By: Paul Jackson
Usually, when a President responds with indifference and nonchalance to the plight and concerns of her people, the temptation to go rogue on political correctness and give the President an even higher dose of her own arrogance can be extremely irresistible; however, this is not my goal in writing this article-I will leave that to the ever patient and humble people of Liberia to decide when to tell President Sirleaf enough is enough.
My aim here is to transport President Sirleaf and her ”illustrious” prevaricating Finance Minister from the illusion of economic prosperity that they seem to be unwittingly superimposing upon the Liberian people, to the grim reality of the abject poverty and economic uncertainty they have plunged Liberia into. The President, upon reading this might have some epiphany about her misleading employment figure/s and begin to understand why the “noisy minority” is beginning to grow from ordinary “Yannah Boys” and market women, to millions of Liberians in high and low places, who once endorsed her leadership.
It is no denying that Liberia has a long history of corrupt leaders, and that one could also argue that the corrupt practices and tendencies of President Sirleaf pale in comparison to those of her predecessors; however, we cannot continue to use a deficit model or rubric to gauge current expectations, not in this day of economic globalization!
Just because President Taylor, Doe, or Tolbert failed miserably does not explain for the growing lack of performance on the part of this current political administration. Despite making countless promises and in spite of growing multilateral interests and contributions to the government, Liberia is still arguably at its Taylor-time poverty baseline: the disparity in pay amongst civil servants remains abysmal, there is an ever increasing deterioration in health care services, Monrovia is still the darkest city in the world, the educational system is at rock bottom, and Liberia can boast of more street Arabs ( homeless and hungry teenage boys) than the entire Arab League put together. Madam Sirleaf is herself, the grand patron of nepotism; her sons have strong say in Liberia’s oil, banking, and security sectors, she travels the rest of the world to receive meaningless honors more than she travels tiny Liberia to assess the livelihood of her suffering people.
Despite the glowing 3 percent unemployment figure, close to a million or more college and high school educated Liberians remain unemployed. Under Madam Sirleaf, the Liberian dollar continues to remain the unofficial, rejected, and sometimes useless currency of the day. Yet, Madam Sirleaf keeps calling unemployed and hungry Liberians lazy and “noisy minority’.
Who is better to understanding the nuances of poverty than our political matriarch and own Noble Peace Prize Laureate? But NO, that is not the case, Ellen just doesn’t get it!-she is an elitist; a clueless one, if I may add. In a condescending fashion, she dismissed Madam Leymah Gbowee as being too young and incapable of understanding the poor and nepotistic state of affairs in Liberia-But I wouldn’t blame Ellen to much; she is abusing and misusing the Separation of Powers with two equally greedy and incompetent branches of government(legislative and judicial),, that wild bunch of political tools and jokers who are more concerned with their pay structure, per diem, and other perks than the plight of the people the swore to protect and care for.
Perhaps there is a rhyme and reason to Ellen’s tone deafness and arrogance; she is not seeking reelection, she is almost an octogenarian and wouldn’t have to live with her conscience too long, and she and her family have plundered the country’s resources enough to last them for another two hundred years or more. But Madam Sirleaf must remember, while history sometimes tends to be bias, its pages are loaded with instances where the so-called noisy minority often evolves into the popular majority, and this usually happens at the expense of the waste and plunder of the powers that be. I am darn well sure the President studied the French, Russian, and Rwandan revolutions.
What better way to conclude this article than using the words of Eleanor Roosevelt to jump start the conscience of our “Great” President who just doesn’t seem to give a heck about her own people: “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you won’t serve the people”
Pic: PRES. ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF
Jackson originally titled this piece “Political Stalemate, The “Noisy Minority” Versus an Arrogant and Increasingly Impervious President.”
Jackson’s contact: firstname.lastname@example.org