Purging Corruption of Liberia: Efficacy of the Sigmund Freud or Hammurabi Code Panacea

Simply Thinking Thoughts

In my thinking thoughts, I pondered the theme which continues to resonate in discourses delivered by national and international pundits regarding corruption in Liberia. As ex-President Sirleaf departed and ushered President Weah, she lamented that despite her declaration that corruption was public enemy number one, she along with her able lieutenants Amara Konneh, Dr. Gayeweah Mccintosh et al. was unable to curtail it.

As a sequel, no sooner had President Weah taken the Presidential oath than corruption escalated and incessantly gnawed at the fabrics of this staggering 175-year-old nation-state. The concern that lingers is since subscription to Sigmund Freud’s theory to purge Liberia of corruption has not worked, whether applying the Hammurabi code would suffice as the more efficacious or effective panacea.

Confirmations of Corruption 

Ruling Party Level Confirmation    My Fellow Brabbies, recently the existence of rampant corruption in Liberia has been confirmed by both ruling party members and the opposition. In one instance, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Chairman Morlu in his infamous “liquor talk” outburst accused President Weah of corruption and bad governance.

As if Morlu had not done sufficient damage to the ruling party’s image, Acarous Gray took to the media to lambast President Weah and two of his confidants Nathaniel McGill and Samuel Tweah for bad governance in his infamous attack, “The things we promised the Liberian people, we are not doing them” Realistically, CDC’s promise to be transparent was dashed when the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) which is supposed to be the watchdog against corruption found itself also embroiled in corruption; National Elections Commission Chair Davidetta Browne Lassanah was indicted for corruption for conniving with a relative to steal from the GOL; Chief Justice Korkpor conceded that the judiciary is corrupt; the Agriculture Minister was also caught in corruption by having a relative who is not working at the MOA serve as a signatory to one of its accounts. 

Opposition Level Confirmation:    On the opposition side, “poor man’s lawyer” Tiawan Gongloe recently confirmed Alexander Cumminng’s outcries that Liberia is corrupt to the highest degree and if the CDC is re-elected, the country would suffer immensely. Of course, Senator Darius Dillon’s quest to expose corruption at the legislature remains unabated. 

International Level Confirmation:    At the international level, the “corrupt Liberia” discourse is also resonating. During the 200 years of return celebrations, the special envoy from US President Joe Biden’s office averred that Liberian government officials care only to enrich themselves instead of caring for the benefit of the country; the US Ambassador to the UN, Madam Greenfield, and the present US Ambassador Michael McCarthy to Liberia corroborated corruption is indeed a way of life in Liberia.

The Panacea

For the sake of the layman, a panacea is a permanent cure, a remedy, or a solution. To purge is to cleanse. For example, back in the day when any one of my brothers farted (let out bad air from his stomach), mama would scream, “Who lose their manners here?” The ethic was, that you were supposed to leave the gathering quickly if you felt like farting, or else you were guilty of losing your manners.  If Mama asked and nobody confessed to the farting, everybody would be “tateed” The tatee was a pump filled with some herbal laxative that she pumped down our rectums; within a few seconds, the feces (pupu) that made our fart stink, would gush out of our rectums. 

To avoid Mama’s tough panacea or solution to farting among people, anytime anybody wanted to fart, he would go to the corner and place his left hand over his butt, fart the preliminary fart and smell it, before farting the real fart. We all knew farting a stinking fart around Mama meant “tatee” for cleansing. That was Mama’s panacea for dealing with dirty stomachs that produced pungent scents and rancor just as corruption is currently doing in Liberia.

Looking back, I posit a major reason for which Liberia has not been purged of corruption is that we have not administered the appropriate tatee or panacea. When cases of corruption emerge, there is noise for two weeks with anticipation that those involved would be struck with punitive blows so harsh that their mothers would regret they pushed them out of their doggone wombs in the first place. Instead of taking strong “tatee” actions, we leave the matter with judges which the Chief Justice accused of being corrupt, to decide corruption cases, hence setting the goddamn culprits free to fly.

Failure of the Sigmund Freud Panacea

You see my Brabees, the panacea or solution which has been applied to purge Liberia of corruption has been the Sigmund Freud method which appeals to the conscious mind of an individual and is manifested by three traits of his personality: The ID, EGO and SUPER-EGO.

 According to Freud’s psychoanalytical theory, the ID is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the SUPER-EGO operates as a moral conscience, and the EGO is the realistic part that operates between the desires of the ID and the SUPER-EGO.

For example, you are a teacher in a classroom endowed with very beautiful female students with tempting morphologies which frequently ignite sexual desires in you. Your unprecedented cravings to have sex with your female students come from the ID which pesters you for you to quench it. In response, the EGO encourages you to use your authority, select a student or two and enjoy yourself and quench your sexual desire or ID. In protest to the EGO, the SUPEREGO intervenes and presents the consequences of your action. Suppose the people’s daughter gets pregnant?  Suppose she has a boyfriend who might impregnate her and she says it is you, what would be your defense? Suppose while on the out-of-town trip, the student died in her sleep in the hotel or the little place where you took her to sex her up, how would your whole life proceed henceforth? Suppose she was extremely vivacious that you ran out of breath and you died instead in the little corner, what kind of tribute would your wife and children give at your funeral?

Albeit, the SUPER-EGO being outnumbered in most cases doesn’t win, because people proceed to quench their lustful desires. In Liberia, regardless of how loud the SUPER-EGO screams, people still violate female students, they still cheat, government officials still steal and lie, and bathe in their pools of corruption. Sadly, Liberia has not complied with Sigmund Freud’s method of cleansing due to its soft approach unlike the Hammurabi Code which does not take sides but responds to Newton’s third law of motion that “to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

The Hammurabi Code Panacea

The Code of Hammurabi is often described as being harsh because of its concept of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This means that the punishment for a crime must equal the crime that was committed. Over Hammurabi’s rule, society walked circumspectly with fear and hindsight of the looming consequences of the Hammurabi Code.

The Appropriate Panacea for Corruption in Liberia

To cleanse a country like Liberia which is so engrained in corruption needs a heavy hand rule similar to the Hammurabi Code to avoid impunity. If a government official steals, his personal property should be seized; a public official who lies under oath should have his tongue severed; a teacher who sexually violates students should be castrated to relieve him of future sexual desires; integrity officers including NEC or LACC commissioners found in corruption should bear double punishment by their roles as shepherds. 

You see, in Liberia when corruption cases come out, instead of approaching it as a nation, some tend to proffer defenses on grounds that because it occurred “Ellen Sirleaf time”, it should continue. This is why deportees and indictees who were sent to jail for corruption in cases such as the LPC, NOCAL, and Lone Star MTN cases are still serving in this government with impunity. Since conscience and prayers cannot purge Liberia of corruption, many Liberians are suggesting we revert to a more efficacious method, similar to the Hammurabi Code of the “an eye for an eye”, and a “tooth for a tooth” so Liberians can learn. 

Simply Thinking Thoughts!

About the Author

The Rivercess man, CEO, and founder of the Diversified Educators Empowerment Project (DEEP), Mwalimu-Koh M. Blonkanjay Jackson holds a Master of Education from Harvard University, and a Master of Science in Mathematics Education from St. Joseph’s University; he is a Yale University Teachers Initiative Math Fellow and UPENN Teacher Institute Physics Fellow. He is s part-time lecturer at the UL Graduate School of Education. Mr. Jackson served the government of Liberia diligently for four years and returned to private practice as Development Specialist and Education Engineer. The Mwalimu-Koh can be reached at 0886 681 315