By Alfred P. B. Kiadii
If the true mark of a responsible government is how it caters to the exigent needs of its people, then this one is an irresponsible collection of charlatans. If the legitimacy of any political regime rests with the masses of the people—as they say, is a tenet of democracy—the approval of this one comes from itself. If we say the lifespan of a government is based on how it goes about marshalling up and levelling up to address structural crises that are a drag on collective progress, this one in Liberia is a vulgar antithesis as it launches a sortie of deprivation, domination and exploitation on the poor masses of our people.
If the true hallmark of a revolutionary government is based on how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable citizens, the sordid staple of a veritable reactionary ruling machine is that it squeezes wealth from the bottom up. If other progressive regimes in the global South have used a short stint to extricate a huge chunk of their people from the mausoleum of poverty, the Weah government, by parody and contrast, has taken two years to lift its many scoundrels out of poverty, while the crudest form of accumulation by dispossession sweeps with a bang, as elements in officialdom stack their innumerable foreign bank accounts with stolen assets, while starving hospital of the needy funds to operate, leaving public schools in deplorable conditions, and butchering the starvation wages of civil servants. This utter collapse of the economy has led to a surging of the disinherited masses of the people stampeding in droves to the religious milieu via Pentecostalism to seek a breakthrough out of the social nightmare, while the uppity top-notch officials have found salvific fortune via the governmental realm by annexing funds from the treasury.
The regime rewards incompetence exploits women and girls awkwardly and despises professionalism. George Weah is the high priest of these immoral acts. The gang of rogues running the country got not the slightest understanding about managing a backward third world country with innumerable conundrums. How else to understand the decline unless to know that from the man at the peak of political leadership to his slavish myrmidons at the ministerial levels, they all suffer from one thing and one thing only—the recession of ideas? What they have mastery over are neither ideas nor conceptual compass to navigate the difficulties; they are more rapacious clowns than insightful statesmen. This understanding is important for those having the psychosis of illusion that with time Weah and his subordinates would undergo a Pauline conversion and work things around for the better. It will not happen.
Liberians are living through gruelling moments. The crisis of leadership has exacerbated the social, political and economic crises. They have thrown the whole system into topsy-turvy, and what we see now—from dormitory communities in the urban centres to vast stretches of secluded enclaves in the rural hinterland—is the metaphoric equivalence of crises running rampant like an oozing septic spillage. Such metaphoric imagery is not entirely the full story, as even a colourful description cannot depict the appalling decline in the country. For the gory state of affairs in Liberia makes it difficult for even a shrewd descriptive writer to paint a precise picture of the level of decline and rottenness.
Liberia is in the era of stagnation as the economy is in a long period of stasis—crisis, stagnation, strain and stress coinciding with the normalization of ruthless plunder and mindless jockeying for resources. If not for the wholesale suffering of the working masses, it would make for a terrible spectacle considering how yesterday’s regime activists who hold the power levers in today’s kakistocracy flaunted their so-called revolutionary credentials and pontificated about their incorruptibility when they were at the margins of opposition. Truly, the response of the Weah’s government to the economic crisis has been lamentable, if not disastrously pathetic. Even with its surrender to the one-fit-in-all strategy of the IMF by imposing cuts, running a balanced budget by slashing funds for social programmes and reducing the deficit, the crisis is unabated. The crisis of worldwide capitalism hits Liberia like a hurricane. As the world economy sneezes, midgets like Liberia in the neoliberal stranglehold catches a cold.
Structural Adjustment programmes have always been a political or ideological choice rather than a sane economic option. Its failure in the global South has been far more pronounced, whether, in 2019 with the sweeping outburst of the working people and urban sufferers from the centre of the world in Quito, Ecuador to the hotbed of the Maghreb in Algeria, the masses rejected with their feet the discredited neoliberal plans. The peoples of Ecuador, Algeria, and Chile saw though the aged-old lie that with the programme in place the IMF instructing political regimes to focus on servicing debt rather than catering to the working people and the rural poor, and the urban dispossessed has always been an attempt to put profit over people. To put it bluntly, free trade, liberalization, privatization, and regulation have never helped working people but always increased shareholder value, facilities capital flight, and the illicit transfer of resources from the global south to the heartlands of capitalism — North America and Europe.
Despite these, Liberia’s failings are due mostly to the personal animus of Weah even though some apologists peddle the boosterism that he is at heart a Liberian patriot. Such a claim collapses in the face of mounting pieces of evidence of personal wrongdoings and grotesque abuse of public office. If the regime elements are in a trance, no surprise at all that they reek of ideological bankruptcy and have lost the plot on everything and that is why the government is everything a failure. Frankly, goodbye to hope, to aspiration, and any thinking about progress.
Welcome to the tapestry of mystery, scandal, and stagnation on a grand scale.
In fact, the last two weeks have taken us to the latest stage of the lack of insight from the regime and its putrid rottenness. By all right conclusion, the gasoline scandal, the ubiquity of power outage in the city centre are all indications of the imperviousness of the government to do anything productive for the Liberian people. Not that Weah and his men have a particular conceptual framework that they have rehearsed at heart and they are toying with; it is that these little ones are opportunists who will hinge their survival on anything that guarantees Weah in power because power now is what prevents Weah and his collection of looters from being dragged into prison for their thieving ways.
The political charade in the Lone Star Republic has gotten exacerbated chiefly because of the nauseating conduct and mulishness of the clowns who hold the levers of power. From the mendacious scoundrels of a president in George Weah, who has got a zero clue about leadership and a common rogue, to the chatter-parroting Samuel Tweah, who himself thrives on despoliation and embellishment of his credentials, to the other lowbrow dilettantes of the Nathaniel McGill variety, who is as daft and as empty as a tabula rasa, to the degenerate Jefferson Koijee, who is a Gucci clown and empty vessel, and to the other gas pump and garage attendants, who are nothing but marauding riffraff who claim to popularity trace back to their battle crying antics and the sheer display of macho gangsterism, the Liberian ruling elements have shown to the world how a collection of political vegetables can drown a country into paralysis just in two years.
Except if one lives in a fantasyland, to say, judging from the way Weah had conducted himself and the people who barracked him, it was always certain that it would be easier for a man to go through the gestation period to bring forth an offspring than for Weah to transform the country. With Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prepared to bask in the rigging of the 2017 election for Weah, with the opportunism of forces in the CDC Party who knew full well that leadership has never been the forte of Weah but egged him on because they got fascinated with status symbols and the abuse that comes with serving in public office in Liberia, and combined with the other swathe of the lumpen masses who exuded illusion, stopping Weah would always be a difficult enterprise. As for the masses with the illusion, to a greater extent, we don’t blame them. In life, as in history, certain people come to wisdom lately. They must experience pain to understand the danger.
Frankly, as Weah ascended to the leadership of the country, we knew too well it was a shipwreck before a shipwreck. The signs were glaring as it was sad. These events have exposed the inbuilt flaws at the heart of the Weah project and the CDC experiment. It would always end up as an utter failure no matter how the slavish minions painted a glorious image of the country. No doubt that very terrible menaces have afflicted Liberia since its founding, but this one is very disgraceful. The nation stuck in the twin crises of an exploitative economic system managed by an incompetent government. Thus, Weah and his men are not a solution, but the escalation of the crisis.
If anyone doubted that a government can ever be spoilt for choice in terms of generalised incompetence, corruption, inadequacy, and rottenness, the Weah regime demonstrates it is possible. George Weah is to good governance what Samuel Tweah and Nathaniel McGill are to financial probity and competence!
About the Author:
Kiadii is a Liberian and lives in Accra, Ghana. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org