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Saturday, July 13, 2024

DID LIBERIANS ELECT A ‘BOBO PRESIDENT’ FOR A SIX-YEAR TERM?

Date:

A Patriot’s Diary

 With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley

A group of divisive elements took hold of the small West African nation’s political theatre for some 133 years of absolute backwardness. But they felt they had done enough in their reckoning. That was completely not good enough. Sad, how people – supposedly leaders think about progress or achievement when they have done absolutely nothing! Such was our plight since the grand old true Whig Party inherited state power in 1864 until 1980.

The progressives had set the stage for radical change to reverse the trend. A group of non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia seized the opportunity and ended 133 years of decadent rule. How it all happened simply can be summed up as a mystery. Surely, change was inevitable. The docile True Whig Party establishment seemingly never dreamt of a violent overthrow. They were fools! A dozen coups had taken place across the continent owing to bad governance.

The military rulers that had promised change, started to renege. Regrettably, the junta unwisely imposed themselves on the population through a fraudulently rigged election that was grotesquely conducted in 1985. The predictable happened! December 24, 1989 saw an incursion that dragged on for 14 years. Liberian became stateless, refugees and an atmosphere of misery set in.

An ECOWAS-backed hastily arranged election produced an outcome that proved dubious in content and character. Charles Taylor’s quasi-demobilized rag-tagged army permeated villages and towns and fermented a reign of fear in the electorate that if they didn’t vote for Taylor – the country would return to war. Charles Taylor won the 1997 elections incredibly by 87%.

With power in Taylor’s hands, he backpedaled on the letter and spirit of the ECOWAS peace deal that brought him to the throne. The peacekeepers were summarily kicked out. The slogan of ‘sovereignty’ became the order of the day. Dogged by unbridled obsession for power, reasoning other than Taylor’s became the most entertained. The country again descended into anarchy. Liberia was given the last chance. A 2003 Accra Peace Accord reversed the looming madness. A Transitional Government emerged out of the Accra Talks. Liberians went to the polls in 2005. A run-off settled the score after no candidate received 50 + 1% in the 2005 October presidential elections.

Liberians entrusted their political future with the Unity Party-led government for six years and renewed its mandate in 2011 although the CDC raised eyebrows that were insignificant to overturn the overall outcome of the presidential elections.

Liberia made history when George Manneh Weah-led Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) won the 2017 polls following a run-off. Former Vice President, Joseph Nyuma Baokai of the Unity Party graciously accepted the results against the wishes of most of his supporters. Such is the spirit of political maturity and the desire for peace.

A new civilian president was inaugurated on January 22, 2018 at a jammed packed Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex. “Hope for Change” – that informed Weah’s CDC motto had brought the new government to power. The hope to change Liberia’s mess apparently created by the previous ruling party faltered.

The footballer President – in George Weah that Liberians elected must have been the right man on the soccer pitch, but a coerced trajectory saw a complete mismatch. Weah has proved conspicuously cum obscurely ‘Unpresidential and unstatesmanlike as it were!’ He is rudderless! After some more than five years on the throne, Weah dismally failed to learn by the ropes. Craze had clearly befallen those who simply saw Weah’s popularity as a trump card to be awarded state power; although they remain acutely aware he did not have the elementary or basic orientation of leadership.

Weah certainly recognizes his limitations. There can be no two ways about that. In a somewhat clumsy smart mood, he chose to resort to pastoral trappings to communicate his message that might not make sense as a politician. While he is an embarrassment to the beliefs of true biblical teachings, Weah uses his pulpit to throw jabs at political rivals. Weah’s die-hard supporters believe he is doing his best which no single Liberian leader has achieved. Really? They are not to blame though. They are blinded by the psycho of memory loss to existing realities.

We cannot complain the more! Democracy has ordained a typical hallucination that is crippling the sanity of a people into mindlessness. But Weah remains their consummate success story. He is the best! He loves the country like no one does. We are coming to the close of Weah’s six years of unfulfilled promises. For six years he did not speak to the people as any reasonable leader would do. No press conference, no town hall meeting and absolutely nothing. We elected a Bobo President! We might do the same again if the opposition forces don’t amalgamate forces to kick Weah and his gang out.   Perhaps another six years of a rudderless caricature…

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