Monday, January 4, 2021 began the countdown to elections in 2023. The Liberian people have already conveyed a strong message to President Weah, through the recent senatorial elections in which his party suffered a massive defeat, that he has a very short period of time, relatively speaking, to usher in the much-needed changes to turn things around.
How President Weah begins this journey will to a large extent determine whether his quest to maintain his grip on the reins of power beyond 2023 will prove viable or just a pipe dream. His officials have made no secret of their intentions to remain in power beyond 2023.
Finance Minister Samuel Tweah’s call to make President Weah what he called a benevolent dictator received a rude shock with the massive defeat inflicted on the CDC during the recent polls.
President Weah has over the last several months been urged to make changes to his team and revise his strategy if he intends to succeed.
Whether he has done that or whether he is contemplating such is difficult to discern at this point. However, the public remains apprehensive that such change may not be forthcoming, at least in the short term.
Analysts, say that signals being conveyed to the public suggesting that Nathaniel McGill, “the most hated public official,” according to CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu, is still calling the shots in this government indicates that either he enjoys President Weah’s explicit confidence or, that he has become so powerful to the point where removing him remains very far down the list of immediate presidential concerns.
More besides, the powerful Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah, who the public believes is largely responsible for the ever-worsening economic situation facing the country, apparently remains a constant fixture in the Presidential line-up and there are no signs that his dismissal is being contemplated, never mind persistent public calls for his dismissal.
Another official, also considered a constant fixture in the Presidential line-up, is Justice Minister Musa Dean. Analysts say under his watch, respect for the rule of law has become seriously eroded and his administration of justice has been characterized by a series of official lapses-shitshows and clusterfucks.
One of the most disturbing was bungled Police investigations into the serial murders of government auditors, which have since left the public gripped by a heightened sense of insecurity.
Further, Police Director/Inspector-General Patrick Sudue, under whose leadership the Liberia National Police has taken on a distinct partisan character and seriously undermined public trust in the Police, appears to be sitting tight and there is no indication that he will be receiving his marching orders anytime soon despite the public outcry against his leadership of the Police.
Also sitting tight and apparently unmoved is National Security Agency(NSA) Deputy Director Sam Siryon owner and founder of the hate media outlet, FREEDOM FM, who, according to insider sources, directs and has under his command a group of “hitmen” including the suspected killer of LRA auditors Gifty Lamah and Albert Peters. Others include Jake Brown, said to be a dishonorably retired US Iraq war veteran and former rebel general, Ofori Diah, said to have been involved in the killing of UN Peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast.
According to analysts, these are all indications suggestive of a hostage scenario situation in which President Weah may be entrapped. Sources say some of his officials have illegally amassed so much wealth that for them relinquishing power in a free and fair competition at the ballot box is unthinkable.
For them the use of force to intimidate the political opposition and suppress popular dissent is perhaps the surest way of retaining their hold on power.
The danger is, according to analysts, the current crop of officials appear to have a strong penchant for reckless behavior and such recklessness, if left unchecked could unleash a bloody cycle of violence and lead the country down the path to renewed violence and possible civil war.
The officially endorsed violence meted out against opposition candidate Botoe Kanneh, as well as allegations of vote-rigging in Nimba, are all disturbing signals of potential trouble being brewed by a coterie of reckless misfits bent on browbeating the people into virtual submission.
It is little wonder, therefore, according to a diplomatic source, that criminal gang leaders have allegedly been recruited and incorporated into official state security structures.
Sources say that in the Sinkor suburb of Fiahmah, every Saturday morning, a criminal gang led by the notorious criminal known as Man Devil invade the market demanding protection money from marketers and, in cases where their demands are not met, they forcibly take away just whatever items they want, according to marketers this newspaper spoke to recently.
“Man Devil” has been wanted by the Police for some time in connection with the death of a rival criminal gang leader from Paynesville, called Pharoah. Pharoah’s abduction and killing led to a revenge attack mounted a group of armed criminals who invaded the Fiahmah market area sending marketers and shoppers running helter-skelter. Man Devil was declared wanted by the Police but has since remained hiding in plain sight.
According to a retired security official, these individuals and groups pose the most potential security threat to the country and to President Weah himself. These individuals and groups have one thing in common according to the retired official.
And that is, they are prepared to offer their services to the highest bidder as they hold no beliefs, no ideology except for money, meaning they could even attempt to seize power by declaring him unfit to rule. He has to be wary of this possibility.
President Weah does have an enormous challenge to address the concerns of the people. He needs to take his charge seriously. For him, failure is not and should not be an option. This is certainly no time to showcase singing talent; now is the time to get to work Mr. President!!!