By: Daniel P. Sequeh
On Monday, January 22, 2018, George Weah will be formally inaugurated as President of the Republic of Liberia at a historic occasion which we are informed will be held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex. Congratulations are flowing in from the far-flung corners of the world to Sen. Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) for their resounding and tsunamic victory in the presidential contest. Indeed, everyone is now chanting All Hail, Weah! All Hail, Weah! All Hail, the CDC!
But deeper and soberer analysis of the 2017 Presidential election would prove that the real winners of the 2017 presidential election are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her son, Robert Sirleaf, and Robert’s “best friend”, Amara Mohammed Konneh. We all need to doff our hats and heap praises upon the threesome for pulling off the most sophisticated feat of political con artistry, deception and manipulation our country has ever witnessed since it gained independence in 1947. Machiavelli states that the end justifies the means and the threesome have demonstrated that they are honor roll graduates in the Machiavellian school of political deception and self-fulfillment. In short, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf, and Amara Konneh won the election; and as contradictory as it may sound, the real losers of the elections are all the twenty political parties including the CDC and the innocent Liberian people who have been yearning for tangible improvements in their living conditions and that of their families.
Ellen played dangerous political games during the days of Tolbert, Doe, Charles Taylor and Gyude Bryant, and as if she has a very powerful charm, she managed to get her way almost always. Being a senior cabinet minister in the Tolbert government did not stop her from working with opposition forces to topple the Tolbert government and kill Tolbert along with thirteen of his cabinet colleagues. The fact that Doe touched her and even made her President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) did not stop her from later calling Doe an idiot and becoming the Chief Organizer of the November 12, 1985, abortive invasion and the Chief Fundraiser for Charles Taylor’s rebel war. The violent episodes in the history of the country led to deaths of nearly 250,000 people and the wanton destruction of property.
Feeling outsmarted by Taylor, she was one of the Chief Organizers behind the anti-Taylor armed rebellion, which led to Taylor’s disgraceful exit from the presidency. She later ensured that Taylor was turned over to the Special Court for Sierra Leone where he was convicted of war crimes in Sierra Leone and locked up in a British prison for 50 years.
At the Accra Peace Talks in 2003, Ellen wanted to be the Interim President but was defeated by businessman Gyude Bryant who would later pay a huge price for his triumph over the mighty Ellen. When Ellen became President in 2006 one of her first big moves was to jail Bryant on trumped-up corruption charges. Bryant would later die of heartbreak in Monrovia after Ellen ensured that a contract for the supply of port equipment was not given to Bryant’s company even though the company had emerged as the winner in a competitive process.
In spite of her background as a trouble-maker and regime subverter, the Liberian people forgave her and handed her the presidency in a democratic election in the hope that the corruption, nepotism, and selfish rule she had accused past leaders of practicing would be things of history. But Ellen would prove to be a serious disappointment. The return to the country of her favorite son, Robert Sirleaf after being laid-off by Wachovia Bank was a critical turning point in the Ellen regime for the worse. Robert Sirleaf, or Rob as he is commonly called, is openly gay and is shamelessly corrupt and greedy. He and his “best friend”, Amara Konneh, who he installed as Finance Minister with Ellen’s blessings made sure that the economy was massively looted and brought to its knees. Rob bankrupted the lucrative National oil company, NOCAL while Amara, notoriously known as Amara “Budget Shortfall” Konneh emptied the nation’s coffers mainly by transferring millions of US dollars monthly from health, education, roads and other critical priorities to fat personal bank accounts via “covert operation” of the National Security Agency (NSA) headed by the President’s step-son, Fomba Sirleaf who also shared in the loot. Rob was allowed by his mother to shake down almost every foreign investor wanting to invest in Liberia and companies already operating in Liberia. Conservative estimates put the amount looted from the country by the corrupt trio of Ellen, Rob, and Amara and their close cronies at over US$400 million. Most of their wealth is in the form of sprawling real estates in Liberia and fat bank accounts (of course in the name of different paper owners) in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, Lebanon, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Ghana, and Ghana.
How did these economic gangsters explain away their mass looting of the economy? They put everything on “external shocks” and the Ebola crisis. And an unsophisticated Liberian populace largely fell for that crap.
As the nation approached elections, Ellen and her cronies began to panic. How would they protect themselves from prosecution and disgrace after Ellen leaves power, given the many footprints of rampant corruption that they would be leaving behind? The first thought was for either Rob or Amara to be made President. But the trio quickly realized that it would be politically impossible to achieve such a goal. Plan B was to make Amara the Vice President to one of the leading presidential candidates and then upon their successful election eliminate that president by whatever means necessary so that Amara would succeed through the constitutional ascendancy clause. After Ellen got the outright rejection from Charles Brumskine and Joe Boakai of Amara’s vice-presidential fantasy, she decided to conjure up another plan.
All this while, Ellen expected Joe Boakai to make some firm and practical promises as to how he would protect her and her corrupt cronies upon his election as President, but Joe Boakai did not seem to give Ellen the level of assurance that she needed. In Ellen’s mind, Boakai seemed to be too much of an honest man; and as such, he could be potentially dangerous if he became President because his honesty would make it difficult for him to just sweep under the carpet the many corrupt deeds perpetrated by Ellen and her cronies that he would discover as President. The fact that Boakai was supported by former Unity Party (UP) Chairman, Varney Sherman, who Ellen is prosecuting for alleged corruption and the firebrand current Chairman of UP, Wilmot Paye who once described Ellen’s favorite son as a “creeping monster”, made Ellen to fear that she could not be protected by Boakai.
Making matters worse for Boakai was the massive support Boakai had received from many former officials who had fallen out with Ellen after they discovered that she was fake and did not mean well for the country. The open support of the likes of Tiawon Gongloe, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, Kofi Woods, and the not too open support of Nobel Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee (a fierce Ellen critic) and former Auditor General John Morlu and many others only made Ellen and her clique to fear a potential Boakai presidency even more. And so, Ellen and her band of looters decided to prevent Boakai from being President at all cost.
Why did Ellen decide to support Weah? After initially flirting with candidates such as Charles Brumskine and Alexander Cummings, Ellen quickly realized that the Liberian people were poised to electing a purely indigenous President. Boakai and Weah were the only two top candidates for indigenous extraction. So, if Boakai is ruled out, one is left with only Weah. The second reason Ellen and her cronies decided to support Weah was the fact that they believed that Weah and his supporters were so hell-bent on coming to power that they were prepared to agree to all the terms and conditions put forth by Ellen and her team for their support, which would be in form millions of dollars to the Weah campaign and manipulation of the entire electoral process through the National Elections Commission to benefit Weah. Principal on the list of conditions for Ellen support was Weah’s commitment, or better still covenant, to turn a blind eye to whatever corruption or wrongs perpetrated by Ellen and her cronies when Weah becomes president. The third reason for Ellen’s support was Weah’s commitment to support either Robert Sirleaf or Amara Konneh to occupy the vacant Montserrado seat to replace Weah upon his ascendancy to the Liberian presidency.
A fourth reason for Ellen’s support to Weah is the notion harbored by Ellen and her cronies that because of Weah’s unpreparedness to lead the country, his government would suffer serious isolation from the international community and he would, therefore, be constrained to look up to Ellen to use her vast international contacts to unlock some doors for Weah’s stranded government. To make such a scenario where President Weah would fall to his knees in front of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, it is a deliberate policy on the part of Ellen to wreck the economy and make the government very broke so that by the time Weah takes over, he would struggle enough like a shark that sees itself on hard ground. Ellen has mortgaged government revenue through a host of tricky deals that would ensure that while she is out of power, she and her clique would continue to receive their regular cuts or kickbacks.
In an underhanded manner, she recently mortgaged forestry revenue through an act of the legislature that would ensure that the Liberian government would lose up to US$25 million. In a brazen show of disrespect and disregard for President-Elect Weah and the soon to be inducted 54th Legislature, Ellen in her very last days decided to call back the 53rd Legislature to pass 16 bills most of which would tie the hands of the incoming administration. Luckily, outgoing House Speaker did not allow himself to be used any longer by Ellen – he adjourned the 53rd Legislature and stated that any outstanding bill would be considered by the 54th Legislature which starts work on Monday, January 15, 2018.
Until something radically changes, George Manneh Weah would be a stooge to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf, and Amara Konneh. After looting the country dry for twelve years, Ellen and her gang through a secret deal with Weah purchased an insurance policy against prosecution for the heartless looting of the Liberian people money. With Weah’s support – open or subtle, Amara Konneh will soon be elected massively by CDCians as Senator of Montserrado while Ellen and Rob Sirleaf are treated as rock stars by an overly grateful President Weah. The hard and painful truth is that after all that they have done to cause the mass poverty and death of our innocent people, Ellen, and her cronies would go scot-free as they are poised to be the real rulers behind the George Weah throne. They will be the puppet masters who will determine whether President Weah jumps, sits, runs, crawls or somersaults. Ellen and her cronies have even hatched a plan to eventually purchase the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and ensure that either Amara Konneh or Rob Sirleaf run for President on CDC’s ticket in 2023.
On the face of it, some of this information may seem far-fetched, but we need to pause and reflect on the track record of this woman called Ellen before dismissing anything we hear about her. If Ellen can do it to Tolbert, to Doe, to the very cunning Taylor, and to Gyude Bryant, what stops her from doing it to the less sophisticated George Manneh Weah?
And after all is said and done and when historians take their pens a couple of years from now to write the real story of the 2017 elections, it would by then be very clear that the suffering Liberian masses who have been clamoring for real change actually lost the 2017 presidential election because while they thought they were voting for the country giant, Jorweah, Jorweah, they unknowingly voted for the country monsters – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf and Amara Konneh!
About the Author:
Daniel P. Sequeh is Liberian citizen based in the United States.
Editor’s Note: The view expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author, they are in no way reflect or represent the position or view of Globe Afrique Media