What is going on in Liberia today and just where the nation is heading appears to be an overriding public concern. Over the years good and effective national governance has steadily eroded, and at times taking on the appearance of a Wild, Wild West road-show where there are actors playing by no rules. Anything goes in this environment
Whether it is dishing out public money in acts of false generosity intended to win hearts, or to the illegal imposition of taxes on each container imported into the country, which are paid not to the public treasury but to a private entity, or diverting national resources to private use or whatever; anything goes plain and simple. At least that is how it is publicly perceived.
But it has apparently not dawned on officials of this government that since their coming to power, the quality of national governance has deteriorated significantly to the point where all concerns about accountability and transparency appear to have been thrown to the wind.
How can Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, for example, explain how he got all this money he has been throwing around? Just what is the source of this instant wealth? For the record, Finance Minister Tweah does not come from a wealthy family, neither did he possess any wealth prior to his appointment as Finance Minister of Liberia.
He has long been struggling to shake off public suspicions and accusations of complicity in the case of the missing billions (L$16 billion), as well as the massively flawed US$25 million infusion exercise which was tainted with corruption.
And he has since recently launched a major PR exercise with a message that no billions went missing, along with a public pledge to have the opposition declare that no money went missing.
But here is a government still holding the case of the missing billions on its lap with an ongoing criminal trial of former CBL officials but yet, at the same time, insisting that no money went missing. How can this anomaly be explained?
Does the Minister actually expect the public to believe this story when he is at the same time being publicly seen distributing cash in the markets and other public places?
And does he really believe that his public acts of false generosity are likely curry public favor rather than fuel public resentment against this government? If he does, then it simply means the Minister is fooling himself and perhaps those who believe in him.
And he will perhaps realize this only too soon when the inflationary effects of the newly printed L$4 billion banknotes, as well as the IMF imposed Structural Adjustment policies, begin to bite. So what may now appear as pleasant moments, in time, may more likely than not turn sour in due season.
From all appearances, corruption, which President Weah in his inaugural address promised to tackle, has overwhelmed this government. And the effects are telling. For example, during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the needs of front-liners in the fight against COVID-19 were being conveniently ignored.
The Liberia Medical and Dental Association (LMDA), in a public statement, complained of shoddy treatment by Health Ministry officials and had even threatened to stop work if their demands for Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) and hazardous duty allowances were not met.
It remains unclear at this point whether their concerns have since been addressed, especially now with the State of Emergency having come to an end.
The point being made is that good and effective national governance appears to be in a state of disarray and corrective measures need to be taken with a sense of urgency. It is clear, according to political observers, that President Weah has been taken hostage by a cabal of misfits and unsavory characters.
That he (President Weah) is in charge is undisputed but, whether he is leading, is another question. And judging from past and ongoing developments, it appears that the President is not leading although he is in charge.
The Daily Observer has consistently reminded President Weah to charge and lead or expect to be led to an unkind and untimely fate. A leader has to lead from the front and that implies being in charge as well. He cannot have it the other way.