By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh
The month of May has not been too kind to George Weah and his fledgling presidency. In fact, May is not the only month that hasn’t been generous to President Weah, but Weah as President of Liberia has been struggling to lead from day 1 when he became the nation’s highest political leader. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the president’s hands are full with the political problems that he either inherited or brought on himself. What is not working for President Weah, however, is his lack of public statement on national issues to give hope to the citizenry and calm the nerves and emotions of hundreds of thousands of Liberians who are poor, unemployed and suffering and are unsure of the direction of their country, with no relief in sight.
When the direction of a country is off course, a judicious way for any leader to tackle those nagging national issues is to first accept the fact that there is a problem. The next step is to communicate the problem, own the problem, go back to the drawing board and re-calibrate, be practical and pragmatic, and then take charge by showing leadership and a willingness to be a leader in those critical times. However, when there are no jobs around for a grown man or grown woman to earn a living, but the Weah administration is globetrotting and cannot account for LRD16 billion, and when donor funds are brazenly misapplied and perhaps embezzled, speaks loudly about President Weah’s hands-off governing style that has not worked well for him.
President Weah, as we all know by now has failed miserably to meet all of the above, and sadly, is not willing to learn, is not willing to change course, and have around him bad people, incompetent people, con men, con women, unsavory characters and corrupt individuals whom he is unwilling to drop quickly and let go because of party loyalty and other unknown reasons known only to Weah. This is so true in a country where there is no accountability and ex-warlords are feeling increasingly emboldened by an odious culture of impunity, and a mid-level cabinet official can recklessly engage in ethnic-baiting and vile tantrum, which are enough reasons for the Liberian people – or for some to want to take their grievances to the streets to get the attention of President Weah.
With the exchange rate at LRD185 to $1 US dollars, no wonder tensions are high in the country as the call for President Weah to resign, and calls for Weah to fire Samuel Tweah, his controversial chief financial guru has reached fever pitch. President Weah’s obvious political problems and lack of leadership are not under the radar anymore, as activist Liberians and the international community are concerned that Liberia is sinking deep into a crisis as the discussion of a protest rally gets louder. The proposed June 7 Council of Patriots’ anti-government protest rally scheduled to take place in Liberia and the United States, to some is the solution to Liberia’s massive problems.
But who are these people, the Council of Patriots?
Are they credible?
What are their plans?
Do they have any plan to create jobs and economic development? Do we need a Council of Patriots made up of a potpourri of politically conflicted individuals and unsavory characters, former warlords and former members of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party, and an untested and bloviating talk show host to free us from George Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change political party? Do these people, the so-called Council of Patriots, have a practical policy prescription to the problems in Liberia? Or, are they just exploiting George Weah’s obvious weakness to get rid of George Weah, and create national chaos?
After Weah is dethroned, what’s next, and who’s next?
Do you get rid of George Weah because your political party did not make it to the Executive Mansion? I recently wrote on this page (The Liberian Dialogue) that “President George Manneh Weah: Lead or Get Out of the Way.” And I mean it.
But (and it is a big ‘but’) a dying country such as Liberia with its many problems cannot be trusted with just anybody, or with members of this obscure Council of Patriots who cried out loud to meet with President Weah (and he met with them), but they couldn’t articulate not even in simple Liberian English the reasons they want to stage a protest on June 7th.
George Weah failed the Liberian people and a mass demonstration by serious people – well-intentioned, meaningful people – not by these politically conflicted and opportunistic people, is needed to send a message to the Weah administration about the direction in which he’s taking the country.
The Liberian people are hungry and suffering, the country is poor, underdeveloped and broke, and it pains me daily to see George Manneh Weah in the Executive Mansion not working hard to solve the crisis facing the nation.
But the Council of Patriots, unfortunately, cannot be trusted. They are the wrong messiahs. My Liberian people, I have seen this scary movie before. And, you have too. These people are bad for Liberia.
Contact the Editor: Dorbioh@hotmail.com