As we stated in Part I and re-emphasized in the previous three parts, the Issues Desk has been interested in looking at the statement, “Don’t mind the Liberian people; they will talk, talk and get tired,” as made by many public officials, including our national leaders, identifying some factors or realities that cause them to make such an insulting statement about us. We intend to summarize the presentation in this current piece and move to a different topic in our next article. Of course the discussion could be revisited if the need arises.
As we have consistently indicated in the series, perhaps it is only foreigners lacking knowledge about the don’t-care and insensitive behavior and attitude shown by our officials, both elected and appointed, who will ask about why these officials would want to address the people in this manner. But for us the common people of this nation, a people who very well know how our officials have treated us over the years, we know the factors giving rise to this nefarious mindset and disposition on the part of the governors of this state. The governors are important, but the governed are unimportant – that’s what our leaders think and believe.
Simply stated, the officials are something, but the people are nothing. The officials are masters, but the people are slaves. The officials are wise and smart, but the people are stupid and ignorant. The officials are the owners of the nation’s resources, while the people are trespassers that should not really benefit from these resources, and if they (the people) are to benefit, it should be as a result of sympathy on the part of the officials. The officials are entitled to the elephant part of the nation’s resources, but the people must get nothing or only an opossum part of these resources. The officials are the ones to make the decisions about how the nation’s resources should be used, and the people have to accept those decisions, no matter what. The officials must seek and protect their own interest at the expense of the people; the people have no interests to be protected, and they should refrain from talking about seeking or protecting their interests. This is how it has been for years.
Differently stated, the governors of this state are lords, while the governed are servants, and, as we all may know, a lord does what pleases him, while the servant is not supposed to challenge his lord. One of the principles of political democracy is that a government exists for the people. In Liberia, the opposite is true.
So we the people of this nation, although disappointed, are not surprised that our leaders bravely say publicly that they will do or say anything they wish because they are aware that the Liberian people will talk and talk and talk and finally get tired. In other words, there will be no consequences of their words and deeds because they are not accountable to us.
Our leaders believe and feel that if they treat us disdainfully and relate to us deceitfully, frustration and heartbrokenness will kill us the Liberian people because when we speak out against their dirty deeds and words, they will treat it as a child’s vomit – they will not listen to us and will not do anything about it. Even if we cried and released blood as tears, nothing would stop them from continuing their dirty and wicked deeds and words. Even if we shouted at the highest pitch or volume of our voice, nothing would stop them from continuing their wicked and dirty words and deeds.
Yes, our leaders are right. Our leaders passed anti-people bills anytime they wish, despite the fact that we the people ask them not to. They sign anti-people, self-seeking concession and other agreements, despite the fact that we caution them not to. They sit down and come up with what is really a Greedy Politicians Sustainability Bill, and they term it Democracy Sustainability Bill. They increase their own salaries and increase them to any amounts they wish; however, when it comes to increasing civil servants’ salaries, they say it should be postponed to Judgment Day.
Yes, our leaders are right. Our leaders make appointments without considering the interest or input of the people. They even knowingly appoint individuals of corrupt and diabolic character all the time. They dismiss or refuse to appoint people that we the people have confidence in. Our leaders demonize and dismiss people whom we the people want.
Yes, our leaders are right. Our leaders exhibit despotic and nepotistic tendencies most of the time, whether openly or secretly. They defiantly appoint their close friends and family members to important and lucrative jobs and positions anytime they wish, despite the fact that they know that they are not supposed to.
Indeed, our leaders are right. Our leaders make public hospitals, like the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital, expansive for the common people, as if the hospitals were private ones when the fact is that they are state-owned entities.
Surely, our leaders are right. They steal public money broad day, misappropriate the nation’s resources and constantly engage in corrupt deeds openly and secretly, although they know that they should not.
Of course, our leaders are right. When our leaders are given millions or thousands of dollars to construct standard and guaranteed roads, they use a few dollars and build sub-standard and non-durable roads, diverting bulk of the funds to their personal use at the detriment of we the people.
Indeed, our leaders are right to say that no one should mind us because we will talk and talk and talk and nothing will result from out talking. Our leaders steal money meant for the education of the poor, and nothing happens. They steal money given or meant for the construction of good roads, and nothing comes out of it. They steal money meant for improving the nation’s healthcare delivery system, and nothing comes out of it. They work in government, but establish and run private institutions to which they award lucrative contracts, and nothing comes out of it. Audit reports released by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) not only constantly reveal their corrupt nature and deeds, they also publicly indict them but, still, nothing comes out of it. In fact, the more their corrupt nature and deeds are known, the more they are given new and better jobs and positions.
Surely, our leaders are right. To ensure accountability and transparency, to promote good governance, our leaders are required to publicly declare their assets; in other words, they are supposed to tell the citizens and others about all that they own so that we the people can monitor their operations and see whether they will get rich overnight or not, but they deliberately refuse to declare their assets publicly. In fact, they totally ignore us on this. They say nothing; they do nothing.
Our leaders are right. They increase their salaries and other benefits anytime they wish. Not only that. They increase their salaries and benefits to any amounts they desire. But they believe that civil servants’ salaries should not be increased, needless to mention their wanting those salaries to be increased regularly.
Yes, our leaders are right. They pay themselves US$4,000 as monthly salary, but tell us that they are making sacrifice for the country because that amount does not commensurate with their qualifications. Other so-called leaders of the people pay themselves US$7,000 as their monthly salary, while arguing that it is a wonderful thing to pay civil servants US$100.
Surely, our leaders are right. They make sure that they are pay regularly. Their salaries are never delayed, yet they do nothing and say nothing when poor teachers’ salaries are delayed for months.
They are right because they have successfully managed to rule us by the divide-and-rule policy, doing everything to put one group of citizens against the other, confusing and debilitating all in the process. For example, when our leaders increase their own salaries and refuse to add a dime to the salary of a civil servant and the no-nonsense, we-will-take-our-destiny-into-our-own-hands leadership of the civil servant bravely challenges our leaders, they (our leaders) quickly form a rival leadership to denigrate and frustrate the efforts of the brave and people-oriented leadership. When our leaders refuse to pay struggling teachers regularly, and the leadership of the aggrieved teachers publicizes their condition, threatening a certain course of actions, our leaders infiltrate the camp and sow a seed discord, causing meaningless infighting that returns the teachers to the business-as-usual condition. Our leaders practice it at public workplaces, on school campuses, in marketing associations, among members of the press, and so forth.
For sure, our leaders are right. For instance, we need a code of conduct. We have demanded it for years, but our leaders never listen to us. We argue that a code of conduct is a necessity; they dismiss it as a nonentity. We seriously press the urgency of a code of conduct; they deliberately frustrate its consummation. In fact, they prepensely postpone any discussions on it, needless to mention their passing it into law. Our leaders don’t care. It doesn’t matter whether we demand it on the radio, on television or in the newspaper. They are happy and fast to sign very controversial bills and agreements without even reading them. They are hot to pass bills and agreements that guarantee them kickbacks and other benefits, but they are unwilling, unready and unable to pass a code of conduct. The reason? Well, they know it is something that will checkmate them, which they detest.
Yes, our leaders are right. They are right to insult us in this manner. They are right to talk about us in this fashion. The government exists for them, not for us. They are the wise and powerful governors, and we are the stupid and powerless governed. They are the masters, and we are the slaves. They are right to overlook us like this. Let them go on insulting, ignoring, cheating and harming us. But, let them remember, though, that everything has time under this sun.
Believe me, my people. We will never stop following the issues.