The “Krobah” Must Pay Heed to the Cries of the People!

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The attention of the Daily Observer has been drawn to a front page lead story under the headline “CoP Welcomes Weah’s Proposed Dialogue”.

According to the story written by Daily Observer reporter William Harmon, the Council of Patriots has welcomed the call by President Weah for dialogue however with preconditions that must be met for the dialogue to proceed.

Key amongst these preconditions is the dismissal and criminal prosecution of Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Governor, Nathaniel Patray for complicity and involvement in the US$25 million liquidity mop-up exercise, as well as the alleged missing billions.

According to the CoP, “Tweah and Patray have proven to be inept, corrupt and incapable of offering a solid economic blueprint that will resuscitate our ailing economy and alleviate the hardships faced by our people”, noting that the dismissals of Tweah and Patray do not require a national dialogue but the political will, which the CoP observed, the President lacks.

This newspaper also welcomes President Weah’s call for dialogue, but it notes that such dialogue should not be a substitute for pragmatic action to address concerns about transparency and accountability in handling of the missing billions and the US$25 million infusion and liquidity mop-up exercise which were, according to Kroll, PIT and GAC reports, strongly tainted with fraud that occurred under the watch of Tweah and Patray.

Already, criminal charges have been brought against former CBL officials including Milton Weeks, Charles Sirleaf, Dorbor Hagba and others. Another CBL official, who was said to have expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the exercise was conducted, was killed in a mysterious hit and run motor accident. To date, and aside from former CBL officials who have been criminally charged, not a single official involved in the fraudulent liquidity mop-up exercise has been criminally charged.

And this has been and remains a major bone of contention which is not and has not been addressed. President Weah has failed to pull the rug under Samuel Tweah and Nathaniel Patray, even in the face of overwhelming evidence suggesting that members of the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) acted criminally in the conduct of the US$25 million infusion and liquidity mop-up exercise.

If President Weah’s call for dialogue is intended to address problems affecting the country’s ailing econmy, which has grown worse under the immediate watch of Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah and CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray, why then does he appear reluctant to call these individuals to the carpet.

Further, just why has President Weah remained impervious to calls from local and foreign businesses including the Liberia Chamber of Commerce to annul the Cargo Tracking Note which had brought benefits to a few unscrupulous individuals but misery and hardship to the Liberian people in the form of higher prices and a sharp depreciation of the Liberian against the US dollar?

These are matters on which President Weah can act without having to resort to dialogue. In any successful dialogue, trust is a critical element, absent which the achievement of progress becomes elusive. The President needs to engender that trust by addressing himself to the issues raised by the CoP, particularly the imposition of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) and those concerning the woeful management of the nation’s economy under the watch of Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah and Central Bank of Liberia (CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray.

Additionally, there are public concerns about the selective application of justice especially in cases involving officials and supporters of this government. Officials of this government are behaving in ways that strongly suggest that disrespect for the rule of law is becoming a norm. And President Weah does not need a convocation to bring this under control, neither does he need one to have Justice Minister Musa Dean enforce the law without fear or favor to all, save a few big wigs.

As mentioned earlier, trust is a cardinal element in all of this. No amount of platitudes or shenanigans can inspire public confidence or supplant the need for political will to take corrective actions. If President Weah cannot muster the political will to take strong and immediate actions to reverse the downward slide of the economy, he may, more likely than not, find himself faced with even more street protests, which he may find difficult to quell without resorting to violence.

And this newspaper has repeatedly warned that such a scenario could only provoke the intervention of the military to quell public disturbances and restore law and order, but it could also induce the military into doing the unthinkable-that is the seizure of state power. This is a scenario which President Weah should do well to avoid courting.

Dialogue is important, and this newspaper shall always encourage dialogue to resolve differences. It therefore applauds President Weah for extending a call to the CoP and others to meet for dialogue. However, the Daily Observer is troubled by what appears to be the benign concern with which concerns of the Liberian people as voiced through the CoP are being treated.

President Weah says he is aware of the sufferings of the Liberian people but his officials are conducting themselves in ways that suggest enjoyment. “Jolly jolly” is their portion; hard time and suffering can’t put foot — they rebuke it. On last June 7, for example, a certain government official (name withheld) was reportedly dishing out money at his residence to hungry residents urging them to find food to eat and stay away from the protest.

But, in truth, ordinary people are virtually catching hell with many going to bed hungry and waking up without anything to eat and nothing to look forward to. News that salaries are due to be slashed beginning July while the exchange rate continues to climb will induce more street protests. The KROBAH must pay heed to the cries of the people for, this is no chay dey ni pehn kanohn business.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The concerns of ordinary Liberians, starkly evident under EJS’s dozen years of “pervasive poverty” in spite of reported US $16 billions in direct investments, were exacerbated by four economic debilitating occurrences.

    First, loss of significant foreign exchange earnings as a result of disappearance of jobs and spending by UNMIL and various NGOs. Second, unlawful printing and flooding on the market of inflation-causing Liberian dollars by CBL on the orders of President Sirleaf against objections of the Lower House with authority over the nation’s purse. Third, flight of capital in 2017 alarmed by then CBL Governor Weeks that US $513 million was illegally transferred to foreign accounts abroad. Fourth, obstacles on the path of securing loans to hum a stalled economy by partisan journalists allegedly doled funds by ANC Founder and former LBS newscaster Counselor Kwame Clement, now ensconced as a boss at USIS in the US embassy.

    Obviously, it is important to review the one-sided narrative put out there by opponents of this government before indulging in wishful thinking of military intervention as if the rest of our Security Sector will “stand still like scarecrows” while AFL soldiers come riding in with blazing guns like cowboys in the movie “Gunfight at Sundown”.

    Even the irony that since 2009 legislators in the COP have receiving bonanza compensations which added to recurrent spending consuming a third of annual budget – hence triggering “pervasive poverty” – isn’t loss on the public. Put another way, granted that the rise in basic foodstuffs and other items has laid untold hardships on our people, blaming everything on the new government is misleading. So, as someone familiar with military interventions in the MRU basin, I condemn the new flirtations with an AFL Coup. Let the dialogue continue as GMW suggested, stop floating ideas of detractors and their foreign strategists and funders.

  2. Sylvester Moses, I do agree with the points you advanced. I have also come to the realization that the COP is just being one-sided in their so-called pursuit of accountability. had they been truthful in said pursuit, they would have inclusively been requesting the audit of the Ellen government that became nationally and internationally known as the most corrupt government in the nation’s history. Even the first auditor general in the Ellen government’s first term, John Morlue, after series of audits of government functionaries classified the EJS government to be three time corrupt than that of Juyde Bryant’s interim government. Ellen do not probe or consider the veracity of the auditor general’s claims but rather mounted attacks on him, thereby relieving him of his post just to be replaced with a puppet, Nathaniel Kilby that knew nothing about auditing.

    The first thing EJS did was to launch a massive audit of the interim government of Juyde Bryant. I really don’t understand why would the COP not call for audit knowing that the present economic hardship is a trigger-down effect of corruption of the previous regime. There were reports filtering from government sector that during the last years of the EJS government, officials transferred huge amount of money from the government coffer to unknown offshore accounts, perhaps personal accounts.

    Corruption in government did not start with Samuel Tweh and Nathaniel Patray, therefore anyone or group of people honestly seeking accountability would be quick to demand the thorough audit of EJS government as well.

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