And Why Does He Keep Messing Up, Again And Again?
By Attorney Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best
The World Is A Liberian Child!
I was the flower,
I was the fruit;
I became the tree,
I spread my roots.
I bridged the world,
I built it high.
I crossed the ocean,
I scanned the sky.
I climbed the mountains,
I roamed the wild.
Who was I?
The Liberian Child!
(© 1981. KNAB)
Yes, that child was to become the young man we came to know, love and admire. It did not change after he was elected president of Liberia, following a successful career in professional soccer. Had I voted for him? No. I voted for someone else. But after we got over the numbers going against the candidate we wanted—and voted for—we knew we just had to throw our support behind whoever carried the most votes.
Has President Weah come to see and understand the “give and take” that the employers, (the people), and the President, (elected to serve the people) expect and must receive from each other? That he has to accept, work with, and support those who did not vote for him, as well—all of them? We are not quite sure that he does.
What we do know, is that it usually takes some time. We must remember that the presidency is a hotly desired and vigorously contested position. And the candidates were busy preparing. So, we will still allow President Weah some time;k but he has to learn to listen to his people—all of them!
Not everyone can become president. But don’t try telling Liberians that. They are from another world, when it comes to the presidency. Except for a few Liberians, nothing else in the world matters when it comes to becoming president. It is their raison d’etre (the whole point of life); their constitution, (foundation, structure).
ALL WERE BORN TO BE PRESIDENT
What they are saying—and most Liberians do not realize that they are saying it—is that, each of them must have a chance as president; that’s why they all want to be the man in charge. It is what they believe, what want to get, and what most will keep trying for, though few will ever find the means to make the attempt.
But they cannot help being what they are: it is in their constitution: their makeup, their veins, their blood, their psyche, (their consciousness, their mind). It is something that belongs to them; their birthright! It is just not in The Constitution, yet—meaning it is not yet on Paepah, (not written).
But, one day it will get there. That is just the Liberian way: presidents all! Maybe we could we begin preparing them by just calling everybody: Madam President; Mr. President; and make everybody happy? It’s something to think about. But, thinking about it, maybe not. That could just be the problem we seem to be stuck with already; call it the “presidency syndrome.” Name a man—any Liberian—Mr. President, and he goes wild: thinks he can get out there and do any damned thing he wants! Kick everybody out, and around, and say “dah fohborh (football).
OPPONG TO FIX EVERYTHING — IN 4 MONTHS
At my neighbor’s the other day, I asked the husband — a CDCian — how things were going. I hadn’t seen them for a while and, knowing how I had voted, he took the lead, trying to block what he believed was the beginning of a political attack on the presidency: He ignored my question, announcing that within a few months, things were going to be fine with Pres. Weah and the challenges he has been facing recently.
“Look, my man,” I told him, once the counting made it plain who the winner was, I was done with it. “All the people I know decided that the contest was over, and it was time to come together and make the interest of the country and people, our priority number one.”
We chatted a little more, and then I decided to ask him what I thought was a simple question. It was not, and I soon found out: “tell me,” I asked, “what went wrong?” He took a while; and just as I thought he was about to say something, he chuckled (giggled, laughed quietly). I took advantage of his inability to come up with an answer, and ended the conversation: “Don’t bother to answer,” I advised him, and quietly walked away.
SHAW KNOW FOHBORH TOO
So the question has become: why does this one man–“the people’s man” — keep messing up? Infact-seh — how long will he keep doing it? The game of politics he said he wanted to play, and is now playing, is just like fohborh. But it is not fohborh! And even fohborh, he had to learn from the start. And nobody needs to tell him that.
“Why isn’t Leroy” (Emmanuel Shaw) trying to talk to Oppong small about all this? Or is it that Oppong is not listening, to a damned thing anybody tells him, because now he is a master of Politics and does not want to learn anything, even though he is still trying to master sitting down good in the presidential chair — and is still learning that one! Now he wants to apply his PH. D. to Politics, forgetting about taking time to lehn the A, B, C’s of Political Science.
Shaw knows fohborh too. He was right there in that South Beach, PHP, (Public Health Pond) area; not Public Health Pump as Tuan Wreh called it in his book: The Love of Liberty. The government pump was right there, true; but Public Health, where our mother used to work, had an experimental pond on the way toward the Soldiers’ Barracks: Public…Health…Pond!
Shaw didn’t have to go far to be playing, when he was growing up. He had a big, sandy football field right in front of their yard. What happened to allor yoh almond trees up front? Say, Leroy, I’m callin’ you ma-a-a-an?
CAPTAIN OF MANY TEAMS
Somebody needs to tell The Man that politics is also teamwork—just as much, if not more so than soccer. But there are just too many teams, and he is playing for all of them—not just one—and not even two or three. He is playing for fifty or more teams, and he is the captain for all the teams that the nation on, and around. The most important thing is that all of the teams are on the same side. When one team scores, all of the teams end up on the winning side—one team, under the same flag.
SOMETHING IN EVERYONE’S MOUTH
The beauty of Politic is that when it is time to eat, everybody must eat: not just the big or the strong; or the tall or the short; but the young, the old, the sick, and the well, also. Something must go into everybody’s mouth—not forgetting the dying as well as those that are just being born.
They must all get something (small thing) to keep them quiet, satisfied and happy. We mean everybody, not just the pro poor people. Otherwise, they will fight. And when they fight, it will not be easy. Maybe Dr. Weah was too young to remember that. Or he was just too busy learning the game—from scratch—and we are talking football—the A, B, C’s that our hero, President George, Oppong Weah, mastered—and should apply to everything else.
OPPONG AIN’T GOT ENOUGH WORK TO DO?
You told the people that your football days were over, and you needed work to do. The work you said you wanted was president work. They gave it to you. The job they gave you has a lot of work inside. You have not even started yet.
But, instead of sticking to your own job, you are running around trying to do most of the things the people you feel are against you, tell you to leave alone. Why? So you can get vexed because they are telling you the right thing and you want to have your own way, whereas those things are not part of your job description? That those things ain’t b’long you to do. You didn’t ask before you said you wanted the job of president, finding out what you can do and what you cannot do?
What kind of behavior is that! And Mr President, you can’t keep hiding behind I am not breaking the Law; You are breaking the Law when you kick people out of work when you do not have the authority to do so. There are no Free Kicks in this game. You have to play by the RULES.
WHAT IS THE PR MAN PART OF WORK?
The presidency job is not about running around looking for anything you see, want to do, or feel like kicking. This is not football and if you ask, anybody who can kick a ball, will answer you. Even the pro poor people themselves say they do not know what pro poor is really about, and are asking the poor, poor people: “what Is It”? Maybe this is something you can devote some time to, explaining to those of us that do not know.
AS THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE SAY: THANK YOU