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Thursday, June 20, 2024

2023: AMID HOPES, FRUSTRATIONS AS LIBERIA DECIDES…

Date:

A Patriot’s Diary

With Ekena Nyankun Juagbe-Droh Wesley

As 2022 eclipsed, Liberians were anticipating a hopeful 2023 to democratically end their so-called political nightmare. Call President Weah and his gang a nightmare or whatever, they are a product of the 2017 general and presidential elections. Should we blame Weah for all our woes? There are three separate but inordinate Branches of Government. Isn’t that the case? Or perhaps an all-powerful presidency has commandeered our governance process. Where lies our checks and balances? Isn’t some kind of democracy alive? Or should we surmise some sort of pseudo-democracy at play?

Lest we forget, Liberia is the oldest independent Republic on the African continent. But Ghanaians often forget before their 1957 declaration of independence, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations let alone the United Nations.

We have come a long way. But we cannot match or measure the length of our frosty journey with anything tangible to show. Such is our socioeconomic and politico complexity. Some would feverishly argue that Rome was not built in a day. Agreed! There aren’t steps or processes to match how far we have come realistically.

When internationally acclaimed football legend turned politician in the small West African nation sought to lead his native Liberia, there were high hopes. Why after all? What could have given rise to such unadulterated thought?

It must have been borne out of the psyche that George Manneh Weah is a replica of the slum or perhaps the downtrodden. In effect, he has a better appreciation of the harsh realities that confront millions of poor and impoverished people in Liberia. That he would emerge as the best politician to respond to and revolutionarily address the difficulties and frustrations that had beset the masses for 176 years.

Emotions and euphoria must have supposedly guided the orientations and psychology of the masses. They refused to be interested in history. It was not about whether George Weah had a track record of leadership other than the gift of brilliantly using his legs as an entertainer. To the Liberian masses, George Manneh Weah is a classic manifestation of their true identity. in the eyes of the masses, George Weah is their religion just as the game of soccer consumes the religious orientation of football lovers.

George Weah lost one election in 2005 to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In 2011, Weah became second fiddle to former UN Special Envoy to Somalia, Cllr. Winston A. Tubman and they lost dismally. 2017 became his moment in history. The Elections Governing Body announced Weah won 14 counties out of 15. Really? Well, until a comprehensive audit of the outcome of the 2017 polls is conducted, Weah won for the record.

President George Weah won on the mantle of a crazily dubbed: “Change for Hope…” Certainly, without a doubt, the change surely came. Ironically, the inclined hopes of the masses remain dashed. Was it that the masses did not recognize their true leader at the ballot box in 2017? Your guess would be as good as anyone in a mind-boggling mood, folks.

In five years of Weah’s presidency, he would be remembered for sanctioning corruption, a bastardization of the economy, and open loot of public resources. Unexplained cum high-profiled politically motivated deaths with justice far-fetched remain the order of the day. The fate of a national census that is critical to the 2023 general and presidential elections is seemingly in limbo. Filth and stench are inundating the Liberian capital – posing a serious public health hazard. Our schools and hospitals are in dire straits! Unemployment is rife. The few who appear to be gainfully employed can hardly make ends meet. President Weah has turned our country into a complete bundle of frustration and hopelessness.

Our development partners with a keen interest in the 2023 elections have expressed emphatically that they expect nothing short of free, fair, transparent democratic elections. In Washington D.C. – Weah and four other African leaders were lectured by President Joe Biden about the conduct of free, fair, and transparent elections. The ball is in President Weah’s court to ensure that we go to the 2023 general and presidential elections without hiccups.

Contrary to all manner of theories that only a united opposition can defeat President Weah in 2023; we need to remind ourselves that our pattern of voting has not been about a united front in the first round. No one party can outrightly or genuinely win a first-round victory given the strata of our electoral culture and tendency. But the onus is on Liberians to prove whether they prefer the continuation of frustrations or hopelessness to a future that is set to bring real change for the greater good.

Happy New Year! Let our votes be a matter of conscience rather than ‘rice and euphoria.’

smartnews
Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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