From the strike of any imagination, Liberians; besides the privileged few and selected cronies, along with the well-politically accommodated elite, are among the most globally frustrated and politically disturbed people who from afar saw what is now their worst nightmare coming, but openly eclipsed their democratic strength to usher in a leadership that would make a vast difference with positive spin that would break away from the painful and disappointing past rather they joyously threw in their all in all under the rubrics of this man loves and has the country at heart; he is absolutely our true cultural and traditional ambassador who knows and uncompromisingly feels for us; and so on continues the saddled sham and unchecked calculation of blind commitment and loyalty.
Before the inception of President George M. Weah, who had he behaved with political prudence since he was the vivid mirror of the most cut away population of the country, totally denied at least a share, let alone full share of the national cake, and since craving for a redeemer to restore to them their long deprived of socio-politico-cultural and economic empowerment by the locally grounded neo-colonial hegemony, saw the famous soccer legend as the political savior well acceptably supported to make their star perpetually made dim to glow marvelously with pride, dignity, the unblemished spirit of patriotism and nationalism propelled by the sense of belonging.
But while the last of the worn-out and troubled hegemony in her (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf) consecutive two terms of 12 years; who amidst so many failures, flaws, glaring demonstrated weakness and nepotism, and corruption among many administrative vices left one sounding relief, brought the dying country back from the dead coupled with placing the country back on the international radar, as several unpaid millions of borrowed dollars turned into alarming debts were written off through vigorous negotiations just to nib a few; the ascendancy of the hope for change as was proclaimed the loudest.
Pundits now say, see pathetically in just three years, Liberia is collapsing under (Weah’s) his leadership badly bruised with poor leadership omen, unsophisticated governance system, uncontrollable corruption, wanton disregard and upright disrespect for the constitution; and with no charismatic fame of attracting international cooperation; the country just barely from the dead is rapidly returning to the dead end.
Also Weah’s institutional decay and societal collapse must not be taken faintly because The New York Times on Jan. 21, 2018 reported that while corruption is a political system based on coercion and bribery; pork-barrel politics is a distasteful, if accepted as part of democracy. It further noted that in patronage systems like this one, the levers are blunter and far more personal. They boil down to money or favors — secured through jobs, contracts, material goods or simple cash.
Reflecting on some of the crossed over woes from Ellen’s inability to quell rather provided it with green light and now duly subscribed to by Weah and regime is trading justice for peace; where in exchange for giving up fighting, former warlords were assured that they wouldn’t be prosecuted for war crimes.
Ms. Sirleaf defended her record in an interview with Foreign Policy some time ago, saying that she had “underestimated the cultural roots of corruption.” According to her, “I don’t think people understand the awesomeness of the destruction of this country — its institutions, its infrastructure, its law, its morals.”
The TIMES reported that lawmakers have taken to holding legislative items hostage, making material demands when the time comes to pass budgets, a noise that is not strange to the ears of the public that always questioned the sincerity and morality of the elected men and women who should work openly and fairly in the interest of the people and state.
For starters, Weah could set new expectations for greater accountability by promptly issuing an executive order asking all government ministries and agencies to publish their monthly expenditures. It’s a simple step, but it could have an outsized impact on combating government fraud by opening spending to public scrutiny, noted the TIMES.
Moreover the reported pointed out that Weah should instruct the finance ministry to allocate funds only to government entities with an approved procurement plan. Government contracts for goods and services — which, officials have told me (the writer); can account for up to 50 percent of the total budget — offer easy opportunities for graft. Just 41 percent of government entities currently have such plans even though those are required by law.
The new president should also ask the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to examine the legislature’s (at the time of such writing 2018) expenditures and legislators’ assets.
Remarkably, the TIMES said, the National Assembly (National Legislature) has never had to account for its spending despite persistent allegations of corruption. Giving legislators a full year’s warning would allow them to correct any problematic behavior; past practices should be ignored, as looking into them would be a political nonstarter. Calling for oversight of this kind would have been too contentious in the past, but the new Speaker of the House — the third-highest position in the country — is an ally of Weah.
Unfortunately, Weah who could face a moment of consequence and a rare opportunity to build on Sirleaf’s successes; who brought Liberia back from the dead, now was his time to turn to wholeheartedly concentrate on nurturing the country’s administratively-troubled institutions by taking head-on its coercive, corrupt political culture, but instead he has found himself deeply embroiled in the scourge.
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