‘Vicious Circle’ versus ‘Virtuous Circle’— Which Way Liberia? Authored by: Cde. Moncio Robert Wilmot Kpadeh

No doubt, Liberia unquestionably epitomizes or culturally ingrained into the ‘vicious circle’ mentality–a nation markedly racked by perennial structural violence or imbalances ie. discrimination, marginalization, class-caste, vicious witch-hunting, hatred, tribalism, division, subversion, rampant corruption, impunity, nepotism, cronyism, partisanship, sycophancy and bigotry.

Despicably, in Liberia, you often hear preposterous datums like; “Da our time”. “Us versus them”. “Enemies of the state”. What tribe is he/she?” What political party does he/she belong to?” “Opposition people will suffer for twelve years”. “This is our thing, we will run it our way” and streams of other loose and foolhardy rhetorical commentaries regurgitated by elements of the ruling class and their avowed apologists or adherents.

Sadly, sycophancy is inherently chronic and severely hurting Liberia. People will see Leaders perpetrating glaring evils and misdemeanors against the state but yet muster the temerity to praise-sing and defend them to the very length. Not only that they hail and defend their excesses, but these sycophants develop the stone to ferociously go after dissenters or critics of these bad leaders. In their barren sense of thoughts, they claim this is loyalty to their Leaders, but they are downright wrong. It is sheer sycophancy and if you may, call it an unbridled absurdity. No citizen’s loyalty to any Leader must ever exceed his/her loyalty to the country.

Consumed and battered by a  panoply of evil anomalies, Liberia undoubtedly remains one of the perilous countries on the face of the earth, which is evident by the outrageous and demeaning standard of living in the country—its citizens are hopelessly surviving under the blurry cloud of uncertainty.

The hawkish arrogance of the ruling establishment, the blatant abuse of power, and the brazen avidity for stolen wealth essentially aimed at basking in amenity are familiar excesses associated with a nation that is encumbered by the deadly ‘vicious cycle’ spell and Liberia is absolutely no exception, as its appalling governing system, rising travesty at all levels coupled with the glaring scathing socio-economic conditions of its deprived people are irrefutable pieces of evidence.

In the midst of an abundance of natural resources, Liberians are extremely poor, the country is embarrassingly wretched and undeveloped while the crooked ruling elites ruthlessly loot, plunder and devour the wealth of the country. It is astounding how people fiercely scramble to grab political power in Liberia because it is seemingly the easier path to earning fame, ill-gotten wealth and bask in the vanity of opulence. This is exactly why Liberia is ranked amongst the world poorest nations UNDP -HDI (2019) despite the plethora of natural endowments (resources) stuffed in its belly.

Prior to rising to power, Liberian politicians fondly and consistently preach patriotism, but when they finally obtained power the focus is automatically shifted to the “ME SYNDROME”. They desperately hunt for wealth at the detriment of the poor masses. They cowardly succumb to the evil trappings of power and betray the nation and its dejected and disadvantaged masses. No loyalty to the country. No love and compassion for fellow countrymen. The question then lingers; is Liberia a cursed nation? I hope not. But the telling and intriguing accounts revealed by history books leave one to ponder on the fate of Liberia. Every government comes and commits the same vices. The Liberian people continue to suffer the same barbarous fate since the founding of the nation—sore victims of brazen misrule. If this is not a curse impeding Liberia, what could it be then?

Inequality is rife while injustice has arguably replaced justice. The children of the poor and the obscured have no access to quality education and healthcare and unbearably struggle with extreme poverty—in a country so vastly rich to provide for all its people. This is not only paranoid but a complete paralysis Liberia has immersed into.

Contrarily, however, the country serves only the tiny privileged political class while the generality of the people languishes in peasantry and despair. Liebenow(1987), Jackson(2019) and  Bayan(1991) chronicled in an enthralling fashion how Liberia was debauched by its Americo-Liberian founders from the very inception of the oldest African Republic. Since then, nothing has changed. The debauchery continues unabated.

By the way, things have even degenerated to worse. Doom hovers over Liberia. Governance is at its lowest level and conflict looms. The current rogue, bereft and disreputable government led by President Gorge Weah, an Ex-soccer stat lacks the qualification, capability and equanimity to effectively and efficiently govern the country and change its horrifying narratives. Incompetence is at the apex level. Theft, graft and fraud are institutionalized. Insensitivity, dereliction to duty, unruliness and malfeasance across government normalized under George Weah, the man who can to power on the promise of CHANGE. Paradoxically, he has delivered no change with almost halfway in his six-year term. Heartbreaking and disappointing for the hundreds of thousands who trusted him and saw him as the only Redeemer of the nation. As a country burdened by the quagmire of “Vicious Circle”, Liberia remains a conflict-prone destination until this circus of decadence changes definitively.

Studies established that countries, where structural imbalances are perennially chronic, cannot ultimately find viable peace Galtung(1969), Dimmer(2016). Liberia is certainly one of such countries, which thus argues the point that the world needs to keep its eyes on the struggling West African nation, as it crouches on a timed bomb.

The charge is henceforth placed on the shoulders of political leaders of Liberia to end the epoch of bad governance and begin to lead with honorability, credibility, morality, sensitivity and patriotism. The charge is also on the struggling Liberian masses to decisively rise out of the decadent trance of timidity and begin to compel their government to act appropriately, for a people aloof in flesh and spirit shall forever remain preys of predatory ruling establishments.

Whereas “Virtuous Circle” is the direct opposite to “Vicious Circle”. A ‘Virtuous Circle’ society is wholesome and flourishes with positive peace. People are bonded by nationality and patriotism, not by ethnicity, creed, religion, partisanship or color. The government serves all irrespective of persuasions and stations. The government recruits and employs citizens on the basis of merit and competence, not by membership in the ruling party or on account of one’s social alignment, religion or ideological beliefs. The bright and brightest are placed to the service of the nation.

In today’s Liberia, people who are best fit for jobs like a janitor, street cleaning and car washing are hired into the top ranks of public service thus the reason for dismal public service ( it is called political largesse or patronage). It doesn’t consider merit and competence. This does not happen in a serious country especially in this new age where nations thrive on innovation and development.

In a Virtuous Circle nation, the wealth of the country is distributed equally and each one is essentially given a fair chance to reach his/her full potential in life. Opportunities are not reserved for a special class of people as commonly practiced in Liberia. Government is accountable to the people and the resources of the country are managed along the lines of transparency and accountability. The act of corruption is abominable, unlike Liberia where graft and theft are acceptable norms in officialdom. For example: In Liberia, the President and officials of government openly steal public funds, abuse power and walk away with impunity. Such travesty can never happen in the Virtuous Circle world, simply because the LAW rules the land.  Criminal officials are burnt by the LAW and possibly made to rot in prison.

In a ‘Virtuous Circle’ country, public service is considered a golden opportunity to serve your country and people with distinction and nobility, not to steal public money and callously subject the mass of the people to misery and despair, as we have witnessed in Liberia for over a century and counting. The Socioeconomic dignity of the people and infrastructural development of the country are heavily prioritized to the fullest.

In a ‘Virtuous Circle’ society, there is hardly any discrimination, marginalization, rampant corruption, hatred, witch hunt and other egregious societal vices we see ingrained in the mental fabric of the Liberian society. A society that embodies the “Virtuous Circle” theory or mentality is largely conflict-free and dwells in genuine peace and harmony, and its people are much happier, World Happy People Index (2019). America, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Botswana et al are countries in the ‘Virtuous Circle’ string or category. I believe with will and courage, that it will take a defined revolution to ideologically cleanse, sanitize and reorientate Liberia— in order to transform it into a “Virtuous Circle” nation, as the regular Liberian politics or “poli-tricks” had only hurt and will continue to hurt us. We must change course if we genuinely desire change. That’s why I choose Revolution over politics or “poli-tricks” as in the Liberian context.



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