The call by Finance Minister Samuel Tweah to have President Weah transform himself into a benevolent dictator is alarming and reckless.
It is for all purposes a call to arms which is a very dangerous proposition laden with grave unforeseen consequences, given this nation’s recent history of prolonged (14-yrs) violent conflict.
His remarks have drawn the ire of many in the public and, not surprisingly, has been the deluge of public criticism.
But just why would Minister Tweah proffer such an idea is the question begging answers. After all, this is a government that was elected on a wave of popular mass support.
But sadly now it has begun sending ominous signals through highly placed Presidential confidantes that it intends to use force and intimidation to maintain its grip on power.
And the forthcoming December 8 senatorial election promises to be a litmus test of how far the CDC leadership is prepared and resolved to go to establish a permanent grip on power through the use and exercise of brute force and other equally coercive methods.
The upcoming election also promises to be a litmus test of how resolved the Liberian people are to oppose the reemergence of dictatorship and arbitrary rule in Liberia, given the glaring and rising tension being reflected in the current national discourse on various radio talk-shows.
But Minister Tweah’s apparent and reckless disregard for history, as can be determined from his remarks calling for the establishment of a dictatorship, cannot and should not be taken lightly.
This is in view of the rash of politically motivated violence the nation has borne witness to in recent times. Noteworthy is the fact that perpetrators of such violence have all gone with impunity.
Thus, Samuel Tweah’s call for the reemergence of dictatorship in Liberia appears to be inspired, apparently, by assurances of support he may have probably received from the phalanx of ex-rebel generals, amongst them, the notorious self-styled General Power (Augustine Nagbe).
Others include an array of criminal gang leaders including the notorious criminal, wanted but hiding in plain sight, the self-styled “Man Devil”. But such efforts can best be described as one pushing his luck too far.
According to residents of the Fiamah area, Man Devil’s home base, officials of this government have been seen visiting and holding lengthy discussions with Man Devil at his home in the Fiamah area.
But what Minister Tweah appears to forget is the fact that within a relatively short period, the Liberian people have overthrown two (2) of the most bloody dictators, Presidents Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor, who lorded over this country as though it was their personal fiefdom.
They paid the price of their folly but the nation suffered most and paid the steepest price. But in all this, the Liberian people have learnt some very hard lessons from the struggle against dictatorship in the land.
In the opinion of the Daily Observer, there appears to be a general national distaste amongst most Liberians for a return to those dark days of war and absolute chaos.
They know from history, especially recent history that bloody dictators in other parts of the world, especially in West Africa, have been deposed by mass peoples’ action with Burkina Faso and Mali being the most recent examples.
And the root cause of their removals from office have been grievances of the people arising mainly from harsh economic conditions and pervasive corruption by state officials.
Popular street protests drawing the involvement of thousands of people and remaining persistent in their demands for leaders to step down is proving to be a far better option than assembling a guerilla army to shoot its way into power.
And the political leadership of this country cannot pretend to be unaware of such developments and the implications for their own domestic situation here at home as they contemplate the establishment of a dictatorship.
We stress that these observations are not empirical postulations belonging to the realm of scientific verification; rather, they come from those living in the daily familiarity of the experience of homelessness, joblessness, trauma, substance abuse etc. It also comes from common sense and common wisdom.
What Minister Tweah fails to realize is that people are not imprisoned within a permanent today or even yesterday when support for the CDC and George Weah was overwhelming and unquestionable.
That reality has changed and the people have become temporalized, meaning they have become concerned with the present.
Now the people appear to be integrated into the reality that this government has so far proved incapable of providing better conditions of life for them. It seems that Liberians are gradually developing a critical capacity to make independent choices that are no longer subject to the choices of their “carry the monkey, carry the tail” leadership.
As Brazilian educator and liberation theologian Paulo Freire rightly observes, officials of this government appear to be reeling from the shock between a yesterday, which is losing relevance but still seeking to survive, and a tomorrow without the CDC at the helm, which is rapidly gaining traction amongst Liberians.
And this is what Samuel Tweah and those supporting his call for the transformation of President Weah into a benevolent dictator appear incapable of accepting and may very well be prepared to take the entire nation down with them if they cannot maintain their hold on power by free, fair and transparent means through the ballot box.
Above all, the fact remains that there is rising public anger and mass discontent as the living standards of Liberians continue to fall with inflation gradually rising through the roof and, as the Liberian dollar continues to lose value against the US dollar.
As one political philosopher and former US Vice President once put it, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence”.
And, as French poet, dramatist and novelist Victor Hugo puts it “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right”.