With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley
Delaware County, PA
Today, Monday, January 22, 2024, is another day in history for the small West African nation supposedly founded by freed slaves of African-descent. Perhaps in the name of some kind of ‘freedom’ as it were. A somewhat hope for a future possibly denied generations by slave masters thousands of nautical miles across the Atlantic. But has the country lived up to the true meaning of ‘freedom, with liberty and justice for all?’ Hmm! Good question for all patriots to ponder exhaustively.
We run a republican form of government that encompasses three separate inordinate branches of governance. Amid the power vested in the people and consistent with the constitution, the First Branch is empowered by the people as their direct representatives so duly elected to ably represent their interest.
Liberians have seen their government change hands but their lives remain the same. They have elected new leaders entrusted with their aspirations amid hope for improvement but to no avail. We were violently at each other’s throat to ‘right so-called wrongs’ but all to naught. What manner of nation are we?
Is it about elections dogged by a few months? Do we necessarily need to change or replace one administration to give way for another only in the name of change of government? What then was the essence of a frosty or antagonistic opposition against the status quo? Simply to matrix ‘old wine in new bottles…’
In geography, we learned that Liberia is a country rich in natural resources and opportunities. If that is the case; government ought to come to power with a vision. We are talking about a vision that transitions a group of people from the state of hopelessness to one of reassurance to harness the vast opportunities encapsulated by our geography.
What we have had over the years – have grotesquely been a manifestation of ‘rulers’ pretending to be leaders. Rulers, on the other hand, create the programmed environment for dogmatic loyalists and bootlickers – bent on singing undue praises. Even in his nudity, the Emperor is cheered on…
Leaders invariably come to power with a vision – they lead and inspire for the people to follow. They germinate ideas that are implementable. They create the enabling climate for equal access and participation by all and sundry. Leaders are inclined to service to enhance livelihoods, through job-creation, social and economic emancipation. We are supposed to be a capitalist society and not communistic whatsoever. But if the access to capital from banking institutions – are astronomically untenable, what is the point of capitalism? Simply ‘opium of the masses’ as in the words of Karl Marx.
But we have seen constant change in government recently, with a mandate to better the lot of the masses. If school fees are hard to come by, what benefit is it to the masses? If our hospitals cannot provide basic primary healthcare services – the people would be rendered hopeless!
In 176 years, our leaders (preferably rulers), have failed us dismally! They simply prove to be a bundle of unfulfilled promises while the masses suffer perpetually. The 2023 elections and campaigns were Liberia’s most hotly contested democratic duel in living memory. The battle lines were drawn. Call it a slim win for a team with little or no resources. The message was clear! Liberians were resolved to send outgoing President, George Manneh Weah packing.
We cannot be ignorantly dismissive of Weah’s uneventful departure. He did the honorable thing. He placed a call to Joe Boakai. Weah congratulated the President-elect; all to the amazement of his diehard supporters and loyalists – with whom he sat in a noisy living room. It was a win for peace, stability, reconciliation and democratic development in the small West African nation. Good or bad; history will remember Liberia’s footballer President, George Weah – across multiple spheres; the good – the bad – the ugly. Whether pundits see him kindly or unkindly; George Weah goes down in the in pages of history as one of the former Presidents of Africa’s oldest independent republic.
The task ahead for President Joseph N. Boakai is enormous! Fighting corruption so deeply rooted remains herculean! Liberians can no longer reckon with some kind of ‘managing expectations.’ This is the real battle. Transitioning from campaign mood to typical governance cannot be a child’s play. Joe Boakai once told Weah – “Running a government is not a job for the boys but a man’s.” Our Legislature is saddled with unpatriotic elements!
The people’s interests don’t really matter. Eradicating the ‘doctrine of brown envelopes’ must be waged fearlessly. Jobs are so hard to come by. The masses cannot afford another dashed hope. Amid more than 40 years of experience, Boakai faces a real challenge. Only agriculture is the way. Boakai knows it well! He must come with vision unlike his predecessor. He must be that new cum trailblazing leader to make Liberia great, if we mean business. It is time to work! It starts with the presidency! But Boakai cannot make any mistake to place square pegs in round holes to deliver. 100 days in power, the honeymoon would be over.
The nation will be watching and with an eagle eye…