I am not going to say what people want to hear. I am not going to join the cheerleaders who will instantaneously start singing the praises of individuals whatever the matter. I do not worry about being liked because I know no matter what I say, or do whether appropriate or not, everybody will not like me. I do not have to be accepted or be a part of the crowd. I am comfortable walking alone. In short I will remain me. ” Know thyself” says the Barb of Stafford upon Avon, William Shakespeare. One of the ills of the Liberian society that is impeding the progress of that Country, is the culture of hypocrisy.
I see all this hue and cry about the July 26 Oration, the heaping of praises upon the Orator, Nobel Laureate, Laymah Gbowee and the calls in some quarters that she should contest the Presidency come 2023. This is not to chastise my fellow Countrymen because everybody is entitled to their opinion. This is just my opinion on how I see things and I am keeping it real as usual. I have read and listened to the entire July 26 Speech by Ms. Gbowee. I saw nothing new in the speech. In other words, Ms. Gbowee was simply re-echoing what most people have been saying for nearly two years. For those who might argued that at least she brought this to the attention of the President in his face using the national platform, I will say it is still nothing new because the President has been told repeatedly about the poor affairs of the Country by Liberians and even some international partners.
Gbowee’s voice is the latest to be added. But, where has Laymah Gbowee been all this time? Why was she silent until July 26? I would think that as a prominent citizen who has been highly favored received one of the highest global recognition, she should be at the forefront of the social justice et all advocacy for a just society. She should be forever vigilant, a watch dog in the interest of the people on whom behalf she was elevated. In other words, Nobel Laureate, Laymah Gbowee should be consistently alert and speak out when these things happen and not be a situational advocate.
You can’t only wait for July 26 to say what everybody is saying and claim originality of thoughts and interventions for possible resolution of problems. When Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf became President and into her second term, Laymah Gbowee was one of Ellen’s confidante. Laymah supported and defended Ellen’s misrule vehemently, heaping praises upon her when she could. Ellen made Laymah her Director/Chairman of the “National Reconciliation Project” following the release of the Final Report of the TRC and ensured she had the budgetary allocation to accompany. Rather than implementing the Recommendations of the TRC as provided by law, Ellen opted to create her own reconciliation Commission and appointed Laymah to lead that diversion.
However, when Ellen started receiving massive criticisms locally and from some international circles, Laymah Gbowee also for the first time, criticized Ellen, accusing the President of practicing Nepotism etc. They fell out. The Liberian people never saw a report from Gbowee’s reconciliation project that was allegedly provided initial $500,000 and nothing has been heard of how Gbowee spent her stay in that position. What I am trying to say is that it is incumbent upon Laymah Gbowee to be real, consistent in her advocacy because of whom much is given, much is expected. One cannot be a situational advocate or leader and expect the applause to be loud.
Main Photo: Massa Washington, former commissioner, Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission[TRC]