Dismissing public concerns about official excesses with displayed insouciance, feigned or real, is not helping the situation; neither will the lampooning of the opposition provide answers to alleviate the excruciating economic burdens beneath which the ordinary masses who voted him into power, totter daily.
President Weah opted to take on a huge responsibility when he placed himself forward for national leadership. And it goes without saying that leadership comes with responsibility. The Daily Observer has consistently urged President Weah to lead from the front and not from behind, because the nation is in great danger of an economic meltdown with serious implications for national security and stability.
He ought to take cue from the words of President Nelson Mandela, a great son of Africa now of sainted memory. President Nelson Mandela once said:
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the frontline when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership”.
And this is exactly what the Liberian people expect President Weah to do in these times of adversity. Should he take the cue and act accordingly, at the end of the day, he will take the acclaim for all would have indeed ended well.