No Liberian is more Liberian than the others: Mitigating cultural dishonesty and mis-education in Liberia require a democratic solution, a collective effort where citizens proffer and propound diverse constructive views for the Betterment of the Society. THAT SAID, I AM HAVING MY SAY FOR THE RECORD
Liberian Lawmaker is Categorically Wrong for the Condemnation: An Apology to Ambassador Christine Elder and Her Eight Colleagues
By: Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed, PhD
Recently, diplomats from various missions in Liberia including the United States, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway and Sweden requested the Liberian government with immediate effect, to restitute donor funds that were arbitrarily removed from the Central Bank’s accounts without the donors’ consent.
The letter in question signed by nine ambassadors from those countries named above was a serious political, national and international embarrassment, and blow to the government of President Weah. The letter directly accused the Liberian government of fiscal irresponsibility. The Minister of Information, Eugene Lenn Nagbe claimed that using donors’ resources in such a form and manner was a standard practice of the Liberian government and directly pointed finger at the Government of former President Sirleaf where Mr. Nagbe lastly served as Minister of information. The Honorable Minister did not produce a letter of similar nature accusing the Government of President Sirleaf, yet he was only interested in identifying PARTNER IN CRIME.
He claimed the government’s habitual practice of DIGGING HOLE AND COVERING HOLE, which is a corrupt and disingenuous practice of diverting funds, is customary disposition in the Liberian government. That is the Minister of Information whose performance seems now to be below standard perhaps of inundation and longevity in government offering explanations of the donors’ funds in question. Others from similar school of thought like that of Mr. Nagbe from the House of Representatives and parts of the Liberian government, whose understanding of diplomacy is either minute, mediocre or completely lacking, have also condemned the letter written by the ambassadors. The purpose of this article is to appeal to Ambassador Christine Elders and other eight Western Diplomats to forgive the sins of ignorance and ineptitude demonstrated by those who condemned the Nine Diplomats on account of their letter.
Few days ago, one of Liberian Lawmakers, who described himself as an opposition Lawmaker condemned The Nine Western Diplomats, who wrote a letter to His Excellency, President Weah protesting and demanding the restitution of donors’ funds arbitrarily removed from their account at the Central Bank of Liberia. Funds in question were generated by countries whose ambassadors wrote the President. The funds were set aside for targeted development projects in Liberia, but were not to be tempered with, let alone to withdraw without donors’ consent. The ambassadors stated: “Excellency, the so-called ‘borrowing initiative damages donors’ confidence in your government’s use of donors’ resources and its ability to serve as an effective partner in development programs. We are apprehensive about the potential negative impact such conduct may have on assistance to Liberia overall. We appreciate your understanding of our concerns and your prompt action to ensure that any funding that has been removed from donors’ account for expenditures outside of agreed uses is restored without delay and that such unacceptable practices cease immediately.”
Mediocre understanding of the Roles of Ambassadors, a Liberian Lawmaker erroneously thought the issue at hand was a child play. He criticized the ambassadors and suggested that they should have used different protocol where such issue will be referred to the respective President, and where again each President will call and complain directly to President Weah. I am not certain when this lawmaker became a student of diplomacy, and if for the sake of argument, he was schooled in diplomacy, is he more competent and knowledgeable about diplomatic issues than those nine in question? The lawmaker in question argues, “If there is any issue relating to diplomatic matter that the ambassadors have discovered, they need to channel it through the proper channel, but to disrespect the integrity of a sitting President of a sovereign nation like Liberia and also the citizens of Liberia need to be respected. If processes do not realize fruitful results, then you (ambassadors) can contact your Presidents, who will then contact President Weah.” Here again, deficiency and inadequacy in understanding diplomatic matter is glaringly demonstrated. Honorable Lawmaker, Wikipedia reminds us that ambassadors are diplomats of the highest rank, formally representing the Head of State with Plenipotentiary Powers, meaning ambassadors have full authority to represent their governments and presidents. In other words, Honorable Lawmaker, whenever you see Her Excellency Christine Elders, you have seen President Donald Trump of the United States of America. When she speaks, it is President Trump speaking. From her office in Mamba Point, any word she utters, her utterance is that of President Trump. These statements are equally true of all of the ambassadors that you, the Lawmaker have ignorantly condemned. Such reckless comments by you and others without consultation may have negative ripple effects on our government.
What if the United States Government closes it Embassy for such reckless statements? What can you, as a Liberian Lawmaker, and your likes offer the Government of President Weah? Better still, if the rest of the ambassadors you condemned pack their belongings, close their respective embassies, will Liberia survive? We must all collectively and constructively change the culture of corruption that has become a habit, a way of life and a cultural disposition in Liberia. Sycophancy and the culture of dishonesty are destroying our country. The action of the government was not thoughtful. We must be honest and speak truth to power. Why should the funds be tempered with? Does patriotism and nationalism constitute defending individuals, who diverted donor resources without proper account? The General Auditing Commission (GAC) damning reports of the US$25 million allegedly infused in the Liberian economy without proper account, is that not a further demonstration of fiscal irresponsibility by the government? Do you expect GAC to camouflage the reports? This is a serious shame and disgrace on our Government.
Amb. Elders and colleagues, as we have already made the case, some of those quick to speak on issues they have no knowledge of, do so in ignorance, ineptitude and sycophancy. You and your colleagues were right for bringing to book the misused and misapplication of donors’ funds, funds your respective governments contributed for the development of Liberia. The misapplication was corruption at the highest level. We applaud you and your colleagues and appeal that you triple your efforts and ensure funds in question are restituted. We equally so appeal and extend an apology to you and your other Western Counterparts for the uninformed comments made by a Liberian Lawmaker and the Minister of Information. Our people should not suffer for blunder and ineptitude of a selected few.
About the author:
Kadiker Rex Dahn holds two Masters and a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He formerly served as a Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Director General, National Commission of Higher Education. He is a member of the North America Scholar Consortium, membership with Highest Honor. Contact: [email protected]