By Enoch Perry
Newly inaugurated Liberia’s president George Manneh Weah does not understand the gravity of being president of a nation but he is not the first or last president in history for this. Numerous leaders assumed state power with little or no experience and others with limited or no formal education. Despite some of these ‘shortcomings’, the world has watched some of these leaders become transformative and better at governance, leading their nations and people to higher heights. This happens because the successful leaders in this category not only listened, they surrounded themselves with the best and experienced people their countries have.
President Weah can become one of those transformative and better leaders if he chooses to listen and surround himself with the best minds that Liberia has. Clearly, this doesn’t’ seem to be the case because of the attitudes of two individuals: Samuel D. Tweah and Nathaniel McGill. Both Tweah and McGill are ruining Weah’s presidency and retrogressing Liberia’s progress made over the past two decades. This is a serious matter that as a supporter of President Weah from the onset and discouraged sympathizer of the Congress for Democratic Change turned Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) feel utterly regretful about.
Tweah and McGill have effectively blocked and cached Weah from putting talented, well-educated and experienced people in the government just to maintain their hold on his rule and influence in the country.
Apart from being unintelligent, incompetent, inexperienced and ill-fitted for the position of Chief of Staff to the Presidency, McGill is all about wealth and deals making.
Tweah, on the other hand, is all about self-deprecating influence, power, and wealth. I don’t really know him but most Liberians including employees of the Ministry of Finance and Economy Planning “described Minister Tweah as arrogant, aggressive, unresponsive, non-approachable, bullying, hostile, intimidating, self-gratifying, and a self-proclaimed know-all no nothing individual.”
In a passive defense of President Weah, an African president throwing cushy jobs to supporters is not new and should not be a surprise in the case of Liberia under Weah. However, CDC, as a political institution, has competent members, people some of us would consider the “original CDCians.” Where are these people? Why did President Weah leave out those CDCians who supported the party and its original vision? In my recollection, many of those people are well-educated, trained and experienced and have external experiences that could help President Weah become a better president and Liberia a better nation.
After a year in office, no one can argue or prove that the Weah administration is one that Liberia needs, especially with all the mishaps, amateurisms and bad news about corruption, social scandals, and more.
Although President Weah has good cause in placing so much importance on loyalty but governing Liberia should not be about personal loyalty to George Manneh Weah. It must be about Liberia.
It is a fact that some presidential candidates frequently break promises, especially if that candidate promises not to do something all his predecessors have done. In the case of President Weah, he is not just breaking promises he made to the Liberian people, he is also effectively and practically violating the Constitution of Liberia in many respects. Just look at the appointment of the Liberian ambassador to the United States amongst other serious breaches.
Since taking over, the Weah administration has essentially decided to give all government contracts and business opportunities to non-Liberians. This doesn’t happen in Ghana, Guinea and most West African countries. In Ghana for example, no foreign business is registered without a Ghanaian citizen having a stake in it.
McGill and Tweah have essentially made Liberia to be business unfriendly in addition to discouraging Liberian business owners from succeeding in their own country. The net effect is we have a spoiled system. The sad news is, President Weah likes the spoiled system as much as both McGill and Tweah.
In neighboring Sierra Leone that faced a similar fate like Liberia some two decades ago, here is what a new president, Julius Maada Bio, as young as President Weah, has done in less than 12 months.
- Pay all government workers without using bank overdraft.
- Pay $1.2 billion domestic debt left by ex-president Koroma of the APC.
- Gave Sierra Leoneans a reliable and sustainable light.
- Recruited 300 female in the army, first ever in history.
- Launched a free and quality education program.
- Supplied 26 million textbooks and other school materials nationwide
- Commissioned 48 hospitals across the country.
- Approved 106 schools across the country.
9. Supplied 506 ambulances across the country.
10. Commissioned two new universities
11. Gave 15% salary increase to all government workers.
12. Allocated le18.3 billion to Freetown city council to transform Freetown.
13. Renovated the Sierra Leone’s Parliamentary Building
14. Paid subsidies for all students across the country.
15. Gave scholarships to all students who study mathematics, geography, agriculture, biology, and engineering to students across the country.
16. Introduced Saturday cleaning, every first week of the month.
17. Set up a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of corruption.
18. Approved nationwide solar panel/lights installation
19. Reduced fuel price
20. Commissioned the Lumley market and the Atlantic bridge
21. Commissioned Bo Matru-jong road
22. Commissioned 68 streets in Kenema
23. Commissioned the Kenema mini stadium
24. Rehabilitated Bo stadium
25. Rehabilitated Magburaka Boys school and commissioned the road and clock tower.
26. Commissioned the Magbereh bridge and Makeni high way.
27. Donated 75% of his salary to boost the free quality education.
29. The first president of Sierra Leone to raise le 8.7 billion from corrupt politicians in six months.
He is now about commission the Lungi Bridge and airport.
About the Author:
Enoch Perry is a Liberian resident in Sweden. He is a supporter of President Weah and a discouraged sympathizer of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Editor’s Note: The views expressed herein in no way reflect that of Globe Afrique or its editorial staff, but that of the writer.