Liberia’s Legislative Building in the capital, Monrovia
President-elect George Manneh Weah has not even taken his oath of office, yet and there are elected officials in the Liberian legislature that are plotting to derail him or make his administration to fail. These people find comfort and vain pleasure in seeing a failed Liberia where the Liberian people suffer while they reap the benefits the country has to offer.
If news reports in the current or latest edition (January 19, 2018) of FrontPage Africa that certain Senators (through politics of exclusion) are plotting against their fellow Liberians returning home from being a part of changing Liberia for the better, then it confirms what President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s calculations and belief about Liberian politicians is––that they are empty vessels and noisemakers.
The question of public theft, corruption, greed and mismanagement in Liberia has nothing to do with where one has resided, or what social (or peculiar identity) status he or she has inherited in an attempt to subsist in a foreign land. The widespread looting that took place in the past 12 years in Liberia was as a result of the personal and collective destructive characters of certain individuals who lack patriotism to their country and love for their people. There are Liberian politicians and officials who have never left the country to live outside, or attended school abroad, or even lived or worked abroad who had positions of power in the country in the outgoing administration, yet still, they looted more than those who lived abroad and returned home to serve. Equally, there are some Liberians who came from the West who joined or started the looting in the country not because they came from abroad but because of the character they possess.
All the concession agreements signed in Liberia that almost all international institutions and the U.S. State Department considered as substandard, and a “give-away” were passed by the very Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Liberian legislature cannot, in any way, shape, and form, excuse itself from taking the blame for the damage of the country over the past 12 years. Yet, many in that body did not or are not coming from abroad, neither do they have dual citizenship. Besides, if this whole zany idea of cherry picking and witch-hunting other Liberians (when we all know that there are many Liberians in the current government including in the very Liberian legislature, who have dual citizenship) is bad.
Apart from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and several of her key cabinet officials who hold dual citizenships, why hasn’t the legislature asked the current president of the University of Liberia to resign her position since she was born in the United States to Liberian parents? Why are many lawmakers as well as members of the other two branches of the Liberian government sending their children and other family members abroad for education or to live?
Hypocrisy is counter-productive to peace and witch-hunt is dangerous to socio-economic growth; it destroys a country and set its citizens behind. We must stop these two vices if real change is to come to Liberia! Any Liberian lawmaker who takes a path to gutter politics, knowing fully well that what they have done in the past 12 years produced no fruitful results is opposed to Liberia’s progress and the success of the president-elect.
Instead of the Honorable Liberian Senate to stop focusing on unnecessary and trivial concerns in a country with skill gaps and innovation deficit as well as policy and strategic management lapses and do something better for a new Liberia, some in that body is seeking to return to failed and weak-minded politics.
In other nations, when natural born citizens with extraordinary qualifications, training and competence return home to contribute to the lifting of their country, it is their lawmakers who champion them. Other countries go the extra mile to identify natural born citizens from their country who are abroad–––encouraging and enticing them to bring their skills and expertise back home so that together they can develop their native land. For example, when President Nana Akufo-Addo took office, he encouraged the brightest of Ghana to return home. In Kenya where the leader is regarded as a technology president, they are always on the hunt for Kenyans abroad with expertise and enviable credentials to return home and serve.
In Liberia’s case, certain career Liberian politicians who are taken aback by the change that is marching throughout the length and breadth of Liberia, they want to do things that would maintain the status quo. This must stop! We have the direct opposite of inclusion in Liberia because we have a country where incompetence fears competence, and where unwarranted marginalization, nepotism, and tribalism are used as a yardstick for the acquisition of political cloud and state power by some.
The legislators who have initiated these cheap politics need to stop. They must give change a chance. Liberia cannot continue to be the same. When did the Liberian legislature, especially the Senate, realize that there are many Liberians with other citizenships? Cherry picking and blinded politics of convenient are a dangerous recipe for development and social cohesion. Like president-elect Weah said that all Liberians are welcomed home to move the nation forward, the Liberian legislature should join him in welcoming all Liberians back home. Nowhere is like home. Many people fled Liberia and others left not because they wanted to; they did under extraneous conditions with the hope of improving their lives and to gain knowledge and experience.
It is also sad that some legislators, whose constituents rely on family members in Western countries to survive in their political districts where there are no basic social services, employment and other means necessary for a better living, are now opposed to the very people that have and continue to sustain their constituents through regular remittances.
In advance countries and in places where lawmakers know what their duties and responsibilities are, they focus on carrying out progressive development initiatives in their respective districts, improving living conditions therein and making sure that their people have access to social and economic activities, including access to capital. They do so through sound policies and legislation, not witch-hunt and idle politics.
Unfortunately, our lawmakers only know how to give political access to their hungry voters by getting their vote when election’s time comes. Liberia must change and the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives must stop being the obstacle to that change by avoiding any form of cheap politics that have no place in today’s Liberia.