The Liberian nation is indeed in crisis both economic and political. On the economic front, the value of the Liberian dollar continues to plummet against the US dollar, prices of everyday commodities have skyrocketed with a growing number of families going to bed hungry. Parents everywhere are finding it extremely difficult to send their children to school, provide uniforms and books and more importantly being able to buy drugs and medicines for the children when they fall sick.
On the political front, the nation has borne witness to a spate of political motivated violence popularly acknowledged to be perpetrated by CDC supporters. Insecurity is becoming rife and the response of state security, especially the Police, to such developments have at best been ineffectual and highly biased in favor of perpetrators of political violence witnessed in recent times.
While this government has time and again reiterated its commitment to upholding the rule of law, yet it appears as though such publicly declared pronouncements run counter to blatant violation of the country’s laws with impunity by individuals with believable connections to this government.
And in all this, traditional elders and leaders have appeared or at least conveyed an impression of disinterest in national political life except for occasions where they have been martialed into government service and coerced to issue statements of condemnation of perceived enemies.
This time around, it appears that traditional leaders are no longer content to act as spectators or stage props in a roadside show. They have spoken and publicly voiced out their concerns about the manner and direction in which the nation appears headed.
They have singled out “Accountability” as a major concern which they say is being undermined by corruption and impunity and in a move similar to that of stakeholders at the just ended the National Economic Dialogue, they have made a unanimous call for this government to establish a war and economic crimes court as a way of combatting impunity.
In their statement to President Weah and the Government of Liberia, the traditional elders made reference to disclosures by Auditor-General Yusador Gaye that she has since completed the audit of the US$25 million infused into the economy to mop-up excess liquidity and submitted a report which President Weah has not so far acted upon.
Just why he has not done so remains puzzling. His failure to act on the Auditor-General’s report and other similar reports has given rise to speculations that President Weah is shielding Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and others because he has something to hide. But that was not all as the traditional leaders also took on members of the Legislature for betraying the interests of the people and placing their personal interests first.
Reminding legislators that they were elected to serve and not to be served, the traditional leaders declared “we elected you because we trust your understanding. You are all important men and women that, when you are willing, you can change the course of our history positively. So, don’t demoralize your dignity for little or nothing. You are our representatives and not the representatives of any other persons, be it the Executive or any branch of government”.
And they furthered: “We believe it is waste of resources to use our taxpayers’ money and useful time for which you are being paid for the making of laws that will benefit only a selected few, including yourself. It is unfair to us, the people, who elected you.”
This is indeed a very noble charge; however it does not change the sorry fact that legislators under the regime of former President Sirleaf passed into law over 60 bogus agreements, with long lasting implications for the future wellbeing of the nation. And under this government led by President George Weah, the entire southeast containing vast deposits of Gold, columbite tantalite, etc., was concessioned away to a shady company, Hummingbird Resources in which” Senate President Pro Tempore Albert Chie is a shareholder.
As concerns the Judiciary, the traditional leaders did not mince their words. Taking a potshot at corrupt judges they noted: “Some of you placed on the judgment seat of this country are not placed there because you are the most alert in the Judicial System, but the government has chosen you to serve and dispense justice to all without regards to connection or favor, but you have completely swayed from your call for duty”.
Continuing, the traditional leaders and elders declared: ‘We don’t need a rocket scientist to tell us when we are running into problems until the poor get justice at your hands in this country, until money stop running the courtrooms and you stop others from intruding into your business in the name of cash and politics.”
As for the perennially weak political opposition, the traditional leaders and elders urged that for love of country and its posterity, the opposition should constructively engage with government in order to explore ways together to solve the country’s problems. This is a message which should not be lost on not only the opposition but to the government as well, for it takes two to tango.
Well, the people have now spoken and it remains to be seen just what President Weah is gong to make of the petition or statement of concern from traditional leaders and elders. However, his initial response to the petition stating that some portions were unacceptable because they were based on gossips and others because they were not done in good faith, tends to suggest that President Weah is rightly or wrongly dismissive of the petition from traditional leaders and elders.
And so we ask: What’s Next Mr. President?