By: Paul Jackson
Eight plus years after assuming the Liberian presidency, the novelty of being the first ever elected female President in Africa is beginning to wear thin as rapidly as the patience of the people who twice elected Madam Sirleaf to restore Liberia from the doldrums of a deadly fourteen year civil war to some semblance of social and economy normalcy.
No one expected quick fixes, especially given the wanton destruction our so-called liberators, (Sirleaf included), visited upon Liberia. With millions in bilateral and multilateral assistance, we expected a gradual but steady shift from economic chaos to a reasonable degree of progress, Instead, we are left with an ineffective and economically ruthless President who has become as unpopular as the civil war she helped sponsor. The name Ellen Sirleaf has become synonymous to corruption, nepotism, underperformance, and a complete vexation to the spirit of a promised future, but Madam Sirleaf is not going down without a fight: she has become grumpy, vindictive, arrogant, and increasing callous in her political utterances. In all of this mess, there is a small but powerful and insensitive group of citizens calling for their compatriots to be patient and wait until the President’s combined twelve year term expires. For those individuals imploring the Liberian people to wait, they better have some genuine reasons other than the usual scare tactics and fear mongering they have been involved in.
The idea of a full presidential term does not preclude the possibility of cutting short the reign of a titular and incapable one- It would be nice for Madam Sirleaf and her supporters to answer these few simple questions:
1. How much longer can we be patient, when the president and a finance minister can fly on emergency flights to seek medical attention in the United States, while hundreds of Liberian babies die on a daily basis as a result of a corrupt and ailing health care system?
2. How much longer can we be patient, when there is a wicked disproportionality between the income of the President’s friends and the ordinary hard working underpaid Liberian workers?
3. How much longer can we be patient, when some opposition politicians have now joined and become a part of this echo chamber of corruption we call government?
4. How much longer can we be patient, when we have a bunch of lazy and greedy pot-belly legislators who care more about their pay checks and other amenities than the people who elected them?
5. How much longer can we be patient when our national airport looks like a rundown prison compound or whore house?
6. How much longer can we be patient, when the yearly national budget for education pales in comparison to the yearly travel expenses of the President?
7. How much longer can we be patient, when sons of the Late Edward Bien Kesseley, Dr. Stephen Yekeson, and Mr. Joseph Boakai earn on average, ten thousand dollars per month each, while their equally qualified peers earn two to three hundred dollars a month?
8. How much longer can we be patient, when our judicial system sanctions frivolous and unscrupulous lawsuits against the media, in the name of stifling press freedom?
9. How long, Madam President, how much longer should we be patient?!!!!
As you can see, there is obviously a litany of legitimate reasons for which we refuse to wait- we are not calling for war or any sort of civil unrest; there is nothing unconstitutional about a group of concerned citizens imploring and petitioning an incapable President to relinquish power to a capable and available Vice President.
Our constitution does not forbid interest articulation, peaceful protest, or call for the President’s resignation. We have been pregnant with hope for way too longer than the usual nine months; it is high time PATIENCE visited the abortion clinic and gave way to pragmatism.