Let Not the Baghdad Bobs Ask For Whom the Bells Toll!

3
439

The drama surrounding the missing billions never seems to end with new twists and turns unfolding by the day. Just a few days ago Presidential Press secretary Solo Kelgbeh had announced to the Liberian public that the Legislature had given its approval to the printing of new Liberian dollar banknotes.

Prior to the announcement, the nation was informed that the Legislature was being recalled from break to discuss a singular agenda item, which was the proposed printing of new Liberian dollar banknotes to, as was said, to ease the liquidity situation facing the country. This was very puzzling because 16 billion in Liberian dollar banknotes had been printed and brought into the country.

When alarm was raised that some of the money had gone missing, the government went at lengths to prove that no money had gone missing although, the ruling party chairman, Mulbah Morlu had publicly disclosed that he personally saw pick-up truck loads of money being carted away from the CBL’s Waterside vaults.

Official probes were commissioned by President Weah in order to get to the bottom of the matter including that of the scandal surrounding the US$ 25 million infusion. At the end of the day, it came down to doing an actual physical count money held in the CBL’s vaults. To the shocking surprise of the public, officials of the CBL denied fraud investigators access to its vaults.

President Weah failed to order then CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray to comply with the KROLL and PIT requests for access to the CBL’s vaults. Resultantly, the total amount of money held by the CBL remained unaccounted for. Over the last few months the public has experienced an acute shortage of Liberian dollars, leaving many to question just where did the 16 billion worth of Liberian dollar banknotes go?

According to a financial analyst (name withheld), Finance Minister Samuel Tweah’s apparent takeover of Government’s Monetary and Fiscal policies has proved disastrous to the health of the nation’s economy. The introduction of newly printed banknotes is raising much public ire given that the money being paid out are all in the LD500 denomination. And it is being paid out mainly to members of the Legislature.

This situation has not gone down well with the public and now Representatives Larry Younquoi and Thomas Goshua calling on their colleagues to have authorities of the CBL appear before them to provide information on the source of the US and Liberian dollars it recently infused into the market. At bar also is the issue of propriety or the lack of it which needs to be addressed.

Two members of the Independent Legislative Caucus, Representatives Larry Younquoi and Thomas Goshua, are asking the plenary of the House of Representatives to invite authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia to explain the source of US and Liberian currencies it infused in the market recently.

Meanwhile, the civil servants association has announced that as of Monday, December 16, they will begin a go-slow protest action in demand of their wages now having gone unpaid for months. And there is rising public concern that ordinary people are unable to withdraw Liberian dollars from their accounts and may have a very bleak Christmas.

Local SuSu and other savings and loans associations usually make annual payouts to their members in December of each year. With December already gone beyond the half-way mark, there is considerable public unease about prospects of being let down.

In view of these developments, it would not be surprising to see an even greater number of people showing up on the streets on December 30 as compared to the mass protest of last June 7.

Realizing that such a mass protest could severely expose the weakness of this government, its officials are going all out, leaving no stones unturned to either dissuade protest organizers or to threaten the use of violence.

Over the weekend a group of individuals, led by a former representative and deputy minister, staged a march thru the streets calling on people not to listen to people who want to bring war to the country referring to the organizers of the planned December 30 protest.

As things appear, the public does not know what to believe with so many self-contradictory statements coming from various government officials. And in situations where the people lose faith in their government, not even armed or military might can prove enough to stop them from taking destiny in their own hands.

At least this was or should be the lesson learned from Burkina Faso where a bloody dictator held sway over his people for decades decreeing who lived or who died. The hawkish but cowardly Bagdad Bobs will of course as expected to come out charging, accusing this newspaper of partisan bias.

But the Daily Observer remains unmoved by such and shall not fail to keep ringing the bells and, let not the Baghdad Bobs of this world ask for whom the bells toll.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The government is cloaked in profound secrecy, and this all because the leaders are not upright. Even before this latest development, rumors were already circulating that the calling of the legislators from their break was a fait accompli.

    In other words, the government had begun the printing of the currency months ago. The meeting going on now is nothing but a stunt to make the public believe the government is constitutionally deliberative; but in essence it is not. It had taken prior actions that best suited its intentions.

    I still maintain the opinion that this crisis should not be looked at as one surrounding the release of cash to government workers for “Christmas.” It goes beyond that. In addition to the fiscal and monetary morass it finds itself in, the government has become insolvent (broke). In other words, it is unable to meet its payroll and meet its obligations to creditors and other international organizations.

    A solution to this crisis lends itself to a long-term one. Dishing out piecemeal payments to destitute folks just to soothe their nerve around Christmas time is not the solution. These folks must live and maintain their families for 365 days. What happens then after Christmas?

    Isn’t that insane? It certainly is.

  2. It is a failed fiscal and monetary policy wrapped in voodoo economics – to think that it is sound decision to print new money SOLELY for making payments to civil servants. Come January and subsequent months, when civil servants’ salaries are due, will the government go on to print more money? It is mind boggling to see that people managing our economy will think and act like lay people. Somebody called on a talk show and made this suggestion: “Let the government just print more money and distribute to all the citizens. That will solve our economic problems.” Maybe, just maybe, the government is following this suggestion.

    If you’re a Baghdad Bob, ask not for whom the bell tolls; it might just be tolling for thee.

  3. Aristotle, whose perspectives in his “POLITICS’ still dominate political theory and practice, underscores rationality as indispensable to the polis, an association “directed toward human good and human happiness, and instrumental in the formation of good human beings”. All countries fall short of that ideal; some doing better while others trying. But not Liberia which foundational agenda of Black on Black colonialism when continent and race were embattled informs the worst example of political “irrationally”.

    Some thought by now we would’ve weaned ourselves off the wicked lying and selfish desire for wealth that Dr. Blyden and other notable Liberians warned of and unquestionably drove deadly propaganda and conspiracy against EJ Roye in 1871. Not surprisingly, after the invasions, civil war, and the Iron Lady’s unhinged kleptocracy, arrogant waste, and deliberate bequeathing of recession to sabotage her unsuspecting successor, many are asking; what was the purpose of the April 14, 1979 Rice excuse?

    It is against these backdrops I laugh off the name- calling. For instance, imagine that yours truly who and newly-appointed Minister of Defense Barclay were the only two Security Sector Principals in the country by July 1990 is being called a “coward”. Not to mention that despite obvious dangers in a war-ravaged country, I returned home in 1991 when Interim President Sawyer called through Hon. Nathaniel Beh. Irrationality is, no doubt, our national weakness; little wonder, then, those with ill-gotten gains at the expense of the poor are clandestinely stalking instability: Rubbish!

Leave a Reply