By Alfred P. B. Kiadii & Moses Uneh Yahmia
It has become a pungent phenomenon in the history of humanity that discredited regimes faced with the heroic defiance of a mobilized people against all the filths and dirty tricks of the establishment, fearing that playing hardball would lead to its decisive crushing under the revolutionary weight of the enraged masses, agents of such bankrupt order would collapse into political posturing and dangle before the people a call for unity and dialogue—an inglorious pretext meant to save the neck of the regime from the noose in order to continue the spree of social domination.
Interestingly, some would even employ nationalist sentiments to rally the nation, loosely bandying about empty rhetoric and scheming that class divide and its corollary of exploitative social relations don’t exist in the society and it is time for the whole country to adopt a homogenous response to the so-called ‘’common enemy’’ either in an animate form such as human elements from external shores or an inanimate object such as an economic crisis or natural disaster. This gimmick of mass deception is intended to neutralize popular resistance fuelled by the rising revolutionary tide of the oppressed masses.
Methods may vary depending on the content and setting but this is the recurring trend we see so often a time when the masses of the people become active in political life, mobilized and ready to move at the barricades. Against such background, the ruling circle dreading the upsurge would make such call not out of genuineness but because it realizes that given the tenacious courage being exhibited by the people, an attempt to play tough would lead to the expropriation of the status quo.
Some bankrupt regimes would even take absurdity to obscene heights by proffering the red herring of minimalist reforms in the hope that such intrigue would quell popular anger in the society and give the so-called leaders the respite to continue the supersonic speed accumulation thereby maintaining the exploitative production relations that ensures poverty and drudgery become the still photograph depicting the dire economic condition of the toiling masses, while the power elite wallows in scandalous wealth littered with festering inequalities.
It is in this context analysed above that George Weah took farce to scandalous levels, absurdity to obscene heights, and playacting to grotesque lows when he peddled the call for a roundtable of Liberians from all walks of life to discuss and find solution to the economic albatross which has decimated the republic since his ascent. It goes without saying the pseudo-search for a panacea to address Liberia’s economic crisis is on. The new twist to the plot has begun with the call for a roundtable of citizens and opposition alike. This new turn which is more or less a result of the pressure from below and the radicalization of the people, has as its objective a subtle appeal for stability so Weah can enjoy his wealth which he accumulated from plundering the public treasury in the space of less than two years.
It is a truism that nobody who steals so much and so fast in so short a period as Weah and his network of criminals have done would cherish the scene of the surging masses symbolised in the protest action of June 7 that is indicative of the fact that the people have refused to be apathetic bystanders in the affairs of the homeland but have rather become politically active to rectify the anomalies in the society. Such fear for the people which has pushed his back against the wall has created the nervousness to the extent his only card on the agenda is to appear as rallying the country for a single objective.
Mainly, this call is meant to whitewash Weah’s sordid character and present him as the ‘’great reconciler’’ and take the spotlight of the public from the tragedy of the desecration of every constitutional structure of governance and the obscene wealth he and his cabal have acquired. What is interesting about this mirage is the loaded contradictions and the deception with which it is made. Firstly, a dialogue is being called by a president who until now did everything to escalate the crisis even when he was advised by progressive social forces to reverse the trajectory and proceed gingerly with governing the homeland. Secondly, of even greater doubt of the intention of the call is the refusal of George Weah to take concrete actions against his minister of Finance and the governor of the Central Bank whose mismanagement of the economy has escalated the crisis and plunged the country into the abyss.
Before going forward, we make the point that the economic crisis in the homeland is not a Weah creation but a consequence of the global crisis of capitalism. Years of neoliberal globalization in Liberia has led to declining living standards, paltry economic growth, while unemployment and inflation ravage the rural poor and urban masses. However, the disastrous effect of this crisis would have been minimized had the Weah government not only instituted radical economic transformation and discipline in all facets of the bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the regime not only stuck to the neo-liberal playbook, Illegal accumulation, asset stripping, unbridled theft has been ratified as the major thrust of the CDC administration. The exacerbation of the crisis, to all intents and purposes, is the exclusive creation of Weah and his band of pirates who reduced public service to the arena for private accumulation.
Equally, there is this clichéd legal maxim: “He who comes into equity must come with clean hands.” It is farcical that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of theft and plunder in George Weah has invited decent people to sit with him at the table to dialogue on the way forward about the declining economy. The question we ask: does Weah come with clean hands on this matter? Of course, not. Secondly, another point to ponder about is—whoever sits at the table to dialogue with a consummate criminal who undermines the existence of his people? We say criminals belong in prison, more so political criminals whose actions, avoidable shortcomings, and lack of national consciousness dispossess the working masses and exploit the peasants by plaguing them with mystery.
The best panacea for a criminal like the Weah type is consigning him behind the rusty bars of the Monrovia Central Prison while his hurriedly accumulated wealth is expropriated and placed at the service of the Liberian people. So any discussion with him about the economy is a complete fool’s gathering as his greed has effectively despoiled him of the moral standing to sit anywhere at the table with decent and honest compatriots, courageous patriots and progressive social forces to dialogue about the way forward. It even becomes a comical spectacle for those who were given the opportunity to right the wrong of the economy and who have done everything to deepen the crisis to now lead efforts gear at averting the trend and fixing the mess. Such charade is like being treated to the circus where a prostitute claims sainthood.
Just when he took over within a very short stint, Weah and his collection of rotten marionettes ganged raped the cash-strapped republic and transformed the public treasury into a private purse, while the country itself is now a bastion of bandit neo-colonial capitalism, where gangsters, thieves and glamor girls jockey for wealth, while the largest section of the toiling people incomes are washed away by inflation; youth unemployment becomes rampant and critical sectors such as the educational and health are starved of needy resources to deliver social goods to a population challenged by illiteracy and deepening health crisis.
Further, a leader in a country plagued by a serious crisis must set the example for others to follow. A leader is considered serious about addressing a national crisis when he or she comes clean on matters of transparency, accountability and governance. Such person rallies the people and takes practical steps demonstrative of personal sacrifice, which will then serve as an added impetus that would mobilize the whole nation behind the national leadership to fight the epidemic. Conversely, a leader who dances in the people’s money, sits behind gold decoration, feasts on the ruins of sick economy by heightening the enterprise of primitive accumulation is an individual who the people must dispense with as such person is nothing but a fortune hunter and simple hustler who transforms the state into his/ her personal preserve.
All Weah and his henchmen are known for is property grab and property construction on the ruins of the bleeding economy. Weah has built for himself a 49-unit condominium, demolished his dilapidated house on 9th Street, Sinkor and almost reconstructed a state-of-the art-facility, stashed his many foreign bank accounts, and has given his wife more than 1 million dollars of precious tax dollars to roll out cosmetic humanitarian projects without accountability. In this treacherous game of accumulation, Nathaniel McGill bought US$ 200,00 mansions, while Samuel Tweah is constructing duplexes and he took corruption to new heights when he rode first class on an Emirate flight, costing US$ 16,000, for the FOCAC Summit held in Beijing, China.
These contradictions have given rise to hike in death rate by curable diseases, rising levels of maternal and infant mortalities, and virtually grounded the entire country to a halt. The republic is now surviving on the cliff of a finger as the economic crisis has pushed members of the population further down the path of damnation and irredeemable poverty. But these are not just what are expected of the current nightmare, more and more crises loom on the horizon as falling revenue inflow, years of disinvestment, layoffs by multinationals, and the bloating of the wage bill with 25, 000 individuals have triggered a huge slash of the salary of civil servant, which would only compound and sharpen the contradictions, creating the powder keg for the spontaneous stampede of the people on the stage of history.
What is left of the rule of law which would inspire confidence in investors has been rudely violated. From the uprooting of the head of the secretariat of the LEITI to the replacement of the former head of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission with the wife of the plaint stooge of a comptroller general, with the bill to cancel tenured positions, the outright violation of the constitution, are all glaring butcheries of the law in plain view. Crowning all of these scandalous infractions is the illegal removal of the very activist justice Ja’neh from the benches of the Supreme Court on the grounds only that he refused to be a puppet doing the bidding of the black sambo. All these are powder kegs that further catalyse the degeneration of the economy and attracted public anger that have manifested in slews of protest actions.
The Eton and Ebomaf loan snafus, Tweah and Paytray stealing of the US$ 25 million for Weah and the uncertainty of the Liberian masses about the L$16 billion, the granting of ground handling services at the Robert International Airport to Jordanian nationals, corruption of donors’ funds, the stealing of the pensioners’ money in the control of NASCORP that was deposited at the LBDI, are all egregious examples of how Weah has run the country down the drain within a very short stint.
Grudge politics and the stoking of the divide of ‘Us vs Them’, the promotion of toxic ethnic rhetoric, weaponization of CDC party faithful, the south-easternization of national service, rise in official violence with the purging of citizens of electoral district # 13, Montserrado county being a major flashpoint, the recurring sending of thugs whether the LINSU lapdogs to disrupt the anniversary celebration of MOJA or the Sabu Unit fascist thugs to disturb students of the university of Liberia from freely exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and of assembly.
Weah’s power is threatened. He knows so and we know as well. This is the only reason he is calling for a so-called unity. Unity for Weah is not for the people, but a wish for stability for him to maintain his stranglehold on power and continue the looting amok. That is why he threw out the pacifier for dialogue, which is a red herring to distract attention from the organic contradictions his regime is riven with. Also, this charade of a roundtable is not intended to genuinely address the root causes of the problem but it is a jamboree to regain the lost legitimacy of the regime in the aftermath of the June 7 protest.
It is in this light we also tell George Weah that we are interested in no dialogue with him not after he has looted this place, enriched himself and bastardized public service. We say the conditio sine qua non for any national roundtable with George Weah is to see him behind bars for corruption and misrule, and then we will expropriate all his ill-gotten wealth and properties, putting them at the service of the deprived masses of our people whose fate continues to be suffering, backwardness and mystery. Amidst all that have happened, this is the only dialogue we seek. The dialogue where the exploiter will be expropriated and the exploiting masses will know decent existence.
We know from whence the call for dialogue has emanated. The people are surging. Their majestic rising on June 7 has sent shivers down the spine of Weah for which he has come with such perfunctory plea about dialogue and roundtable discussions. Faced with the determined, conscious and sacrificing masses, he pretends to have undergone a Pauline conversion for which he now opportunistically positions himself as the reform man who is ready to listen to the plights of the people. But we must say the epoch for dialogue and roundtable has passed. The Rubicon is crossed so there can be no turning back of the clock of time. Nowhere will we sit and negotiate the exploitation of the masses with an oppressor whose stepped short-sightedness and greed have plunged the country into the cesspool of paralysis. We have come too far to be impressed with empty platitudes and staid verbiages from the camp of reaction and counter-revolution to entice us to veer off course because genuine change cannot be distilled to the masses by this loose contraption of greedy imbeciles. It is only one thing that is good for it, expropriation, expropriation and expropriation!
And as we move forward against the national farce in the homeland, with the immortal resistance of the people in full blast, the banner of struggle and the torch of people’s power infecting every nook and cranny of the republic, not forgotten their majestic and immortal showing on June 7, the people have effectively turned Weah and his clique into objects of ridicule. This is a significant transformation given years of docility and indifferent passivity. They have refused the imposition of subservience and thus demonstrated contempt for corruption and all that are rotten in the current national order. But more importantly, the Liberian masses have signalled the warning that if tyranny dares rears its ugly head, with comforting zeal and with great panache, they would go to the barricades to confront counter-revolution and reaction, dealing a mortal defeat to the twin evils.
About the Authors:
Kiadii and Yahmia write from Accra, Ghana. The duo can be contacted via the following email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com