Can Weah Listen? Part I

Authored by Julius T. Jaesen, II

As Liberia turned 173 years on Sunday, July 26, 2020, there are sundry of concerns from Liberians home and abroad about the message delivered by the Independence Day Orator. Most Liberians are concerned whether President Weah this time around will listen to the voice of wisdom and do the most appropriate thing to lead this country from misery to prosperity. What the Orator has said is a normal chorus that has consistently been intoned by all Liberians both home and abroad. There is nothing new that Liberians have not expressed about their leaders that Bishop Dr Dunbar had said in the Independence Oration. However, we thank him for seizing onto a bigger platform with the moral courage and abdominal fortitude to lift our melodious voices.

As Leymah Gbowee and others have said on river of occasions, the national orator’s speech does not fall short of the same genuine concerns raised by us all who are daring patriots of the home soil. The Liberian state is rapidly deteriorating under Weah but there seem to be a lack of political will on the part of the President to listen to the growing concerns from the people. During Liberia’s 172nd Independence Day Celebration, Nobel Laureate, Leymah Gbowee, raised most of what the recent orator highlighted in his speech but her message felt on dead ears. The President saw the occasion as mere pageantry and not a call to national duty to do what is most honourable to lead this nation from the ashes of hopelessness and despair to a buoyancy of new hope. Therefore, the question then is, will the President listen to what the orator’s message lifted yesterday? Yet he promised that his government is on course and would do what is required to develop this country and its citizenry. But true to our consciences, we know that President Weah doesn’t listen and will not take into consideration the genuine concerns advanced in yesterday’s message. Both Leymah Gbowee and Pst. Dr Simeon L. Dunbar have all centred their messages on how can we be stronger together in the midst of rampant corruption, spiralling inequality, poverty and colossal unemployment. Certainly, we cannot be stronger together when Weah and his people that came on the mantra of “Change for Hope” have abandoned their promise to drive a socialist policy that is foundationed on seeking the interest of the poor but rather take solace in building mansions overnight and driving luxurious cars when the people who stood in long queues to vote can barely find a meal to eat. Yes, Pst. Dunbar was right when he averred that the change is here but there is certainly no hope. Indeed Liberians have democratically dethroned the Unity Party-led administration and brought to power a native-born Liberian who came from the dread of society like them with the hope that the change will deliver hope plus a better Liberia. But sadly regrettably, the change is here but there is no hope about a healthier Liberia and Liberians. Liberians home and abroad have begun to question the administration on its promises as they see Weah and his select few cabinet officials dipping in extravagance and wealth. Certainly, no president who came to power on the mantra of driving a socialist pro-poor policy will find growing pleasure in buying a fleet of bulletproof cars for himself when his people cannot afford daily meals. Yes, no president who believes in a pro-poor policy will find delight in using the country’s resources to build condominiums for himself when our health centres across the country have turned into cemeteries and mortuaries for the dead and not health centres for the sick. That in itself is not pro-poor but a pro-crook policy.

Where do we stand together, when there is no equal platform for all? Rev. Dunbar was right absolutely when he opined in his message that “while some are standing in the trenches of Bokon Jeadea, others are standing in unmerited riches and stolen wealth. While the majority are standing in the swamps of Gbayhdin, others are relaxing on the top of Mount Nimba”. However, the unanswered question is not will Weah listen but can Weah listen? Certainly, Weah cannot listen! But cunningly, he pledged yesterday that his government will listen and is doing exceedingly well to unite the people.

Perhaps, the greatest threat posed to the legacy of Weah’s administration is not our opposition to his failed policies (and we shall remain opposed to the demise of this rotten system), but the hypocrisy of his cabinet officials who are the real hustlers and looters, compelled by greed to complete their circle of thievery and will be on the next flight when things fall apart. These are the ones that go out of the way to brand daring patriots like me and my kind who stand our ground consistently and persistently for close to three unbroken years as ‘enemies of the state’, even in the face of crippling economic circumstances!

Economic and political reform is an unpaid debt the government of Liberia owes its people. President Weah’s sworn oath of office in 2018 consummated a legally binding contract to ensure the debt was paid within a reasonable political period. That debt was anchored on a pro-poor policy. And pro-poor policy by its definition is a policy that is targeted at lifting the poor from the ashes of poverty to a place of increased economic opportunities. But embarrassingly shameful, President Weah defaulted on the promises and trampled underfoot the people’s power of attorney. This careless betrayal of trust has led to increased aggravated social hierarchies and economic inequalities only favourable to the wealthy and powerful as the ordinary people from WestPoint, Gibraltar, New Kru Town, Slipway, Doe Community and many other places crawl under the unbearable burdens of lack and despair. Comrade Weah’s time-stretched intercourse with the Liberian people is tragically headed towards the height of a distastefully bursting orgasm of economic horrors, upheavals, poverty, lack and organised financial gangsterism. With the notoriously lifted catchphrase, “the boy gets the country at heart”, the footballing president appears more of a curse than a blessing to Liberia. But what is bamboozling about the Weah’s administration is the saddest irony of failed student’s advocates and their patrons who dishevelled and rumpled previous governments, seemed ignorant about the real reasons those regimes were overthrown by popular people’s approval. Interestingly, we must emphasise this question, what good will it do for Weah when he goes about idolising himself by paying his slavish sycophants to construct monuments across our country, very corrupted projects, when the ordinary people to whom change for hope was promised cannot feed themselves, and where there is absent opportunities and widespread record of economic downturn. Sadly, look at the exchange rate disparity with the Liberian dollars trading at nearly 200 to 1 United States dollar!

Wretchedly, with all the avalanche blessings and benevolence garnered from Liberians and foreign counterparts, Weah has sadly become a token of punishment against the poor and needy as infrastructures of governance viciously transmute into neo-colonial institutions enslaving the masses to buttress the earnings of cabinet rogues and looters. And as the regime traverses in half of its six years of selective empowerment, the rush to enter into 419 loan schemes and put the country in huge debt burden even more than pre-HIPC Liberia, absent development for the ordinary communities, is on the speed. When will this truly stop? Can Weah listen? When will Weah actually listen? These are the questions that keep besieging Liberian minds. Honestly, we believe Weah cannot listen and will not listen at all. The orator’s message was falling on a dead ear. Yes, before him, others have advanced similar points but those points were greeted with lack of implementation. Any doubt to the true intent of these organised economic ruffians and hoodlums has been shattered. At the sunrise of the regime, CDC’s apologists argued that the con-artist and footballing rascal in George Weah led an all-inclusive government, a fairytale that has now gate-crashed into the reality of class supremacy scattered across the lucrative offices as the chickens come home to roost. It will provide an interesting combination with their employment letters in one hand and the slave’s plantation handbook of the Fernando Po rests in the other, in a hurry to vanquish the majority.

However, we come with good tidings; they can be stopped, and the lifespan of their cruel gang-looting of our country can only last long if we tolerate it. Weah and his toddlers will continue to pollute our economy and desecrate the educational sector with lack of interest and keeping our kids half-educated because for them education has failed Liberia. It is time ready for all daring patriots to stand armed not with guns but with the unbeatable defense of resilience and determination to end the almost three years of intercourse of death and hunger. We believe that Weah cannot listen to honest suggestions and recommendations from patriots of our country. It is time we do something, people of this once noble homeland. We have complained and cried. Even orators have lifted the same chorus sang by Pastor Dunbar yesterday on Liberia’s 173rd Independence Day but Weah has carelessly downplayed the messages in those choruses. A beast is moved by a threat of unrelenting force, a force of nonviolent yet massive, steadfast and un-retreating. We must mobilise ourselves into a central unit, eschewing violence and insisting upon the change for a better country. The moment is now, and the petty traders must enlist, we must insist that it is a bloodless revolution until the police banditry alters its course. The blogger, like the hunter or the marketer, must join the cause to liberate the soul and spirit of our home soil.

About the author

Julius T. Jansen, II, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the African Methodist Episcopal University on 34 Camp Johnson Road. He is a licensed grassroots political organiser, message development specialist, essayist, biographer, poet and researcher on Harvard University and He is also a published author and currently an Associate Managing Editor at the Parrot Newspaper. He can be reached on the following:

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