Disclosures by the Millennium Challenge Corporation that Liberia failed to qualify for a second compact due to what it described as sub-par performance should claim the urgent attention or President Weah, especially coming in the wake of his State of the Nation Address (SONA) glorifying his achievements since assuming office.
Whatever the underlying reasons may be that contributed to Liberia’s poor performance remains unclear. However, it is speculated that corruption and the lack of will on the part of this government to address it may have contributed significantly to the decision to disqualify Liberia owing to sub-par performance.
At the very inception of his administration President Weah, just like his predecessor, pledged an uncompromising fight against corruption. But midway into his six-year term of office, corruption has emerged as a major plague undermining the attainment of national development objectives.
Corruption is an age-old problem in Liberia. Recalling history, in the aftermath of the 1980 military coup, 13 former government officials were publicly executed by firing squad on charges of rampant corruption. A quarter of a century (25 years) later, the former head of the Transitional Government was put on trial for corruption by the newly elected female President (Africa’s first).
At her inception of office, she had made a solemn pledge to treat corruption as public enemy Number One. But she faltered, never mind the fact that she created a string of integrity institutions including the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC). By the time she left office, the institution had not successfully prosecuted a single case, neither had it secured any convictions.
Invariably, this left most Liberians with a feeling of letdown that President Sirleaf did not make good on her promise to fight corruption as the number one public enemy of the Liberian people. But the election of George Weah as President had, however, raised much hopes that he would have actively curbed corruption.
This was so, according to political analysts, because most had harbored the belief that he was clean, having earned his wealth honestly through playing football. Similarly, most Liberians had harbored the belief that President Weah would have pushed for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia, since he was not known to have affiliations to any of the warring factions.
But from all indications, the hopes of the Liberian people have been dashed. President Weah, according to a retired Liberian diplomat, has sashayed on the issue raising hopes but dashing them no sooner. He has yet to make any pronouncement on the establishment of the Court and there are no indications that he is likely to do that anytime soon. This is disappointing and a very vexing matter according to the retired diplomat.
But even more vexing according to analysts is the fact that President Weah has chosen to appoint a Nigerian fraudster as head of its lead anti- graft institution, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. Despite public outcry against his appointment and despite his expulsion from membership of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) for fraudulently obtaining Liberian citizenship; and despite the fact that the Nigerian Descendants Union and Nigerian Community have expelled him from membership owing to fraud, President Weah insists on maintaining him as head of the LACC.
In view of this development, just how can President Weah justifiably claim that he is making progress in the fight against corruption? Does President Weah really expect to be taken seriously by the Liberian people and the donor community in the face of his refusal to act to protect the Constitution, is the question hanging on the lips of most people this paper has spoken to and probably on the lips of most Liberians as well.
And as if to add insult to injury, the Nigerian fraudster Nwabuidike had the temerity to take the matter of his suspension to the Supreme Court on grounds that he had been illegally expelled from membership of the LNBA. And true to form, according to legal analysts, Chief Justice Korkpor has displayed a lack of courage to make a decision on the matter.
Further, according to legal analysts, Chief Justice Korkpor’s disposition on the matter is another example of how the rule of law has deteriorated under his watch. The Daily Observer has consistently cautioned President to beware of those he has around him making decisions on his behalf. And the reason for this is because too many bad things are going on for which he is being blamed rightly or wrongly.
Informed sources have told this newspaper that the Nigerian fraudster, Nwabuidike, remains steadfast in his position because he is allegedly being protected by Minister of State Nathaniel McGill. The Daily Observer however holds the correct view that it is President Weah in who the Liberian people have placed their trust by electing him to the high office of President.
And the Liberian people did so convicted in the belief that he, George Weah, would be a true servant of the people and not an overlord of the people as some of his officials seem inclined to believe. And in the final analysis, it is who the Liberian people will hold responsible.
The outcomes of the December senatorial polls in which his party suffered a massive defeat should have provided more than adequate reasons for sober reflection but, apparently, this has not been done, according to political analysts. According to them, the glowing picture of success presented by President Weah during the SONA is a glaring indication of how President Weah is being misled by his trusted officials. He will come to the realization, at some point, according to political analysts, that it is either him or them. But by then it may very well be too late. After all said and done, 2023 is just a breath or a heartbeat away, isn’t it?