January 22 will bring the administration of President George Manneh Weah to a full year. This first year of Weah was full of economic and social hurdles for the government and the citizens.
As high as expectations were, Liberians perceived from the onset that by the time President Weah took over, the exchange rate of the Liberian dollar and the US dollar would become stable to improve the purchasing power of ordinary citizens.
Instead, the exchange rate climbed even higher; which consequently led to skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and services such as transportation fares.
This inflation, in fact, deprived many parents of the chance send their children to school because the high prices of commodities, coupled with transportation and taxes caused schools to also raise their tuitions to enable them meet with other demands including salaries and supplies.
Many Liberian children who should be in school continue to be on the streets, peddling snacks and other items while other kids have become addicted to drug abuse.
The first year also saw the perceived increase of rampant corruption with LD$16 billion yet to be fully investigated and accounted for. The “Infusion of US$25 million” to mop up excess liquidity remains unexplained and the public declaration of assets by officials of government, including President Weah himself, is still a matter outstanding.
President Weah in his inaugural address delivered an impressive speech that received a rain of applause from the Liberian people; especially when he pointed out corruption as menace to fight and end, and urged public officials to consider themselves as servants, not masters.
Furthermore, the public became excited when the President spoke of giving attractive salaries to civil servants to prevent acts of corruption in the workplace.
As time went by, the opposite of these sweet words began to show. Reports about the President and his officials purchasing and erecting private properties filled the media, and since these criticisms started mounting, President Weah and his officials are yet to make explain how they are acquiring the properties.
The first year of this administration also witnessed rampant killings in the country. Our judicial correspondent recorded 14 murder cases in April of last year, and at the beginning of this year report has just emerged about a girl being gang raped and murdered.
In November last year riot broke out in Montserrado County District 13, during a political rally, wherein some people were allegedly killed. Interestingly, the City Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee was accused of leading the rioting group, but since this incident involving the City Mayor occurred, there has been no word from the President about the alleged act of his top official.
Liberians, many of who voted this government in power, have petitioned the National Legislature to enact a law that will establish a court to prosecute suspected war criminals to end impunity, but this petition was welcomed by dissenting views from officials including the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President himself.
We at the Daily Observer thought to flag these issues, not to discredit the President and the government, but to remind them of promises made to the people. Even though the Doe Community road and a few community roads have been completed in recent days, the above issues are too glaring to look away from.
Instead of companies opening employment opportunities for the citizens, most of them are laying off workers while some are shutting down due to unfavorable economic environment.
The Daily Observer thinks that spotlighting these instances and occurrences can remind the President to plan well and tell the Liberian people in a candid tone how his administration can handle them.
It remains unequivocally clear that many Liberians, because of Weah’s life accomplishments and orientation, are enamored with him.
Nevertheless, not even this iconic Liberian President order will be able to maintain the love and loyalty in the face of broad-day corruption, dismantling of constitutional and other governance structures, and unmet expectations.
Therefore, Mr. President, Liberians are looking up to you for good leadership, not likeability, in 2019.