The road to the mansion for the soccer legend was not an easy path after filled attempts as president and vice president in two separate elections before his historic victory at the 2017 polls. Change for hope was the message that resonated with the rest of the nation; a nation that have experienced leadership deficit, nepotism, rampant corruption, suppression of the press and freedom of speech and abject poverty. To several young people in the country, Weah is considered as the redeemer and liberator of the world’s fourth poorest country –which means pragmatic change is eminent under his watch as he occupies the nation’s highest seat for the next five years.
Our country has gone through some turbulent moments largely because of the diversity of the population and the horrific history preceding its independence. The nation remains unsettled, if not fragile and its laws are not enforced due to lack of political will, culture of impunity and lip service. These situations have led to confusion, frustration, and violence resulting in numerous deaths during the brutal civil war which lasted for 15 years.
“We must deliver the change that our people need in other to transform our lives for the better,” says Weah in his inaugural address. He went on to say, “I have taken an oath before you and before the Almighty God to uphold the constitution and to preside over this government to the best of my abilities. It’s time to be honest with our people. Though corruption is a habit among our people, but we must end it.”
There are already several red flags being raised, including the ‘missing 16 billions,’ payroll paddling at various government ministries and agencies, clampdown on free speech and freedom of the press –labeling the press and critics as ‘Enemy of the State’ by the president, the construction of massive properties worth millions of dollars belonging to the president, arbitrary dismissal or reassignment of government officials/civil servants who refuse to dance to the rhyme of the MUYAN beat and ill-fated decisions that are not in the best interest of the state. Decisions such as the appointment of Sinoe County senator on the Supreme Court Bench thus creating a by-election to fill the vacant seat. A sitting representative contested and won on the ruling party’s ticket as senator of Montserrado County creating another by-election in District#: 13, Montserrado County, the appointment of unqualified and incompetent officials to head lucrative positions. It can be record that Weah told a gathering of opposition politicians that to prosecute corrupt officials is difficult because we are all related, and his supporters say the call for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court is too early.
Maintaining the Status Quo. After a deep sense of thought and ponder, on why the new regime is proceeding in similar style and fashion of governance like the old order, it brings me to the conclusion that the Status Quo must be maintained at all times whether Americo Liberian or Native rule. Political protection of certain people, systematic corruption, nepotism, ethnicity, sectionalism, mediocrity, sycophancy, deifying of the president, false promises, and selfish and greedy quest to hold onto power perpetually. These are not just the reasons for the backwardness of Liberia, but the entire African Continent.
To add insult to injury, Liberia is the only country where all of the president’s children and his wife are foreigners. What a tragedy! Definitely, it seems like Liberians have yet again shoot themselves in the leg. Are these painful instances not the basis on which Weah was favored over other candidates? Liberians, especially the indigenous which make up more than 90 per cent of the country’s population have always spoke against leaders who used our tax dollars to support their families abroad. It reminds me only of the dark old ugly past. A past where wrong doers do not account for their crimes. A past where leaders would vouch for their servants even with their lives against the highest good of the society.
At a jam-parked political rally in Clara Town, the masses leader, as he his affectionately called by his supporters –pointed out in a catchy speech, “I see myself in you. Because I slept hungry at some stage of my life right in these very slums and ghettos. I’m the answer to your many wishes for true democracy and prosperity for all.”
I still believe in these words of great optimism and hope. 2018 has being a year of ground breaking, dedication of existing projects and promises. It’s my ultimate hope that next year will be better.