Source: The Liberian Dialogue
| Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh |
Even if this proves to be a rumor, the Sirleaf administration, not known for accountability and transparency will not come forward willingly to explain to the public the validity or untruthfulness of this story, but will behave as if they are not hearing what most Liberians are hearing; only to do business as usual in a country where Liberian presidents and other elected officials are not accountable to the citizens.
However, had she gauged the nation’s sentiments, President Sirleaf would have at least understand from an emotional perspective how most Liberians feel about Charles Taylor. Had there been a precedent set in the past that hold Liberian presidents accountable to the nation’s electorates for disrespecting, undermining and abusing the public trust, this president would think twice before dabbling carelessly into trying to seek the release from prison a man considered by many to have started the civil war that killed countless Liberians and foreign nationals, which got the country in the deplorable condition it is in today.
See, when a person or leader thinks he/she is unaccountable to a nation or another person, the individual often acts with arrogance and recklessness, which is true in this case with President Sirleaf, who acts as if she is not accountable or legally and morally obligated to the concerns of the Liberian nation and people.
We Liberians have seen this behavior over and over before during the failed administrations of previous presidents, and are now exposed to this modern version of outright defiance, stratospheric arrogance and mind boggling presidential abuse of power – courtesy of the current president whom, time after time has failed to inspire and gave hope to a struggling people in a meaningful way.
What is driving this particular rumor mill perhaps is President Sirleaf’s recent appointment of Taylor ally, the former top commander of the then-dreaded National Patriotic Front of Liberia, and head of the Association for the Legal Defense of Charles Taylor, John T. Richardson as Chairman of the National Housing Authority Board.
As an equal opportunity rebel employer, President Sirleaf did not disappoint her many critics when she appointed another former rebel leader, Alhaji Kromah of the ULIMO-K warring faction as Chairman of the Board of the Liberian Broadcasting System (LBS).
The joke now is that if the embattled former rebel leader George Boley were ever released from U.S. federal prison today, he would be appointed chairman of some agency in Liberia. The same with the menacing and clownish former rebel leader, Prince Johnson who wants to be president of Liberia (God, have mercy on Liberia!), and could have also been appointed by President Sirleaf to chair an agency had he not been elected to represent Nimba County in the Liberian senate. That’s the reckless leadership style made famous by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, which is to disregard the opinions of the people and not be accountable to their sentiments.
President Sirleaf’s appointment of the former rebel leaders to work in her government also exposed her to renewed criticisms of insensitivity to the victims of the civil war and their families, her questionable role in the civil war that killed millions and destroyed the country, her blatant disregard of accepted standards of governance – that is to seek the advice and consent of the population and lawmakers through a series of public and national discussions relating to this thorny issue, and also questions her commitment to the Liberian nation and the peace process, which deserves outstanding leadership – not reckless adventurism to score political points.
If these presidential appointments are intended as an attempt to forge peace and reconciliation with the former rebel leaders then it is not working, because it shows once again that President Sirleaf is not a unifier, but a divider and a callous manipulator whose don’t care leadership style and irresponsible policies has polarized the nation and got Liberians to constantly look over their shoulders wondering where the next rebels are coming from, and when they are going to invade the country to violently remove this president from office.
The latter, Liberians don’t want because any violent removal from office of a sitting president only sets a country back further as we experienced in the 1980s and 1990s, when both Presidents Tolbert and Doe were fatally removed from office only to be replaced by the clueless, criminal and dictatorial Doe and Taylor both of whom destroyed the country further.
However, the only sensible solution to getting rid of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is through the ballot box – the 2011 general and presidential elections. But the biting concern is the obvious lack of qualified and patriotic presidential candidates with a vision, not one who is Ellen-like and not ready from day one to seriously create jobs, tackle the sewer, sanitation and garbage disposal problem, but one who is also ready to work hard to repair the nation’s other crumbling infrastructure.
However, the spineless and opportunistic members of the Liberian legislature are not blameless either. They should be held equally responsible for the mess the country is going through today, because if these individuals were serious enough about legislating, and also serious about the balance of power and their roles, individual members could be formidable national leaders the Liberian people can turn to to seriously influence an issue.
The problem is: there is not a distinguished legislative leader on the national scene in Liberia today that speaks with authority; and is renowned and respected for legislating groundbreaking laws that changed the lives of the Liberian people. Instead, many of them are mostly concerned about ceremonial titles, are in the pockets of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and are toting her water conveniently to where ever she wants that water carried out of political expediency.
Even as I write this piece, many clueless members of the Legislative branch resides in the nation’s capital, Monrovia with no livable homes in their districts/counties to spend time with their constituents on a regular basis.
If members of the House of Representatives and Senate are not living in their districts to attend to the matters of their constituents, is it any surprise that Liberians in the rural areas are descending on the capital, Monrovia in droves to make a living that is just a dream and not a reality because of the scarcity of jobs, money, housing, healthcare, education, and food to sustain themselves and their families?
The 2011 general and presidential elections are about the nation’s future. Achieving that future requires electing patriotic and courageous political leaders who are accountable to the Liberian people, and are willing to work hard to improve their standard of living.
This is not about the future of those men and women in the national legislature who failed the Liberian people, or about a particular woman who came to the presidency promising to also get rid of corruption, which is too damn rampant and out of control. This is about the Liberian nation and people.