Beware, Mr. President, the Dangers of Sending Negative Signals

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Attempts by some members of the House of Representatives to sanction one of their colleagues allegedly for accusing President Weah of involvement in the missing money scandal has not only made headlines in the local media but has raised pertinent questions about the real motives and intent of those calling for their colleague’s head, simply because he accused the President of suspected involvement in the missing money affair.

Such attempts, according to political observers, are further indications of the clear but negative signals this government keeps sending to the international community. Amongst such negative signals, according to observers, was the contract of a dubious loan arrangement with an obscure entity, Eton Finance, followed by another proposed but opaque road financing agreement with a company owned by a Burkinabe national Mohammed Boukoungou.

The speed with which those agreements were passed through the Legislature was indeed astounding. It was clear that no due diligence had been done and despite public outcry, legislators remained unmoved. They, in fact, called for more of such loan arrangements and were apparently ready to pass same into law had they been proffered.

Those proposed agreements have since fizzled out. But before the issue could grow cold, which it never did, another of such negative signals was again sent to the international community and that involved the acclaimed disappearance of billions of newly printed Liberian dollar banknotes. This is a matter which has since provoked international interest and involvement as well.

And, of course, the conflicting accounts given by various government officials about the missing money simply added more fuel to the fire of disbelief spreading fast through the public. But as if that was not enough, then came the declaration by the Central Bank Governor that US$25 million was to be infused into the economy to mop up excess liquidity.

As would have been expected, the Central Bank would or should have played a lead role in this since its Governor had announced the infusion, especially since it is the Central Bank which is rightly in charge of monetary policy. To the contrary, it was instead the Finance Minister taking charge claiming that he had infused the money directly into the economy, buying excess cash from money changers and not through the Central Bank as would have been expected.

Naturally, of course, this explanation was simply like adding more gasoline to the fire because the Minister’s explanation smirked strongly of impropriety for what were the motives for circumventing the banking system. Public speculations about money laundering were rife because such action could not in any way be justified since the Minister lacked the legal authority to undertake such action. This was another negative signal sent to the international community about this government’s stance on engrained public sector corruption.

The Resolution 1055 passed recently by the United States Congress, calling for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia, talks about endemic corruption in Liberia and the need for accountability. It would be utterly surprising were officials of this government, especially those who have schooled in the US as well as those who have lived there, to declare or even pretend that they have not taken note of those observations contained in the Resolution.

In case they have not done so, this newspaper would strongly suggest that they take note of the Resolution which they may, at their peril, choose to ignore. The point being made here is that, given the current outlook, there may very well be negative implications for this government should the impression take hold in the international community that this government cannot be trusted.

It will be helpful in this regard were President Weah to take cue from ex-President Charles Taylor’s notebook on managing relations with the international community, particularly the United States. President Weah may probably not realize that the perception held of him by the international community prior to his election as President, was high and was premised on the belief that he presented as one with the strongest pro-accountability credentials amongst all the candidates for the high office of President.

It can be recalled that Charles Taylor, upon his entry into Monrovia in 1997 after five years in the bushes, was welcomed by a mammoth crowd of enthusiastic supporters who thronged the streets en masse. It was as if the “Messiah” had arrived in town. Only six (6) years later, he was being hounded and virtually chased into exile. President Weah, too, when he was proclaimed winner of the 2017 elections, was hailed with as much messiahship.

While this newspaper does not harbor the impression that a similar fate may befall President Weah, we cannot help but warn of the inherent dangers associated with the sending of signals suggesting the gradual emergence of a dictatorship which, in the opinion of this newspaper is bound to engender resistance of whatever kind. And that may not augur well for the success of this government.

For example, issuing threats against those who dare question the credibility of President Weah or suggest his involvement in the missing money and the US$25 million infusion “WAHALA” is a recipe for trouble. Why, for example, are legislators not questioning CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu, who proclaimed that he had evidence of pickup trucks loaded with money leaving the premises of the CBL’s Waterside vault but yet are questioning their colleague, Representative Yekeh Kolubah for suggesting the President’s involvement in this matter?

And then the half-steps, the missteps and the speaking out from both sides of the President’s mouth on the issue concerning the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia shortly after returning from Paris, France, where he joined in celebrations marking Armistice Day. As if to dispel any negative notions associated with the irony of shielding war criminals at home while hobnobbing with world leaders in celebration of Armistice Day, a letter from President Weah requesting UN assistance to set up the Court sprang forth.

But on his return home, the nation hears double-speak from their President, creating a cloud of suspicion about his true intent. And again Negative signals were being conveyed to the world about his stance on impunity in what could be an unending roller-coaster ride into the pages of infamy.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Our Legislators are right to question any colleague who makes an unsupported inflammatory allegation against, particularly, another elected official. And it is happening regularly on the floor of the British Parliament in England, a country’s whose people originated a sort of Bill of Right in the creation of Magna Carta. Some of our media outlets are now seen as the problem rather than solution to the poisonous political discourse exacerbating and widening dangerous polarization at home. Like the pied piper in the poem of English Writer Robert Browning “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” – who has used a captivating music in luring the town’s children away – an unapologetically adversarial press is, according to perception, dragging our nation to the precipice of cascading crises and potential conflict.

    A case in point is the unsurprising rush to judgment in the “Election Violence” story by FPA that CDC Party “militants” accompanying Mayor Kojee ”invaded” the camp in Gardnersville District 13 of LPP cCandidate Mrs. Cornelia Kruah-Tonga and killed a female supporter. This unverified story by FPA, “Liberia’s Leading Investigative News Magazine”, was unfortunately fanned in a Facebook post yesterday by none other than Mr. John H.T.Stewart, an otherwise brilliant writer. That FPA grudgingly recanted the diabolically misleading perspective it foisted on hundreds of thousands of readers, isn’t going to undo damage to the country’s image, reputation of CDC, or character of a maligned Mayor Kojee. Indeed, it would seem the purpose of the fabrication, because anti-government reaction on social media was swift and vicious with a video appearing of a fake mourner crying for the death of a family member in the incident.

    Folks, have some of us gotten so impatient that an uprising we have been killfully stoking and shepherding has been slow to happen that we’ve morphed into terrorists of the pen? Liberia’s stability takes precedence over the preferences for leadership positions or bigoted prejudices of men and women that do believe it is all about them. The Press cannot claim right to hold anyone accountable when its members assume power to be unethical and do whatever please them under the guise of freedom of the press. No country would escape the dictatorship of past governments and submit to the destabizing impulses of delusional egotism. Unless Liberians look with a clearer lens at the reporting methods of media outlets, they might drag the nation into chaos, I repeat.

  2. Mr. Sylvester Moses, we are talking about Liberia and not the “British Parliament in England.” During the Doe era, you were one of those at the NSA violating rights of citizens including the renown journalist, Thomas Kamara. Not only that, your administration at the NSA was known for torturing suspects forcing them to tell you what you wanted to hear and then putting false charges on them. You are not a democrat and that is why you do not like people expressing their opinions against your corrupt bosses and warlords whom you continue to shield and defend in your crass writings. You are on record criticizing the United States as the country which “brought war” to Liberia when in actuality the United States financed ECOMOG to protect innocent lives in Liberia, You are simply the mercenary of the pen for the kleptocratic Weah’s government supported by the war lords who killed our people. That is why you write rubbish heaping unnecessary praises on Weah to get your pay check at the end of the month. Some of you love money more than human lives. You are dishonest and unpatriotic and have no loyalty to Liberia, because you are a Sierra Leonean. Moreover, because of your insatiable greed for money, you have shown yourself to be one who talks from his ass but shit comes out of your mouth. If by now you do not know Mr. Weah is incompetent, then either you are a paid agent of his or you are just dumb. I have been following your stupid writings and its a shame to see you always presenting negative arguments that will only send our country and not your country(Sierra Leone), in deep shit. We know that you hail from Sierra Leone. After reading some of your stupidity, I sometimes wonder whether Sylvester Moses is a set of twins. There is Sylvester Moses and Sylvian Moses. They are masquerading as the same person but sometimes don’t get their stories right. They both cannot tell the truth. They both are horrible crooks, traitors and mercenaries of the pen recruited mainly to spread propaganda and falsehood from the CDC kleptocratic government and the warlords who killed over 200, 000 of our innocent people and sent over 1,000,000 of our people in compulsory exile.

  3. Zinnah Gotombo is probably an alias like that fake video of a girl crying for a supposedly murdered relative in Gardnersville District 13 on Saturday November 17. The late Tom Kamara published his asylum application fabrication to get a safe haven, he is dead and forgiven. Why shouldn’t I? The alleged incident occurred in 1984, yet Tom and I worked with the IGNU government of President Sawyer in the 1990’s, and he even published an article of mine in his “New Democrat” newspaper. And at no time did he or anyone close to him ever accused me of doing anything wrong. Shameless lies are part of the political topography; I was for fourteen years in the loop, and had reasons to know.

    The Liberian press has been urging reformation of bad governance of various political leaderships, but, ironically, managements of our media outlets have yet to look in the mirror to see whether they too need significant makeovers. Unless members of the Liberian press stop inciting vulnerable segments of our society, they would stoke another civil conflict sooner than anybody suspects. I don’t alarm that potential threat because of payments from anyone in the government, rather am looking at indicators of instability in my country. Arrogant egotists can’t silence me; and can you imagine few of these crazies who goaded the civil war are clamoring for a war crime court: Patients for a mental Institution.

  4. Mr. Moses, I do admire you a lot because of what you stand for. I hope it is not too much to ask, when you refute some of what the various newpapers story, do you do so with evidence or what? I am asking this because I know what a keen mind you possess. Kind regards

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