Liberia’s president George Weah and immediate past president, Madam Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf
By Robert Drew
One of the principle tenants of governance is accountability. Without accountability and due diligence to the rule of law, governments do poorly and never succeed. Since the inception of the Weah led government, in all sincerity, and if Liberians want, to be honest, President Weah has not shown any desire to address what seems to be the “big elephant in the room” and what many observers in the international community have been waiting to see happen. The big question is will he or will he not audit the past government?
Well-meaning Liberians and international partners have played a “wait and see attitude” and have waited for and what may very well be the determining factor as to whether this government has the will to set any standards which will encourage donors’ acceptance and seriousness to fight corruption and that is to audit the past government. The lack of political will on the part of President Weah to audit the past government will go a long way in determining whether his government will receive the support of international partners. Corruption and the abuse of donor’s funds have plagued Liberia as a country. To address the poor image of our Country, all former government and state-owned enterprises must be audited and except an audit is conducted, there will be no need for goodwill to be shown to this new President and administration.
Former President Sirleaf said she left the Liberian treasury solid and the country in good economic shape why the CDC-led government of President Weah says it “inherited a broke country.” Who do we believe?
Since there is no audit, Liberians and the international community would believe former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. If Madam Sirleaf is right, then the CDC-led government must stop telling untruths about the former president’s handling of the Liberian economy.
What is even more baffling to the key players in the International community is that Liberians at home and the Diaspora have not called for an audit. It is seemingly an acceptable acceptance by Liberians everywhere that Ellen’s government should go free and with impunity; which should have been the pressure put on President Weah and his government. If Liberians recalled, the same pressure was out of the then elected President Sirleaf to audit the Gyude Bryant led government when its term expired; which led the newly elected President Sirleaf to have Gyude Bryant imprisoned and Ellen’s declaration that no former government officials of the Gyude Bryant led government, the NTGL, should leave the country without obtaining a clearance from her office.
Sadly, Ellen’s precedence, which should make it very easy for President Weah, is such a difficult task for the Weah administration and almost a decision he seems afraid to make for fear of retribution from the former president.
There are ongoing whispers that since the campaign, into the second round, George Weah did receive lots of monies for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ] with the initial payment of three hundred thousand US dollars ( $300,000.00) from Madam Sirleaf and her son Robert Sirleaf and that monies were paid contingent on a commitment from her to support him and not support her vice president but more importantly that he will continue to receive funds for his campaign, with several more thousands to follow; under the agreement that he would not only retain some members of her government; but dare never to audit her , her son or the outgoing government.
If those conditions rumored, were not true, then let’s check the facts as to what has happened since President Weah took office. Apparently, the rumors must be true because not only has President Weah retained several former officials of the Ellen government; but he has not instituted an audit of the past, in fear of either being exposed by President Sirleaf of their written agreement which is said to be in the possession of the former president, and once he calls for an audit, she will leak the agreement, which would lead to the beginning of the downfall of his government.
Even with the recent help of the Global witness report which triggered President Weah audit of NOCAL, President Weah is still unwilling to use the opportunity to include a full audit of the past government.
The imminent danger is that prolonging an audit of the past government gives credence to the notion that a deal was struck between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Weah that she would not be audited by his administration.
This also constitutes and confirms to all Liberians and the international community that this government does not mean business. The fact that George Weah does not understand that the longer he avoids an audit of the former president, he is saying that he is taking all the blame and responsibility for her actions for all she did wrong and that went wrong in her government.
And smartly, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is riding on time being wasted and the longer it takes, the more and more her chances are to go free and she will continue to fight and do all she can to allow time to pass and the longer it takes and the longer this continues, the more, in the end, the verdict will be against President Weah and his government not calling for the audit earlier. Liberians will say he should have done so a long time ago and that Ellen should go free.
In all fairness to the international community, Liberians at home and abroad have shown little or no interest in pressuring President Weah to audit the past government as the “big elephant in the room is not being confronted”.
Amidst the many concerns and allegations against the previous government and the country is broke, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and all former government officials, who should be audited will sure go free with impunity.
How does President Weah justify his decision not to audit the Ellen-led government when after twelve unbroken years , the reality and condition her presidency has left Liberia is a broken economy; the rigging of the natural resources of Liberia; the lack of adequate health care and educational facilities; no running water and electricity; amidst allegations of malfeasance; nonfeasance; tying up the country into sixty six out of sixty eight bogus concession agreements; thirty six previous audit reports unattended to by her government; millions of donors funds accounted for.
The question for President George Weah is how dare you to have the audacity to ask for additional funds from the international community when there is no accountability in Liberia as a premise to receive donors’ funds; evidenced by the fact that donors’ funds that were given your country to the past administration have not been accounted for.
If this is the decision of President George Weah not to use the opportunity provided by Global Witness to audit the past government and to avoid the semblance of a selective audit, then-President George Weah and his government should not receive any donors funds; except, a full audit of the Ellen Johnson government is conducted.
About the Author:
Robert Drew is a Liberian citizen based in the United States.
Mr. Drew, during your article submission you complained that Globe Afrique delayed or overlooked your article since it was submitted a few days ago. Today it is published. Please be aware that Globe Afrique Media and Communications is both a research and investigative media entity. We received dozens of articles and tips daily. However, the management uses editorial judgment to determine which articles or tips make sense or have significant elements of truth before publication is authorized. We just don’t publish without verifications. In addition, we also have a very large international audience that includes lawmakers and policy professionals around the world so ensuring that grammar check and other elements to determine whether an article meets our writing guidelines adds to our decision. Thank you!