A Patriot’s Diary with Ekena Wesley
Earlier in the year, two powerful senators went down at the claws of the Magnitsky Act. Some 90 days ago, Magnitsky rocked the government of President George Manneh Weah. The presidency was dealt a devastating blow when one of President George Weah’s most powerful lieutenants – Nathaniel McGill was hooked. That hook also caught President Weah’s Solicitor General, Syrenous Sayma Cephas, and the then point-man at the National Port Authority (NPA), Bill Twehway. In Africa, stolen wealth turns crooks into celebrities or stars.
Undoubtedly, shivering chills came descending down the government’s spine amid the horrific blow coming from a powerful nation on the small West African nation. Many within Weah’s cabinet circles started to occasion jitters cum murmurs. Why would they? Any particular reason? The de facto president who was stalling all access to the presidency had fallen. Nat McGill had fallen from grace to grass just as we saw Gray D. Allision, Jenkins Scott. Speaker Alex Tyler, Cllr. Varney Sherman and the list goes on and on.
Is that reason to celebrate? Certainly, in a political arena where everyone in the cabinet wants to catch the president’s eye, it matters. It was a foregone conclusion, though! Power had entered Nathaniel McGill’s head and he used it to his benefit thus suppressing his cabinet colleagues. McGill’s sheepish reckoning was – increased access to the president meant strange whispers that could be to his disadvantage.
A somewhat seemingly pretentious and grotesquely humbled Nat McGill had become corrupted by power absolutely. Even the all-powerful President George Weah did not seek to wield power as in the case of Nathaniel McGill. An experiment with power in the name of proximity to the president changed Nathaniel McGill overnight.
When President George Weah and his CDC-led government captured state power in 2017 following historic elections, many had hoped there would be a miracle on the horizon. That assumption was short-lived. In just three months at the head of the throne, LD$16 billion went missing; US$25 million mop-up disappeared in thin air; US$30 million stimulus appropriation never was; Weah built 42 units duplex; President Weah refurbished his wretched 9th Street residence and the looting spree continued unabated.
The Americans had warned that corruption denies people access to good education, health, and basic necessities. They were cautioning our government. But we weren’t listening after all. We simply weren’t listening because impunity had become the order of the day. On the heels of being slapped with US sanctions, former confidante and right-hand man to Weah, Nathaniel McGill told citizens in Bong County that: “Others stole and took the monies abroad. If they say I steal; but I built a house here and give you some, da bad?” A cheering crowd went into rapture. The insanity of a puppeteering masses as it were.
There you had a sitting government official openly justifying why he was looting the national treasury. Strangely, the Liberian people that the Americans seem concerned about were seen applauding a courageous bandit. Did the people have a choice? They are simply gullible, folks.
Firebrand motivational speaker and Pan-Africanist, P.L.O. Lumumba put it bluntly. Lumumba said: “It is only in Africa that we celebrate public looters by electing them into office.” Perhaps the masses don’t realize that it is their monies that have been stolen.
Why is Magnitsky calling the shots? Simply put, the inability of our anti-graft institutions to hold public officials accountable is responsible. Three down; nine to go. The clock is ticking. Soon and very soon, nine culpable public officials in the Weah-led administration will go down. This time, corrupt officials within the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary. A local County Solicitor and business associates of the regime will be hooked this time. If our institutions of government cannot make a difference, Magnitsky will beat senses into the heads of corrupt officials who see the public treasury as an avenue for abuse.