By: Racassius Jedekan Weah
I do not know if comprehension or purposeful collective amnesia is an issue here but let me make this abundantly clear, ELECTIONS 2023 WILL BE ABOUT PRESIDENT WEAH AND CDC RECORD IN POWER and NOTHING ELSE. Though my compatriots from the CDC, celebrate and enjoy privatizing the benefits of winning an election but struggle daily to pass the buck to the excluded opposition and past governments for current public policy failures, bad personnel choices, and botched governance. Folks, take off your blinders, the opposition was not voted in 2017, it was the CDC, and it is President Weah and his CDC that govern our country. THE PEOPLE KNOW THIS VERY WELL. Sometimes the rubbishes, lies, and deceits many of our ruling party brethren spew daily in different fora in the name of politics and or strategy, are mostly condescending, obnoxious, nonsensical, irritating, nauseating, and insensitive. I do not know who pays these folks to write and speak such infantile gutter stuff in the name of propaganda and strategy. No matter how you dress the goat, a goat is a goat – it bleats!
So let me endeavor to enlighten my willfully blind friends on the CDC/government side since they assume that all of us who disagree with government policy choices hate the President. WE LOVE THE PRESIDENT BUT SIMPLY DISAGREE WITH MANY OF HIS POLICIES! You all can imagine that if Weah was not the president, many of us would have little or no reason to disagree with him so strongly on policy grounds because he would not have life-changing decisions to make concerning millions of his compatriots. I am sure that the waste they feed our presidents daily to mask their dismal performances in their respective roles can sometimes be overwhelming and or overbearing. But what they are not reminding the president of is that when they were in opposition and disagreed with the UP and made careers out of insulting President Sirleaf daily (that’s how the Koijees, Morlus, Grays, and others cut their teeth in CDC), they didn’t HATE the president (or at least nobody considered their very disrespectful and provocative dissent, hate), they were doing the opposition business. Now it should be different. Twisted logic from feeble minds!!! CDC will account for its stewardship for the 6 years and no amount of attempt at shifting blame will help. These are some of the issues the people are already settled on:
- When people die mysteriously and there are no conclusive investigative reports or the perpetrators are not brought to book, while the police make repeated rash statements incident after incident, it is fair to imagine that our government is clueless, careless, and even complicit because our collective security is the responsibility of the government and not any imaginary opposition that wields no coercive state power and has no access to the national coffers. It is beyond imprudent to think that the opposition can be blamed for the government’s inaction or incompetence on the matter of unsolved crimes.
Further, no one beyond the cool-aid drinkers and their patrons will hold any opposition responsible for alleged unsolved murders, rapes, armed robbers, carjacking, and broad day thievery in the public sector or against private peaceful citizens. Government must provide a sense of security and redress for victims. The people cannot all be expected to sit supinely when nothing is done about their sorrows. Frustration may boil over, and when it does, the government’s solution, as it is now, should not be to flog the people or arrest them. Government should provide answers. So, this rubbish you all spew daily when you blame everyone else but you for your failures in the name of politics is unhelpful to your cause and counterproductive to your benefactors. You all stop fooling each other and try to solve the problems or at least make an honest attempt. No one expects you to wave a magic wand at the problem, but at the very least, we expect that you will be sincere and give your best efforts. Be honest and accept failures the same way you maximize marginal progress. You are not writing politics or doing politics here when you take responsibility for nothing as governors of the country. And if people are paying you for the incessant junk you write daily, then we should book an appointment for those people with the Psychiatrist … necessary!
- When the dim Chinese street lights you celebrated like you had established an endowment fund to secure the future of coming generations can hardly come on because you refuse to appreciate that power supply was a binding constraint and therefore solar-powered lights were the viable option, the people will not blame the opposition for spending stupid millions simply because, as you claimed, UP only setup the HFO plant on Bushrod Island, and rehabilitated the Mt. Coffee instead of rebuilding a new hydro. The people know the reason your Chinese Christmas lights can barely come or come on so intermittently, is you and the quality of your decision over the five years, or lack thereof. In five years, you have failed to show a better way on many fronts so the question will be WHAT HAVE YOU DONE DIFFERENTLY CDC, besides whining and passing the blame for your lack of innovation and investing the meager resources in critical sectors. Instead of accepting that you have been incompetent in ways, accepting the error of your policies, and recalibrating, you have remained stubborn and naïvely arrogant in your failure to your detriment. You delude yourselves into thinking the opposition that you have sidelined can be held responsible for your glaring governance failures simply because you say so. Yes, the” sycamorian” who feed off your every delusion, and cling to your every fakery, will believe you – I mean, continue to believe you — but the size of your ardent believers and or “worshipers” is dwindling because they are enduring the most pain from your glaring failures … can’t you see?
- Don’t you think that the people know when they have been disproportionately harmonized to the extent that their irregular salaries can hardly take “papa home,” to quote Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Do you think they will hold the opposition responsible for this when they know that recurring expenditure, including the public sector wage bill, increased under your watch while their disposable income decreased? The people are feeling the effect of your ill-advised policy in their pockets.
- Don’t you know that the people understand that the dim Chinese lights you installed in county capitals and the latter-day scholarships you are offering after 4 years in power to students of some counties are all but a charade and electioneering ploy that addresses no bread-and-butter issues? Can’t you tell that unless you dig your head out of the sand and change course on both the policy and personnel front, and it might already be too late to do this, the going will get tougher and your words will no longer be soothing, but will become an irritant as they may have already?
- Don’t’ you know that when the people voted on the fabled abstract notion of LOVE FOR COUNTRY, they gambled and expected that their lot would change and not just the lot of the small inner circle? Beyond overcrowding the public sector with mostly incompetent and ill-prepared party hacks, how many private-sector jobs have you created. How have you helped the informal employment sector when the business climate has not been enhanced to attract FDI so that the benefits of the employment derivative activities generated by such FDI will trickle down to the small businessman?. In five years, which major international investor that was not already here or on the verge of beginning operations here in Liberia, have you attracted to this country you LOVE?
- Don’t you know that the people will not hold the opposition responsible for news about scandal after scandal and public swindles but your government, which has struggled to explain these allegations or address them to satisfactory ends, whether true or not. Do you not know that the people have not gotten the proper explanation for the $25M mob up or suck-up, if you will, and the Covid-19 US$25 Million relief which hardly 10% of the population received? Do you not know that if nothing is done about Bali Island, the coastal highway, and the many promises, the people will see them as broken promises and hold the CDC government responsible and not the opposition? Don’t you know that your PAPD will be used as a baseline to query your performance in terms of percentage delivered? Watch!!!
- Don’t you know that the people will be annoyed when the hospitals are without necessary drugs and supplies, but your government, through the Minister of State, can afford to donate $100,000 to ULAA and promise an additional $300,000 in annual budgetary support to a people who sustained this economy via their remittances in the difficult years? Don’t you think it will be perfectly rational and appropriate that the people consider your government priorities to be upside down and not the opposition? What informs the kind of thinking that led to this donation and the commitment of future resources by a sitting minister of a government that is struggling to meet revenue targets? I should like to read some budget performance reports if there are any.
- Don’t you know when the community roads are constructed irregularly to signal favoritism, the people understand that the government is not altruistic, authentic, organized, and methodical in its approach. Check the number of roads that were skipped from SKD Stadium going to wherever the community road work stopped on the RIA highway, and you will understand that neighborhoods are frustrated that the so-called bad road medicine has not cured their bad roads.
- Don’t you know that the people understand that the Somalia drive road (Japan Highway), ELWA to Redlight, the proposed overpass to the Ministerial Complex, the Ganta to Yekepa roads were all negotiated and funds committed before you took over; and if possible the ELWA to RIA road, which is under construction or just starting, everything else you have dedicated and celebrated is reaping where you have not sowed without giving deserved credits?
- Don’t you know that the people understand that the TRANSCO CLSG or WAPP project that you are highly indebted to was negotiated and consummated before you took over to continue the implementation; and that with your over $9M in debt, they can hardly see the light beaming? Don’t you know that whether it is CLSG or LEC, the problem remains regarding transmission and distribution of the power generated – what innovation have you brought to this long-standing issue? Oh, I forgot, just blame it on Ellen and her UP government and fold your hands. What if Ellen and her UP government had done as you are doing when they took over a broken country– whining and blaming your predecessor for everything instead of giving it your best efforts, where would our country be by now?
- Don’t you know that when you politicized paying WAEC fees and making university tuition-free, the people expected better, but are now being gradually subjected to the payment of all kinds of fees that will ultimately amount to the same tuition you claimed to have absorbed because you can either not pay the universities the amount you promised on time or that by your policy, you have deprived the universities of operational funds they used to generate. The people (students, in particular) know it is not the opposition, but the ones who “LOVE” the country that is causing this hardship for them.
- Don’t you know that when traveling to Liberia is becoming difficult and might become quite expensive for lack of competition because airlines are pulling out not only because they can’t do enough business in Liberia (not an attractive travel destination for leisure or business), but mainly because services at the RIA are getting worse below reasonable standards – incompetent management that can’t keep the lights on but find pleasure in complaining about buying two 45 thousand dollars generators, employees hustling everyone by the time they step out, particularly at baggage claims; a mundane Covid-19 testing process that is a colossal waste of time and a rip-off, and an airport that can barely keep the lights on during the night such that it has begun power rationing. Which serious airport does that? The people know it is not the opposition that is making a landing at the RIA dangerous, but the government led by the ones who LOVE the country. I am told that our beloved president even had to endure this nightmare when he came back from Dubai. You cannot see incompetence all over the place and misplaced priorities starring you in the face? CDC wants to blame the opposition for your refusal to remove your self-placed blinders too.
- Don’t you know when you announce the changing of the currency/money and you are reported to have already printed and brought the money into the country but have so far failed to replace the mutilated notes, they know that it is not the opposition but the government’s responsibility? Don’t you think they know that it is the government’s refusal to remove the mutilated notes from circulation and not the opposition? Don’t you know that the people know that the rate is being artificially kept low because there are no corresponding economic activities that can explain the appreciation in Liberian dollar value – could that be one of the reasons why we still have mutes on the market??
- Don’t you know that instead of planning and implementing development projects across the country, when you decide to put US$10 million in bags to take on a country tour to execute so-called development projects that you should have undertaken and used the county/country tour to dedicate, the people know that is electioneering and campaigning and an opportunity for some people in government to swindle public funds or plunder the public coffer further and will hold the government responsible and not the opposition as you would like?
- Don’t’ you know that when the government prosecutors are overzealous, rash, and political in prosecuting the ANC Political Leader and Party Chair, it is apparent to the people that the government has latched onto the misunderstanding within the CPP, particularly between ALP and ANC; and that when government so-called propagandists do their feeble best to drive a wedge with junk rhetoric designed to weaken the opposition, the people know that such wouldn’t matter but the account of your six-year stewardship in office? What did you promise and what have you done? What percentage of your PAPD deliverables is on target besides the pro-poor media that you owe US$125,00 to as domestic debt? Don’t you know that the people understand that you have failed to distinguish the CDC from the government, and they are the same? Don’t you understand that the CDC still postures as an opposition party and not a governing party? Think about the times when the CDC has imagined having rival demonstrations and threatened public disobedience – against itself or who?
- Don’t you know that unlike in 2018, when the vague slogan LOVE FOR COUNTRY and HOPE FOR CHANGE were the only basis for electing President Weah and the CDC, the so-called “love for country” has not manifested into tangible beneficial outcomes for the hundreds of thousands who thronged rallies and campaigns, who are now virtually hopeless, this election will be about the CDC stewardship (accomplishments, if there are any/many and failures and there are many)? It will not be enough to continue to whine about what was not done since 1847, you will have to show what you have done since 2018 – tangibles.
The people know that the 12 years ending 2018, during which this country was lifted from the ashes of war and destructions and institutions were rebuilt and the backbone of the civil service was trained or retrained, developments restarted and completed, the CDC which has labored mischievously without success, to impress on the minds of the Liberian people that the many accomplishments of the UP government did not happen so the people shouldn’t believe their eyes. Though CDCians currently occupy the ministerial complex, travel the roads to Ganta and Buchanan, travel through the airport, benefit from the Hydro and HFO plant, and are boastful of the Fendell campus and the JFD hospital in Tappita and many others, they wallow in misery as they desperately try not to believe what their eyes behold because they have simply failed to measure up. So, to acknowledge the progress during the 12-year UP reign is anathema to their selling point – do nothing and blame UP for your failure. But the people know what the UP already accomplished or failed to accomplish, this is not about the UP then, it is going to be about the CDC’s six years of stewardship.
THIS ELECTION… I say THIS ELECTION, will be about the 6 years beginning 2018 to 2023. It is not going to be about CDC telling us JNB is old, the people know that. It is not going to be about whether JNB worked in the public sector for forty or however many years, they know that. It is not going to be about whether JNB was honest enough to admit that some things could have been done better in hindsight, they know that. It is not even going to be about whether Cummings worked for and retired from Coco-Cola or whether Cummings is new on the block or that he has not served in an elected position before, they know that. It is not going to be about whether the CPP could not hold, because they know that even the CDC governing coalition could not hold – that it fell apart soon it came time to divide the benefits of the elections. The question will be, HOW HAS THE “YOUNG” LEADER DONE BETTER THAN THE OLD MAN IN HIS TIME OR THE COCO COLA MAN WHO HARBORS INTENTION OF SERVING, OR EVEN ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF IN HER FIRST SIX YEARS? THE OTHER QUESTION WILL BE HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE ONE WHO FAILED SO MISERABLY IN 6 YEARS TO LET PAPA COME HOME, PROFFER A BETTER VISION AND ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING HE COULD NOT ACCOMPLISH IN SIX YEARS, DO BETTER THAN THOSE PLANNING TO REPLACE HIM, WHO ARE MUCH EXPERIENCED, BETTER TRAINED AND EDUCATED AND MORE OPEN TO DIVERSE IDEAS OUTSIDE THEIR CIRCLES? THEN THE PEOPLE WILL ASK, HOW COME YOU DIDN’T EMBARK ON THESE LOFTY PROMISES YOU ARE MAKING NOW IN THE SIX YEARS WE EMPLOYED YOU– HOW WOULD YOU OVERCOME YOUR MYOPIA AND EXCLUSIVE SOUTHEASTERN PREFERENTIAL NATURE? MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, IT WILL BE ABOUT WHETHER THE PEOPLE ARE BETTER OR WORSE OFF NOW THAN THEY WERE BEFORE 2018. Here and then, is where rhetoric and falsehood will meet reality … we will align the metrics and no amount of crass argument about “welfare state” or international support” will matter because when you campaigned to govern the country, you knew it had transitioned from a failed state and therefore could no longer be shepherded along. The time and condition had changed so you needed to bring a different game to town. But public policy innovation and engineering have eluded your CDC to its detriment because it chose to remain parochial despite its glaring lack of trained workforce and enough of the requisite sophistication.
- The people know that some things could have been done better under the UP government. But they see that things have gotten worse – living standards have declined, disposable incomes have reduced and there has been an erosion in law and order and a sense of insecurity permeates under the CDC government such that the UP shortcomings pale in comparison to the CDC bungling. Unlike the CDC which cannot admit failures, the UP has accepted and taken responsibility for what it did not do better. Hindsight is always a better vision. But the decisions were made at that time with the conditions, constraints, and variables that prevailed then. So, we will explain the binding constraints and debunked any escape to excuses and or attempt to pass the buck. The buck stops with the governing party – CDC. You will not be allowed to run free with your fixation on the twelve successful years you have spent five years benefiting from but trying to deride. You will campaign on the merit of your stewardship and not on LOVE FOR COUNTRY …. Because that LOVE FOR COUNTRY, the people now know was and is a FARCE. You will stand on your record of making Liberians poorer and frightened in their own country. Yes, we will compel you to run on concrete deliverables and no longer on abstracts and vague promises. It is a common Liberian saying that “when a man tells you he will build you a mansion, ask him to show you the kitchen he has already built” for himself. In your case, there is either no kitchen or the kitchen is under construction or subpar. You will not be allowed to be deceptive by telling the people to ask the opposition or UP which kitchens it too built – the people already know that and have factored that in their thinking. You will be on your own.
- The people know that it is President Weah and his CDC that decided to make government parochial – and a southeastern, friendship and CDC affairs, even to the detriment of its coalition members. The people of Bong County, and other counties, know that since Mogana was whisked out of MOA, none of their qualified children have had the opportunity to be appointed in a ministerial or managing director post or, even deputies. The people of Nimba also know that until lately, when you appointed one of their sons to a partially dormant deputy ministerial position and gave a few others token jobs after Prince Johnson threatened to not support your government in 2023, the sons and daughters of Nimba, like the sons of Lofa, Bong, and to some degree, Bassa, Cape Mount, Bomi, Margibi, have largely been ostracized because they are not worshippers of the temporary holders of state power – something that revolves. They know that such decisions are the product of President Weah and his CDC cadre exclusionary thinking, so they will not blame the opposition for the marginalization practices. They know that in a real democracy someone does not have to be a partisan of the governing party to serve his country in a position he or she is qualified for. Ask Samuel Tweh (MCC and ADB), McGill (Internal Affairs), Janga Cole (GAC), and many others whether anyone required them to relinquish their partisanship with the CDC before being considered to serve. You will find it difficult to explain to the people from north-central and the west (who are not your partisans or friends of the president) why they should give you their votes when you ran a south-eastern, partisan-based friendship exclusionary government for six years. Our people in rural parts often say that “everyone has his “kwee” in town – meaning, source of sustenance in the government or the town.” But under your regime, this did not materialize for a considerable number of our people because their children did not come from the southeast, were not friends of President Weah and his cronies, or were not CDCians. They will know that the majority of their children did not bring home bread because they did not pray to the altar of CDC partisans masquerading as giants and deciders of fate, arguably, even of life and death. It will be hard to blame this on the opposition.
- The people will know that yea though you boast of renovating and moving into the mansion (which you largely use as a photo studio) and opening a dialysis center, they still struggle to get treatment for common diseases such as malaria, typhoid, diarrhea; and that the numbers of maternal mortality did not improve significantly under your watch because you politicized everything. Anything that did not or would not support your reelection bid did not matter. They will know that you strangulated policy-centered institutions, build villages and roads to nowhere in Grand Kru, and took what would be a major referral hospital and put it in a largely isolated Gbarpolu county, only because McGill, who is now allegedly claiming to come from Bong County, comes from Gbarpolu, without learning the lesson from how difficult it is to access JFD in Tappita, particularly during the rainy season. Yes, they will know that instead of investing in JFK, Phebe Hospital, Ganta Hospital, current hospital, and the other hospitals and health centers established under the UP, you choose to run them down in favor of building what looks like a glorified warehouse and call it 14 MILITARY HOSPITAL because everything must be credited to your lord.
- The people will know that Weah/CDC government which could build nothing, but takes credit for what others did, could not maintain what was bequeathed to it in pristine conditions; the Ministerial complex (generators often down and garbage piling up, office are without light; Airport, generators down, escalator not functioning; JFK, C.B. Dumbar, JDK, all without adequate necessary supplies and in worse conditions than they were in 2018; the hydro, two of the four turbines down; HFO Plant, only one functioning; and so on and so forth … they will know all this even while you talk about your executive mansion photo studio, Chinese lights that hardly comes on, and community roads to friends and cronies homes, RIA road digging, Saniquellie to Logatuo road, among others.
- Oh yes, they will know that when you benefited from welfare, you choose to put the sports/recreation center behind the BTC where the stench from the unprocessed sewage is unbearable; and then put the sports/recreation center at the base of the Spriggs Field Airfield where it is certain to cause traffic congestion and be prone to disaster. Yes, they will know that you left a whole country that is open, empty with many vacant swats of land, and chose to erect these facilities in the chosen locations because you wanted to show off. Chances are the stench will make the BTC one unattractive if the sewage is left untreated, and the fish market facility will become a source of annoyance because it will cause too much traffic if an overpass or access road is not built.
- And truthfully, they will know that they elected a president, a chief executive who instead of becoming the leader of the country and the moral compass, chose to delegate the running of the state to a Mcgill (aka, porcupine man), and Tweah (aka “lying tweah”); and allowed Koijee (aka“Gucci clown”) who regularly butchers the English language, to run amok theorizing peaceful citizens as the garbage swallows Monrovia, while he focuses on his passion: making music or copying others music, preaching (or gossiping and fussing on the pulpit), playing football and displaying his wardrobe as well as flying around the world in luxury on useless trips that yielded nothing for the country. Yes, they will know.
- Yes, they will know that President Weah who is uncomfortable, unsuitable, unqualified, unprepared uninterested, and unmoved by and for the presidency, was largely a “bobo president,” failing to provide leadership or even speak to the nation during critical times when it would matter. They will know that the president found comfort in rehearsed, edited, and spruced-up prerecorded statements while he fled to Jamaica lodge and crayon village to escape from public speaking duties.
- They will know that CDC is akin to the bad husband who mistreats his wife and dumbs her, and proceed to promise the new wife paradise, only to ditch her later in a similar manner while remaining true to character. Such will be how the tale of the parties in the crumbled coalition with the CDC which were used and dumped will be told to those accepting your courtship as you woo them. Yes, they will be cautioned that what is not in you cannot be produced. That means they should never look to CDC to be judicious, altruistic, fair, competent, magnanimous, and considerate; but they should know that you CDC is a “little party” with mostly people of little minds, incapable of thinking beyond self, clan, and party.
The people know and can feel that the vague love for country and hope for change mantras that they gambled on have failed them. You will find no room to mask your failures and you will find no scapegoat. The people will hold you to your records and to that record, you shall answer. Thank God the opposition quite to our chagrin, was dormant and stayed out of your way as you drove yourselves into the ditch. You will own your record because you chose to be on your own.
To be continued …..