Letter to President George M. Weah: Show Us the Way Forward

1
1980

Dear President Weah,

Congrats on being the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia. You won in a free and fair election. And you were able to have a peaceful transfer of power since 1944. For that, I am proud of you and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for making sure this happened. I would also give special thanks to former VP Boakai for being the Statesman that he was and is of Liberia.

Mr. President, I admire you as a Black man, a Liberian, a distinguished African and world-class Footballer. But I still don’t think you are the man for the job to be president.

When you ran for president this time, I paid more attention to your platform — or let’s say the lack of a platform. I understand that in Liberia people say, “you get elected based on popularity and not what you stand for.”  You managed to walk into the presidency without telling the Liberian people what you will do for the country. I had little hope that you would do that in your inauguration speech on 22nd January 2018.

Again, you failed the citizens once more by playing the same role your predecessor played. You didn’t address the issues challenging our country. You did not address the health care system, job creation, education, infrastructure and Agriculture just to name the pressing issues.

You spoke of peace and reconciliation. We just finished an election and politics is a blood sport. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. We have moved our country out of that era of turmoil due to the 12 years of peace under former President Sirleaf’s regime. We as a country will not go back to that way of life anymore. Enough of our sisters and brothers have died and we are not going back to that anymore.

I know and understand that some in the international community try to make it seem that we were savages. Mr. Weah, you were not the cause of the civil war and you had no part in it. Your focus should have been on the development of the country. You should have set goals to put the country on a course to development. Some of the goals you should have set for our country are as follow: Liberia will cut the dependence on imported rice; we will support the growing of rice by Liberians; we will train 1,500 plus plumbers that will be put to work to improve the plumbing system in the country; we will train young women and men in the field of electricity that will help Liberia move our power grid into the 21st century.

Sir, you failed to show us the way to move forward. Your administration is being filled with past government officials of the regime you just succeeded, individuals you people said were not fit to be in office.

Sir, I had hopes your State of the Nation Address would provide the way forward for our country. Young people of Liberia need job training to enable them provide for themselves. We indeed have a large working age population that can grow and develop our economy, but they need sound education and effective training.

But instead you spoke of giving non-blacks citizenship. You didn’t address the lack of education that is destroying the upcoming generation. I feel you give lip service to the problems and you are not seriously ready to tackle the real issues at hand.

Sir, have you read the news lately about Africans in Israel? Have you read the comments about “Shithole countries”? The country needs to educate the young minds we have in this country. Not everybody can be a lawyer or doctor. We need to build an economy that could improve the life of every Liberian; help provide education that will lift us all out of poverty.

Please, when you ask and receive outside aid, please let it be an aid that teaches us to fish, instead of giving us the fish. If you want to make change to the constitution, I believe you should start with the wordings. For example, there are parts in that document that refer to “his” and not “her” ….+. I think it is time that women feel included in our country. For too long we have treated women as second class in this country; this is time we fix that. Mr. President, I wish you nothing but the best in you in the years to come, because when you succeed, Liberia succeeds. Thank you, God bless you and God bless Liberia.

Mengistu E. Wolokolie

Authors

1 COMMENT

  1. Nice commentary Mengistu, except for few complimentary references as flatteries to president Weah and his political makers, which which I found bothersome or misplaced. For instance, you praised Weah and Sirleaf for a “free and fair” election. That veneration ought to, instead, always be reserved for VP Boakai, who put aside all personal ambition and self-interest for peace and tranquility in Liberia, by grounding any further rigmarole after the election which was by all reasonable and transparent accounts, rigged in favor of King George. It is a fact that all Liberian dailies and online news outfits reported a “poor and lackluster” turnout on election day, yet at the end of the day the tallies of votes from across the country were nearly equal to the total number of registered voters. How come? How did those virtual empty polling places produce all those huge numbers in the evening? As for your trust and hope in president Weah to do the right thing, I can assure you from experience that what we see now is a prelude to what is coming. Aside from the general and conventional expectation that these things improve over time, the Liberian situation would only follow that trend provided, president Wean even started on a good footing. For example, when Samuel Doe took over power even as a military man, his initial policies and actions were people centered, that is until he started getting accustomed to power and all its trappings then he got too big for himself and tone-deaf to suggestions and criticisms to reverse course. I need not remind you of hat happened next, as we are still reeling from that myopia. All in all, you touched very salient points in your piece. Hopefully those who have ears, will hear. Thank you.

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