By Kadiker Rex Dahn, PhD
From antiquity, in the African context, very rarely do individuals and governments take responsibility for failure. “Outsiders” usually take the blame for any failure of a sitting government. In Liberia, the government of President Weah was ushered in on January 21st, 2018 with flamboyant political promises prominent among which were the declaration that Liberians will no longer be spectators of their own economy and the ill-conceived and formulated pro-poor agenda among others. President Weah, once admired by his followers, now, in the eyes of Cedicians, has become a failure. President Weah and his co-lieutenants have failed to fulfill their promises thus the protest votes by their supporters. The pro-poor agenda has not worked, is not working and will not work. Instead, the pro-poor agenda is actually killing the poor. Cedicians and Liberians across the board are outraged and regretted voting for President Weah and the CDC. Liberians and Cedicians sent a message to the government of the CDC with their protest votes first during the by-election that brought in Senator Darius Dillon. President Weah and his government refused to listen to the voices of the people. Again, on December 8, 2020, Liberians and conscious-minded Cedicians in their thousands voted to reelect Senator Darius Dillon. Eugene Fahngon, a deputy minister in the CDC’s government known for his divisive and reactionary comments is right to predict that President Weah’s popularity will not deliver the presidency to CDC in 2023 if voters are not satisfied but damn wrong to blame “outsiders’ in the government for the failure and massive defeat of CDC. This article will attempt to argue that CDC’s defeat, failure, inability to deliver and properly govern solely lies on the shoulder of President Weah and not “outsiders.”
On December 21, 2020, the Daily Observer carried a story under the caption, “Eugene Fahngon predicted Weah’s popularity not enough to win 2023 election”. In this publication, Fahngon emphatically stated that CDC’s government may be defeated if corrective measures here now not taken to weed out “outsiders”. Fahngon further stated, “I will expose them. They are the evil ones around the president and their mission is to make him unpopular and unappreciated by the nation’s majority suffering people.” The above statement and conclusion are Eugene Fahngon’s diagnosis and prescription to heal the politically ailing CDC.
We deliberately chose the word prescription in the title of this article because it seems to us that by the insinuation of Eugene Fahngon, something is politically wrong with the leadership of the CDC. For us, we believe that not only something is politically wrong in the CDC but we strongly believe that CDC as a political party is politically sick and needs a better prescription for survival. As a remedy to address what is politically wrong with CDC, Farhgon recommended weeding out “outsiders” in the government as a better prescription to address the uncertainty and pandemonium among partisans of the CDC. By the way, prescription is a medical term- a medicine that is ordered by a doctor as a remedy. Just as doctors order prescriptions to address patients’ medical needs so Eugene Fahngon offered to remove “outsiders” in the government to enable the government of President Weah to efficiently deliver on political promises. Analytically, we classify Farhgon’s conclusion as misdiagnosis and certainly his conclusion is not the panacea to the political, economic, health, educational and social problems that have besieged the government of President Weah. Just as a number of CDCians have not been able to speak truth to power-telling President Weah about his culpability and inability to properly function as the Commander-In-Chief, so is Farhgon’s failure to speak truthfully and forcefully to the mess created since President Weah’s incumbency. Closely and critically analyzing President Weah and his government, we strongly believe that “outsiders” in the government are not the cause for the failure of President Weah and his government. Instead, we believe that the fundamental problem with President Weah and his government is kakistocracy.
Kakistocracy as President Weah’s major deficiency
As the political leader and head of government, we hold President Weah culpable for the ineptitude in every perimeter of his government. He is the Appointing Power and should have known the potential and competence of each of his appointees. Running a government is not child’s play, nor is it for friendship or a social club. When competence is lacking in governance, the outcome is kakistocracy. Kakistocracy is defined as “worst persons in power or a form of government in which worst persons are in government.” Kakistocracy sounds strong and certainly may hurt or offend others especially President Weah and his lieutenants. Should that be the case, we apologize but in all sincerity, we do not want to be seen as Eugene Farhgon to withhold the truth. Without fear or favor, we maintain that the problem in President Weah’s government is kakistocracy. We made this claim because President Weah is the vision bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change and by extension, the Coalition for Democratic Change. In our thinking, President Weah knows his platform and how to implement such a platform. On the other hand, if the platform and its implementation bring us to a level where the pro-poor agenda formulated is no longer working for the poor but killing the poor, it indicates that something is wrong. What is wrong is that wrong and incompetent loyalists who do not have any education, experience and knowledge about government and its function have been placed into positions of trust. When we have a political party like CDC that came to power claiming that “this is our time”, it speaks louder. Whether it is their time to ransack and enrich themselves speaks to the current state of affairs in the country. President Weah in our analysis and opinion placed individuals into positions because of loyalty without considering competency. We wonder whether President Weah personally scrutinized the academic credentials of some of his appointees. If a president appointed an individual to the Ministry of Finance yet such person has not been able to deliver and such a person is the love child of the President, it speaks to the fact that the President himself has a serious problem. Appointment of individuals at the Central Bank of Liberia and other financial institutions because they are party’s loyalists and not considering competence brings us to the result we saw in the December 8, 2020 mid-term senatorial elections. When a government is geographically or regionally based, certainly, the result of December 8, 2020 will surface. When rapes are on the increase where women and young girls are afraid of not knowing what may happen to them, the result of December 8, 2020 is obvious as a reward for such a government. When crimes are on the increase, government officials been mysteriously murdered and perpetrators haven’t been caught and citizens are afraid of not knowing what may happen to them, when there is an election, the obvious result and reward for such a government is defeat. When three branches of the government failed to perform, citizens certainly will be yearning for a change and the December 8, 2020 protest vote is the outcome. When a government challenged the ruling of the Supreme Court like the case of the National Referendum, it shows such a government does not respect the rule of law and if there is an election, such a government will be massively defeated. When a government challenged a regional body like ECOWAS’ Supreme Court ruling in the case of former Justice Ja’neh, it shows that such a government is not mature and when there is an election, such a government will be defeated like what happened on December 8, 2020 mid-term senatorial elections.
Liberian dollars were made for Liberians. If there is a scarcity of Liberians dollars in the markets while government officials are in possession of new banknotes and at the same time, marketers and those who deposited their money at various local banks can only withdraw mutilated notes, speaks to the fact that citizens will vote against such a government. When a government that campaigned on change for hope and hope is no longer hope for but hopelessness has become the order of the day, certainly, such a government is expected to be defeated during an election. When a government barely few months in office is besieged by claims of stealing 16billion Liberian dollars, followed by 4 billion dollars, misapplication of 25 million United States dollars and the list goes on, certainly, conscience minder citizens will vote against such a government, thus the result of the December 8, 2020 senatorial elections.
Liberians are not Fools
Eugene Fahngon and the leadership of the CDC, Liberians are not fools. When President Weah refused to declare his assets and his appointed officials including Fahngon followed suit. What Fahngon expects of reasonable electorates if not defeat for such a government? The CDC government misapplied donors’ funds and in a communication to President Weah, donors accused the government of irresponsible misused of donors’ funds. Ministry of Information, where you, Eugene Fahngon works as a deputy minister response to the donors’ allegation was that such practice was routine and in fact, referred to it as “dig-hole-cover-hole.” Certainly, citizens will be ready to demonstrate their power in voting against such a government with such an elementary answer. The President who refused declaring his assets was also quick in demolishing old buildings replacing them with new ones. The 48 Housing Units constructed by President Weah without declaring his assets clearly made Liberians to think and believe that President Weah is not a transparent leader likewise his government.
In this article, we debunked and partially demonstrated major governance deficiencies in the George Weah led government as oppose to Eugene Fahngon’s erroneous notion of “outsiders” as the cause of the government’s failure. The major underlying factor of President Weah and his government’s failure is kakistocracy. The President has failed to demonstrate transparency, competency, honesty, and good governance. By all indications, President Weah handling of the Covid-19 crisis, failure to be vigilant and cognizant of his appointees’ performances, inability to have live interactions with the press on pressing national issues and concerns as well as baseless and untimely constant musical compositions for social acquaintances rather than building a strong Foreign Service Team to reach out to friendly nations, all in all, make a mockery of our country. Certainly, Liberians are watchful and will not trade their votes for a half bag of rice, cash or anything that will undermine their constitutional and fundamental rights. The defeat of the CDC in the December 8, 2020 mid-term senatorial elections shows that Liberians are ready for a democratic change of government. Knowing who President Weah is and his government’s poor and questionable performances, Eugene Fahngon, you are right to predict that CDC is at the brink of giving up power in 2023 general elections but damn wrong to blame “outsiders” on President Weah and his government’s failure. Kakistocracy is President Weah’s problem.
About the author: Kadiker Rex Dahn holds a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. Respectively, he served as a Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Director-General, National Commission on Higher Education. He is an author of the Book, “Learning from the Lives of Exiled Liberians: An Oral History from 1979-2006. He is a member of the North America Scholar Consortium, Membership with the Highest Honor. Contact:[email protected]