WHEN THE LEADER CAN’T SAY NO’

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In 2014, the Observer had an exclusive sit down tête-à-tête with the Liberian President. It was a very frank discussion. We had published a story reporting that a young pastor and prophet, had announced a prophetic decree. The God of Heaven, he said, had decreed that the Liberian President should step down in order to save the state. The prophetic messaged was balanced. It gave Madam Sirleaf credit for her first-term successes, but expressed regret that the same could not be said of her second term.

“The President was very vibrant in her first term; but in this second term, she is truly declining,” the young prophet explained.

The prophet said President Sirleaf has not been able to succeed in the fight against corruption, and that her continued stay in power is making no impact.

“Ellen is failing; yet her government officials want her to remain in leadership, not for the good of the country, but to fulfill their selfish desires. This is detrimental to the progress of the State, as her staying in power until the end of her term may likely make it difficult to find the right successor,” he explained.

“I am of the understanding that Ellen should have led this country only for the first term.”

Asked what would happen if the President declined the message to step aside, the Prophet said he believed that someone who has not been selected by God would attempt taking over the country, and that could spell trouble.

Following the publication of that story, the President called the Observer publishers to announce the need to talk. When the publishers asked when they should appear at her residence, Madam Sirleaf insisted that she was coming to the Best residence.

At that meeting, the publishers asked the president some very frank questions. One of them was why the sitting president had FOUR sons in government, in varying positions of influence. Among the litany of reasons she gave, she explained why she had put Fumba Sirleaf at the head of the National Security Agency (NSA).

“Because of the history of that agency,” she said, “I wanted to put someone there to whom I could say ‘No!’ if they got out of hand.”

And so three months later, when the case of the disappearing US$247,500 surfaced, we were waiting expectantly to hear that resounding ‘No!’

The background is that some Koreans doing business in the country were suddenly raided, jailed, stripped and manhandled by security agents on the accusation of dealing in counterfeit money. An inquiry into the matter reportedly took place. The David Jallah-led special committee, appointed by the President, found no merit in the NSA’s accusations against said Koreans and recommended to the president that the businessmen’s money be refunded. August 2015, the men have now sued the Government of Liberia for damages because their money has not been refunded.

Our question is this: If the President cannot stand up to her own son on the issue of corruption (or even the semblance of it), then to whom will she say ‘No!’?

The answer is no one. Not to public officials who falsify their asset declarations (the executive has announced it will not take action against them such as, say, asking them to resign perhaps); nor to those who underperform (they simply get recycled).

And certainly not to those who own the economy.

So here we are. God bless Liberia and save the State.

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