Op-ed 

Darius Dillon the game is up: Change we can believe in or same old, same old?

Alfred Bombo Kiadii

On yesterday, Darius Dillon took to Facebook to double down on his support for Musa Bility, the new chairperson of the Liberty Party. Despite claiming to be the self-styled ‘light’ at the legislature who is all for propriety in public service, Dillon enthusiastically defended his friend as he gyrated between throwing in biblical exegesis to suit his absurd special pleading while supplying arrogant defense to shut down dissent. His latest action, if it is any meter to measure his sincerity, shows he gives his friends a free pass on corruption while scolding the regime. Dillon is getting politically dangerous. All his self-righteous bluster about getting rid of graft, abuse, and waste in public service is buried under an abhorrent contempt for scrutiny of himself and people who are in his circle.

But that’s vintage Dillon. Condemn lawmakers for using expensive cars and take one as soon as he becomes a senator. Scream to high heaven that the Liberian economy is in the ‘toilet’ but accept a whopping 18,000 US for extra sitting fee and agricultural break. Shout that the regime is corrupt but genuflects on his knees to Albert Chie for handouts. Argue that the CDC officials are arrogant and do the same when his support for his friend is questioned. Claim to be ‘the light’ by using high-sounding slogans and displaying empty spectacles, but repeat the same attitude of those you lampooned. I know the CDC regime is a mess, but Darius Dillon is not the solution.

I have never thought that the social degenerate Darius Dillon had any progressive bone in him, not least because of his phony credentials. Nobody who bastardized education, aligned himself with Robert Sirleaf, wined and dined by Ellen while masquerading as an opposition figure, forged his documents to attend a training for Liberian legislative staff with undergraduate credentials can proudly hold the progressive mantle. Nobody who cuts his teeth in the Masonic Craft, who has outrageous social taste, tossed an educational opportunity out the window and dropped out of school simply because he never had the Spartan discipline to face academic rigors can claim progressive proclivities. It is against this background that I don’t take serious Dillon laying claim to being a breath of fresh air at the legislature. He spewing out rhetorical flourishes complete with grandstanding is just a stratagem to get a seat in the dining hall of avarice and plunder.

But we must analyze the emergence of Dillon as a political force in the homeland through the prism of the constraints and limitations of the current conjuncture—a period when mediocrity is the distinguishing feature of the country. First, one can credit his rise to political stardom to the degeneration of the CDC regime. Second, the desperation of the popular masses for any alternative because of the nightmarish conditions the CDC immersed them in. It is because of these social realities that the people were willing to accept anybody from the mainstream opposition who pretends to be a genuine alternative against the political farce. It is in this context of the failure of the regime and the absence of a genuine alternative that Dillon preyed on the fascination and gullibility of the people to propel himself to power. His wishy-washy and nebulous points — shallow on all fronts, lacking nuance, and completely elementary—find a resonance with the desperate people. Hence Dillon became the stopgap to slow down the hemorrhaging.

 

Dillon has been promoting himself as the anti-corruption tsar

Since he became senator, Dillon has been promoting himself as the anti-corruption tsar—performing actions awash with political theatre and pathetic posturing—the preserve of liberal opportunists who cannot deal with structural issues that paralyze society. He fancies himself a pious character among the rotten forces at the legislature. So he declares his assets, which raises suspicion about illegal accumulation and shows how the legislature is a scandalous drain on the resources of the country. You are a mental case if you see nothing inappropriate with Dillon’s account jumping from 3.50 cents to over 24k per annum in a country where the average citizens struggle to buy a cup of rice. I did not overestimate Dillon. Neither did I have illusions in him. I know too well a man whose godfather is T. C. Gould, who served as chief of Office Staff for one of the marauding scoundrels in Edwin Snowe–politics can never be emancipatory.

All that we know, but his latest menacing gambit to defend the swindler Musa H. Bility with pugnacious arrogance is on a whole new level of deception and unacceptability and has reached a seminal moment. Something tells me Dillon is full of himself and inflates his intelligence. Where does he think he is going with this toxic defense of Bility? Like the catholic priests before the Reformation who doled out pardons to sinners, he has appointed himself the chief moral arbiter, offering pardons and arguing that reprobate characters who have plundered national resources and achieved global notoriety for corruption have undergone a Damascene conversion. However, the difference here is that those priests of yore can claim to have ecclesiastical credentials, but the only discernible skill of Dillon is that he served as an office boy.

The charlatan Musa Bility is having no Paul moment. He is corrupt like Weah. Terrible like McGill and belongs to jail like Samuel Tweah. The idea that everyone in the opposition is righteous and the CDC forces are the only corrupt elements in our society is at worse sacrilegious and at best the height of folly. Musa Bility exploited his connections with the erstwhile UP government to plunder and accumulate. He also took it to the international arena by transferring 600,000 USD FIFA gave to the Liberia Football Association to help in the fight against EBOLA. Over the pile of dead bodies from EBOLA, Musa transferred all the money into the account of his wife to purchase a house in the USA.

Comrade Alfred Bombo Kiadii

 

Ellen Johnson is deftly shuffling her cards

Musa Bility will go down in history as a man who battered Liberia’s image in the global footballing fraternity and who used his connections in the erstwhile regime to advance corruption, plunder, abuse, and suck the republic dry of vitality. He belongs to that section of society that uses the state as a terrain for indecent accumulation and has no national consciousness. We will also remember him as a con artist who left the LFA empty of decency, respect, and character. People like him, including his despicable defenders, belong in the ninth circle of Dante’s nine circles of hell, as was beautifully described in the ‘The Devine Comedy.’

Meanwhile, just as the nonsense argument nobody is perfect belongs in the trashcan, that is how the from Saul to Paul argument belongs to the historical dustbin. Dillon must clean his backside with that argument rather than polluting public discourse with it. What Dillon does not want to say is that he and Nyonblee Karnga have allied with members of the wretched cabal of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—Amara Konneh, James Kollie, Sebastian Muah. These are the forces that bankrolled his two election campaigns, including Nyonblee’s. They are using Musa Bility as a Trojan horse to enter the Liberty Party, which they would use as the front to reinvent themselves politically after a political car crash relationship with the CDC regime.

2023 is around the corner. Ellen Johnson is deftly shuffling her cards. Her agenda is to use intrigues to maintain her stranglehold on the commanding heights of the economy: she plays Boakai against Cummings, tosses Amara to the Liberty Party, tells Weah to accept opposition wins of certain seats in 2020 to have a pretext to rig the process in 2023. This old lady, a slave to personal interest, is a ruining nightmare for Liberia. But Dillon has no problem with her and her rogues, including Musa Bility, once they would use their stolen wealth to fund his political activities. He is ready to play games. That says much about Dillon and his claim to have broken with the prevailing political orthodoxy in the country.

 

Our task is to struggle against that and present a progressive alternative to the people

The greater point worth stressing is that the degeneration of the CDC regime and the bankruptcy of the CPP revealed there is something rotten at the heart of the political system in Liberia. The rot in these two political formations, which is becoming more lucid and metastasizing leaves one to conclude that the CPP and CDC formations are unfit for purpose. Every political formation promotes a policy prospectus that suits its social base. What is the policy prospectus that the CPP is pushing to ease the suffering of the oppressed masses in Liberia? The CDC and CPP are aligned to economic structural adjustments and are righteous believers in the neoliberal prescriptions. Boakai, Urey, Cummings, Nyonblee, and Weah agree on everything from the World Bank to the IMF to the WTO. Thus this poses a curious but farsighted question. What alternative is there to the CDC/CPP duopoly?

Just as it is insanely naïve to promote a politician for political power based on his footballing record, it is equally ridiculous to argue that we must give an old man political power because he comes from humble beginnings or because he is a Coca-Cola man. Who in Liberia does not come from humble beginnings in a society where poverty is endemic? If business savvy is the gauge to conclude one is a good leader, then Trump would score A. The selling point of a candidate in 2023 cannot be about humble beginnings. It is about one’s idea for transformation, struggle credentials, and whether such person can ignite radical transformation and got the passion. Only the emergence of a left-wing third force in Liberia can stop the national bleeding. Together, we must refuse to allow rotten stenographers of the two formations (CDC and CPP) in the media to circumscribe the debate about the 2023 electoral process to only the CDC and CPP—two grotesque sides of the same coin. The hidden agenda of most of these media institutions is to gaslight the working masses and popular forces into voting against their material interests. Our task is to struggle against that and present a progressive alternative to the people.

 

Main Photo: From top to left: Ellen Sirleaf, Darius Dillion, Musa Bility, Fonati Koffa

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