By Julius T. Jaesen, II
During the climax of Ellen’s twelve years of stewardship, several Liberians toyed with the strong views that in light of some of the developments witnessed under the Unity Party-led administration headed by Mrs Sirleaf, which ranged from major roads connectivity, the reconstruction of our hydro, to the building of new secondary schools and community colleges across the country, to the increment in civil servants’ salaries; but yet with all the donor’s goodwill, the lives of the people were not significantly transformed.
In 2017, Liberians gravitated in avalanche their support for a Weah presidency after he (Weah) promised a new break away from the politics of Liberia. Weah campaigned on the pledge of ending corruption and changing the country’s economic misfortunes into fortunes and a success story. Today, it is alarmingly shameful and woefully disturbing to see our people in Monrovia and faraway villages grappling with the bread and butter issues as poor governance has eaten deep this land.
Almost three years into Weah’s presidency, Liberians are still extremely poor and deprived than ever before, living on less than a dollar a day. Infant and maternal mortality rates are the highest today in a country ranked as the poorest in the world. Liberian children are dropping from schools more than ever before. Young children are expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Corruption is on an unstoppable proportion irrespective of Weah’s avowed commitment to end the menace. After three years in his administration, corruption is endemic. Service delivery by the government is deficient at all administrative levels. Liberians across the country, whether in urban cities or rural villages continue to live in multidimensional poverty and discontent among the youth is growing rapidly and growing at a geometric progression.
Today, there is nothing more shaming and damaging to Liberia’s image and of the presidency than the damning allegation concerning the sale of Liberia’s diplomatic passports to terrorists and money launderers who are connected closely to President Weah.
With all the excesses in the government headed by former President Sirleaf, Liberians are now becoming to realise that yesterday was better pass today. The masses of the people hold strongly the view, that despite the challenges they saw in the erstwhile regime headed by Mrs Sirelaf, governmental agencies were efficient and the government was successful in reaching the HIPC completion point where they saw the cancellation of all external debts as a result of sound fiscal and monetary policy measures put in place by the government. Former President Johnson-Sirleaf inherited an economy that was from scratch and promoted massive foreign direct investments thus creating jobs for the youth. Under her stewardship, several young people got both local and international scholarships to pursue advanced studies thereby creating a productive and educated workforce. We witnessed the restoration of the country’s image from a pariah state or conflict hub to a respectable state among the comity of nations.
Under Weah, we can only boast of failed loan deals from two 419 terrorist financing groups. With this current regime, we can see continued go-slow actions on the part of health workers demanding just compensations and salaries from the government.
Under Weah’s shameful presidency, qualified and competent professionals, especially those who the government perceived to be carrying opposition views or sympathisers of the CPP, have been fired from their jobs and immediately replaced with party zealots and amateur intellectuals from the Sycamore tree with zero regards for competence, experience and qualification.
The utterance from President Weah calling those who remain opposed to his government’s failing policies as enemies of the state, coupled with the issue of exclusionary politicking has rendered the government incapable to lead a true and genuine national reconciliation.
Under Ellen, Liberians whether from the opposition community who differed with the government or the president were not blacklisted as enemies of the state. They were called in government to volunteer their service to the development drive of Liberia. In light of their opposition identity, former President Sirleaf saw something in them that her government utilised in turning a once war-torn country into a success story in Africa. And yet, she did.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report that is before the Weah’s government, noted in its findings that corruption, marginalization, regional and ethnic divides were the root causes that triggered the Liberian civil war in 1989. The report also warned that a relapse might well send this improvised West African state into another round of anarchy and bloodbath. But is Weah’s reading our history and all these reports with comprehension? We must ask because we see all the triggers of war and all the elements of a failed state present in this regime.
The government of Weah is failing miserably to diversify our economy, thus leaving it extremely vulnerable to exogenous developments beyond the control of domestic actors.
Unlike during Ellen’s administration, the judiciary under Weah is heavily impaired by the exertion of political influence from the executive. The court has been overthrown and is presided over by imperial democratic engineering and constitutional fascism.
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