Predatory State or Developing State? A Critique of Liberia’s Place Amongst the Comity of Nations

By Julius T. Jaesen, II

According to scholars of international relations, political scientists, politicians and academics, the principle or core-reason for the existence of every nation-state in the global community, is to drive through a decentralised system, political goods, most times referred to as basic social services according Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau and John Locke in their ‘social contract theory’. These three notable political philosophers and thinkers are today widely known for if not the antecedents, but ones who gave prominence, life and breadth into the nostril of the social contract theory.

Citizens under a democratic system in nation-states surrendered their right to act in behalf of them and manage their resources to an “assembly of men who then analyse, plan, define problems, and formulate and implement public policies for their greater good. These policies vary from healthcare, education, physical infrastructure, electricity, security and the rule of law, economic, foreign and bilateral relations among others. The manner and form the governors conduct the affairs of nation-states strength their authority and legitimacy or politically erode their legitimacy to govern.

Without a modicum of doubt, the failure of governments to deliver on their responsibilities to the people in these regards lead to the breakdown of nation-states. Under these prevailing circumstances, states herein are either classified as failed states, failing states, weak states, shadow states, predatory or criminal states and collapsed states among others.

On the African shores, almost all African nation-states are perfect exemplars of predatory and criminal states and in fact, all the labels in the above paragraph suit the African nation-states. In failed and predatory nation-states, the ruling political elites calamitously prey on nation-states and the peoples.

Those who are not schooled to these labels may want to know what is predatory or criminal state as well as failed state and what are the elements and indicators of a predatory and failed state. Before making an eloquent and reasonable case why Liberia under footballing President George Weah has once more returned Liberia to a failed and predatory state, permit me to help your understanding on predatory or criminal state and failed state.

The predatory and criminal states are considered states, which are governed by a small ruling class for self-enrichment at the expense of the greater majority of the population whereas failed states are referred to states that are corroded from within along with a collapse of state institutions. In the Foreign Policy in 1992, two notable scholars, Gerald Helman and Steven Ratner referred to failed nation-states as states “utterly incapable of sustaining itself as a member of the international community” and ”depending on steady streams of foreign assistance”.

As for a failed state, it lacks the ability to deliver public services to its population or create the conditions for such delivery. When the state is also unable to uphold the rule of law and democratic values, it is also classed as a failed state. Besides, the lack of accountability and transparency in the management of state resources is one of the factors that lead to a state failure.

Therefore, the question then, which is forthright to ask ourselves, is Liberia a developing state or a criminal and predatory state? Certainly, Liberia has returned to, not only a failed state but a predatory or criminal state as well. When our government failed on its responsibility to restore sanity, probity, purity, and draft institutional policy to strengthen the Central Bank of Liberia, but rather shoulders such duty to the IMF, it proves our government depth of capacity deficit, and therefore, qualifies our nation-state as a failed state with a failed people. No serious nation-state will surrender it economy to neo-colonial financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF to lead institutional reforms and strengthen capacity for the so-called purpose of ensuring transparency and accountability. By that, our government qualified itself to be not only irresponsible, but also mentally unfit and indiscipline as well to govern its citizens. Just by this alone, Liberia has laid itself bare on the periphery of global political governance.

Moreover, to worsen the already frustrating situation, the current government has become the most embarrassing administration in Liberia and perhaps, the world over when it comes to ensuring accountability, transparency, financial probity and discipline in the management of state resources. This government comprised of hard-core predators and criminals have not only educated itself to eating our local taxpayers’ money but she has gone global in corrupting donors’ funding placed at the Central Bank. This alone has tainted the image of our country and placed us once again, amongst the comity of nations as a rogue state. Liberia has disdainfully birthed a government of people classed as a mistaken and the worse generation of leaders ever in mankind history that is distributing economic terror on our people, causing parents to be irresponsible and underachievers in their country and making youth become drug addicts and young girls street prostitutes.

George Weah and his band of thieves are the most corruptible leaders in Liberia and the world over who shielded themselves for over 12 years under the pretense of pro-poor or masses leaders but today, he and his ministers are relentlessly pursuing luxurious lifestyles at the expense of the very youths and market women who walked distances and printed their own t-shirts to support and bring to power a rotten government that has become a token of punishment and a curse to our nation.

That great martyr senior comrade leader, Thomas Sankara, whose policy was really a pro-poor policy and not a pro-crook policy as in the case of the current Liberian government, demonstrated remarkable feat and ethos of responsible and accountable spending of public funds by his government ministers not what Weah and Tweah are doing to further frustrate our people and families. When Thomas Sankara took over in Burkina Faso, a land once called Upper Volta; he immediately auctioned off the German luxurious cars that made up the fleet of the ruling elite. He ashamed and infuriated the Wabenzi – Swahili for the people of the Mercedes Benz – by replacing their flashy vehicles with the modest Renault 5, at the time the cheapest model in their country. He did not allow his government ministers ride in luxurious vehicles while the poor bash in acute poverty. This is actually what we called pro-poor socialist policy and not the extravagant spending Weah and his band of lieutenant thieves are consumed in. If Sankara were to be re-birthed in Liberia as a Liberian citizen and see how our leaders are bashing in ill-gotten wealth and riding expensive vehicles, he would be shocked by such opulent lifestyles being lived by public officials in Liberia when the bulk of the population dawdle in anguish and despair. If Sankara were president of Liberia, people like Samuel D. Tweah who ate our 25 million intended for mob up exercise would have no space in his government. Tweah will be placed behind bars like a notorious criminal.

Today, in Burkinabe’s sociopolitical history, Thomas Sankara is regarded as that towering historical figure that shaped the collective sense of the nation. When Sankara came to power, he sought to build a new voltaic society, within which the voltaic citizen will be the architect of his own happiness. Sankara inherited an economically and politically unstable country, which he transformed by establishing the basis for self-acceptance and self-reliance as a nation. He was successful in reshaping and redefining the national identity of Upper Volta, which he renamed Burkina Faso meaning land of the upright people and Burkinabe mean upright people.

According to the Center for African Studies at the University Florida, from Burkina Faso’s independence to the advent of Sankara’s regime, Burkina Faso presented all the symptoms of a failed nation. When Sankara came in power, Burkina Faso was not just one of the poorest countries in the world; it was also among the world’s most politically unstable countries, that underwent multiple successive military regime changes and with institutions incapable of meeting the basic needs of its people. Nevertheless, Sankara’s short term in office remains a positive transformative moment in the history of Burkina Faso.

From the literature I have read, a few authors have documented his immense legacy in terms of improving the living conditions of the people. Some of Sankara’s notable accomplishments include his investment in education, his unprecedented fight against the advancement of desertification, and his advocacy for women’s rights. His most often-cited deeds include vaccinating over three million children against the prevailing tropical diseases—yellow fever, meningitis, and measles.

Sadly in Liberia, on the economic governance, the current government is failing miserably in providing basic social services to its people and living in the confine of its Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity that intends to provide 100,000 jobs to Liberians every year. The people living below the national poverty line in Liberia has dramatically increased from 55.5 percent in 2019 to 68.9 percent in 2020 and is even expected to rise further due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy according to the latest World Bank reports released yesterday, July 30, 2020. This report if it is anything to believe posits that an additional 526,000 Liberians sit at risk of falling into poverty. With weak and rush populist policy approach taken by our government that is not scientifically studied, our economic situation may even worsen. No wonder why the World Bank warns that economic growth could further slowdown if government’s policy response is delayed, and not well targeted, or if the external environment doesn’t improve significantly this year.

It is further sad that in the face of Covid-19, the government’s food supplies program that supposed to benefit citizens across the country has become a myth and a faraway dream. The government borrowed 30 million US dollars to implement its stimulus package through food-aid to the population when that money should have been invested in our health sector to conduct scientific research and procure medical supplies to beat Covid-19 from Liberia but was rather pocketed by a few ruling rogues. Today, the government conspired with WFP to embezzle the money, no accountability. Yes, you want to question my patriotism why I say Liberia is a failed, predatory and criminal state. Indeed all these labels suit us as a country and people. We saw with the glare of our eyes how 25 million intended to mob up excess liquidity of Liberian dollars from the market when seriously unaccounted for by this current government. Is this not the attitude of a criminal and predatory regime? Yes, it is the attitude of a criminal and predatory regime. Yes, it is the attitude of a criminal state.

About the author

Julius T. Jaesen, 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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