Monday, November 22, 2010

Firing Entire Cabinet Without Any Meaningful Explanation Defines Liberia's "Democracy" - the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Way Soccer Legends

Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

The Liberian Dialogue

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf live up to her moniker, “Iron Lady” recently when she dismissed or asked all but one member of her cabinet to “take administrative leave effectively immediately,” not too long after she left the country for her annual medical check-up in the United States.

Yes, it was a bold move. It was also a risky move because it got us all talking now about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the unprecedented nature of her decision, and the threat it could have possibly posed to the nation’s national security, and how that reckless act alone could have also created chaos and a shut down of the Liberian government, in the absence of a president who was leaving the country at the time.
It is true that the president left in place during her absence Vice President Boakai, Minister Edward McClain (the only cabinet minister who kept his job), and the deputy ministers in the various ministries to run the country. In an event of this kind when there is a shakeup in the government that could possibly have an adverse effect on the nation, the president who was elected by the people to lead, and is head of the government should have remained in the country to lead.
Pres. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

President Sirleaf could have done the nation and the Liberian people a huge favor if she had just postponed her mass-firing decision until she returns to Liberia from her medical check-up in the United States. Since this was a mass firing that could have had a ripple effect on the nation, President Sirleaf could have painfully sought the advice and consent of the spineless and no-good Liberian legislature if they could help, since it was the same Legislative branch of government that confirmed the individuals to work alongside the president to help in the running of her government in the first place.

President Sirleaf obviously did not do a good job of communicating the firing of her cabinet ministers (some of whom were recently returned to duty by the imperial president) to the nation, and also overplayed her card probably because she’s reminded of the old and oft- recited and tired constitutional provision: “The cabinet serves at the pleasure of the president,” which has been thrown around like a football by her die-hard supporters in the aftermath of the crisis.

According to the administration’s talking points, President Sirleaf carried out her firing “to start with a fresh slate” because the administration was entering a critical stretch. How fresh can the slate the president speaks of be when she continues to tolerate business as usual in an administration that protects its cronies and family members from termination, prosecution, and the confiscation of stolen government's funds only to be recycled to another government position as if a crime was never committed in the first place?

Whatever the rationale is behind this misguided decision has yet to be articulated with clarity and believability, even as we dig frantically for meaning – any logical meaning behind such a breach of democracy; especially when her ascendancy to the presidency is attributed to the adherence of those cherished democratic values and principles the people of Liberia hold dear.

Some already have suggested after the cabinet ministers were dishonorably fired as an attempt on the part of Ms. Sirleaf to perhaps reenergize her embattled administration, and her fledgling base in the final days leading to the national and presidential elections slated for 2011.

Let it be crystal clear that President Sirleaf was never elected President of the Unity Party, and president of her political cronies and relatives; but was elected President of all of Liberia, to provide steady and visionary leadership to the nation and its people.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the “Iron Lady” was elected not to prove how iron a lady she is or can be, but to provide steady and competent leadership at a time when the nation desperately needs a leader who can offer a contrast between the past and the present during these troubled times.

However, every time this president engages governance the way she goes about it has been cocky and uninspiring; always exposing her ever-present vulnerability not as a democratic leader who is accountable to the Liberian people, but one who seems to be an incarnation of the nation’s previous corrupt and despotic leaders who wreaked unspeakable tyranny on a defenseless population.

These are the same reasons why the poverty line is currently below 80 percent; while the Liberian nation, for over a century has been at the bottom of every leading poverty indicator, which is exacerbated by bad leadership, overwhelming uncertainty about the future, skyrocketing unemployment, corruption, inflation, nepotism and fears of another senseless civil war that could once again destroy the confidence and hopes of the Liberian people.

With her admiration aiming high globally, which is not trickling down into tangible economic/employment opportunities for the Liberian people, proves that the goodwill towards her from her international patrons only paints a rosier and unrealistic picture of President Sirleaf, which is a far cry from the dimmed realities on the ground.

So the question remains: What are these people, (President Sirleaf's international friends) continued to see in her leadership that the Liberian people are not seeing or feeling on the ground? Are these individuals capable of living in the skins of the Liberian people to feel their pains and suffering, or are they just intellectualizing as academics and paid consultants to continually glorify their friend's symbolic and historic role as "Africa's only elected female president" and "Harvard-trained "economist?" This is unproductive!

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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