By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed, PhD
I salute our progressive fathers, those who are alive as well as those who have gone into glory for solidly laying the foundation of the multi-party democratic system in Liberia. In laying the foundation, indeed it wasn’t bread and butter but bloodshed, and untold sufferings. In 1979, the “Rice Riot speaks” of the “struggle,” Retrospecting the past, considering the experiences of the present and the struggle that lies ahead, our progressive fathers from the political trenches came up with the political manifesto which states, “In the Cause of the People, the Struggle Continues.” From the 1970s up to January 21, 2018, this manifesto became the path in which sons and daughters of progressivism in part took their strength.
Surprisingly, on January 22, 2018, at an inaugural address by President George Weah after laying out his vision for the country, concluded by telling the Liberian people that “In the Cause of the People, the Struggles must End.” We ask, has President Weah taken concrete steps to address Liberian plights to end the struggles inherited from one successive generation to another?
Our answer is a resounding No and, on the contrary, we maintain that since coming to power, President Weah has created more problems with more struggles and those problems undermine the struggle of our progressive fathers. This article will attempt to argue that the call by President Weah to end the struggle without putting in place concrete mechanisms and practicing what he preaches to end the struggle was not thoughtful.
When progressive fathers said in the cause of the people, the struggle continues, they were referencing the fight to end or curtail many cultural liabilities prominent among which include nepotism, corruption, alienation, etc. When in President Weah’s inaugural address, he stated that the struggle must end, conscientious individuals extrapolated that immediately, the President, whose campaign slogan, “Change for Hope”, could actualize his promise. From what has been known thus far, the actions or inactions of President Weah-led government speaks for the fact that he was quick and not thoughtful to call for the end of the “struggle.”
Legends Gabriel Baccus Matthews, Conmany Wesseh, Amos Sawyer, H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Togba Nah Tipoteh and other progressive fathers, who suffered for multi-party democracy could oppose what is at present unfolding in the leadership of President Weah. The CDC-led government from initial analysis seems not only to have failed on nepotism, but on what we called geographical or regional nepotism. By geographical or regional nepotism, we intend to argue that President Weah’s appointees in government miserably lacks the test of inclusiveness where almost all appointed are from the Southeast where he hails from.
We ask, did only the people of the Southeast vote for him and no sector of the country voted, and thus wants to appease his electorates? We wonder how with such alienation in government, can a president call for an end of struggles? Such action of alienation, is it not against what our progressive fathers fought for? Progressive fathers championed equality, regardless of ethnic or religious backgrounds, but with the ascendancy of George Weah to the Presidency, such effort seems to be undermined. How is it then Excellency that you are demanding the end of the political struggle when willfully, you have created more struggles by alienating a cross-section of the citizenry? Better still, philosophically, is it possible Excellency to end struggle of any kind while one is alive?
Indeed, the pronouncement in ending Liberian struggles seems to be a political rhetoric with reality far-fetched. Consider prices of local commodities where things are heading for the wrong direction, is that the way you intend to end the struggles? Our staple food price is at an astronomical rate, and there seems to be no concrete mechanism to curtail such increment. In what manner and form Excellency can the struggles the Liberian people are going through come to an end?
Liberian-owned businesses, promised by you that they would not be spectators in their own economy, have not been provided opportunity that would enable them to actualized what you promised. Rather than Liberian businesses not being spectators, they are gate keepers, not even allowed to come on the field of Liberianization, the national policy of the Liberian government. The CDC’s government under your leadership has been besieged by claims of corruption, and bad governance where citizens under the umbrella of Council of Patriots (CoP) in mass has given one month ultimatum to address some of the pressing issues facing the nation. Here again, as a protégé of progressivism we ask, in what manner and form Excellency, that you expect the struggles to end?
Finally, from the above analysis, you may agree that you are struggling to ensure genuine democratic leadership where equality, fair play and inclusion would be the cornerstones. The fact that you are struggling indicates that ending the struggles are remote propositions. You have surrounded yourself with individuals, who will not honestly tell you the truth. You are right in part to have some of your folks around you, but the presidency is not for supporters alone, but educated and experienced citizens with impeccable records, who will guard you both at the national and international levels.
Again, Excellency, these suggestions are being made in good faith for the better of your leadership, and that of our country. We are taken aback of your refusal and unwillingness to fight against cronyism, corruption and regional nepotism. Gabriel Baccus Matthews once said of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s election, “This is the President all of us did not vote for, but this is the President all of us have.” Bad governance destroys the fabric of a nation, thus our candid advice to take stock of your activities since incumbency, because, we believe those activities undermine your quest to end the struggles. Emphatically, we maintain like our Progressive Fathers that “IN THE CAUSE OF THE PEOPLE, THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES!!!”
About the author
Kadiker Rex Dahn holds a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He is a member with distinction of the North America Scholar Consortium. Contact: [email protected].