A Patriot’s Diary with Ekena Wesley
It has been a long road for Liberia’s populist-led regime headed by former soccer legend, George Manneh Weah. Yes! The road to meeting the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) scorecard has been rocky. Intertwined, the benchmarks cut across a spate of governance issues. Level of progress regarding the rule of law, free speech, press, peace and security, accountability, you name them. Weah and his government have been on a herculean journey. Successive attempts yielded poor showing. But the football icon and team did not give up though. They kept pushing!
Call it a huge public relations boost for the CDC-led administration. That’s precisely what it is after all. Getting there was a tumultuous challenge. On seizing the mantle of authority in the small West African nation in 2018, a bunch of rookies at the helm of power saw the first order of business to be rampant corruption. Missing LD$16 billion; US$25 million fiasco mop-up exercise; US$30 stimulus that never was and a transition from poverty-stricken to the super-rich. A government dogged with massive looting of the national treasury could not pass the MCC’s scorecard, to say the least.
Bedeviled by widespread corruption, lack of the trappings of the rule of law and justice, clampdown on free speech and press, a state of complete insecurity, fragile peace, mob justice, etc. it would have amounted to a foolhardy figment of the imagination to get a pass amid the MCC’s scorecard. Could there be a reason to celebrate early? The government made a pass finally after the long walk along this sojourn. It might make sense to start beating their chests about the pass. Perhaps it is too early to celebrate. International bilateral deals of such proportions go through various stages and processes in order to reach their execution points.
CDCians might be excited over the news for now but we are months away from practical implementation as it were. There is a likelihood that the various preparatory processes could go beyond the 2023 elections – thus whoever wins the 2023 elections will be well-suited to scrupulously execute the various projects associated with the Compact.
If the MCC is anything to go by, there is no doubt meeting the scorecard must have brought sanity to an already insane regime that has been on a reckless looting spree. But the pass does not necessarily mean we are completely free of challenges in terms of accountability, the rule of law, justice, peace and security, and the fight against corruption. We needn’t remind ourselves that where corruption thrives, becomes the breeding ground for dishonesty that denies the citizens access to education, health care, and social services they badly need.
As a country, it is imperative to begin to holistically address critical governance issues that impact the welfare of the citizenry. Surely, we are still mindful of promises made during the build-up to crucial elections. That constitutes a social contract between the governors and the governed. With the mandate sanctioned by the people’s votes, the onus is upon the regime to deliver on promises made.
As the moment of ecstasy dawns on the administration, it is only hoped that the triggers that informed the MCC pass will be resiliently sustained in the interest of the greater good. There must be no turning back! Corruption impedes and erodes every opportunity for growth and development.
The government must be accountable to its people. The business of governance should be characterized by transparency. Adherence to the rule of law and justice should be the sine qua non for our civilization. Congratulations to the Weah-led administration for passing the MCC scorecard. But it is too early to celebrate. Going on to the logical end is what we look forward to.