Democracy is not simply a mere form of governance. It is a holistic political process that comes with huge in-debt social economic and political responsibilities on the shoulders of politicians who decide to take such routes. Those routes contained other populations like stakeholders, civil societies, and the masses. Each constituency has its own expectations, demands and set of fulfilments in society.
Those in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the people are accountable to them directly and indirectly. The people deserve the right to critiques, to ask questions, to agrees and disagrees, to make suggestions and to recommend and/or challenge particular decisions, or certain measures that may be taken by those secondary government officials who are hired by the President to assist him/her run the day-to-day affairs of the nation. It is at this juncture, that those officials are themselves expected to be sober, circumspect with critical minds to listen patiently and keenly to their employer, in this case, it is the Liberian masses.
The above analyses are directly applicable to President Weah and his entire government officials, this is because the President was hired by 732,185 of 61.5% of the votes to make him president of Liberia. Liberians, therefore, have the right to express their views when they are dissatisfied on issues of concerns. After President Weah was hired by Liberians, he, in turn, hired his officials to help him run his government. Those government officials are subject to criticism based on their decisions and their actions while in office. Aside from that, criticism is part and parcel of a holistic democratic package or bundle. President Weah and his government officials cannot be comfortable with certain aspects of democracy and frowned on other segments because of their dislike of those segments. President Weah shouldn’t embrace the portion of democracy that brought him to power and rejects the criticism segment in democracy.
President Weah will be very successful if he embraces the views and expressions of those who criticize him. The President will need to be perseverance, de-emotional, task-oriented, critical, frank with a soft-spoken leader who should maintain tolerance irrespective of his disagreement or agreement. The ears of a good president are those ears that accept opposite thoughts by developing a spirit of accommodation, peace, patient, love, and friendship. No view is binding on President Weah, but President Weah is under obligation to listen to other views whether he likes it or not. If those that voted for President Weah are not happy about the direction he is taking Liberia, they deserve the right to voice their concerns in the form of suggestions, recommendations, demonstration, strikes and or builds roadblocks, if only the need arises.
The President will need to understand that the Republic of Liberia belongs to all Liberians and he doesn’t work for himself, he works for all Liberians. The President is therefore under political obligation to answer to Liberians who hired him by voting for him. President Weah is therefore not above the rights of the very Liberians who voted him in office in the first place. Probably only autocratic dictators and despotic leaders who do not tolerate the views of the very people who vote them to power.
The late Samuel Doe and William V. S. Tubman are two former Presidents of the Republic of Liberia who didn’t like to hear Liberians speaking their minds on matters of dissatisfaction in their governments. In the case of Samuel Doe, he hunted his critics. The late William V. S. Tubman created a condition through which his critics apparently had to disappear in thin air—meaning, President Tubman simply killed his critics.
Liberia is now part of a global community, as such, it leaderships should be tolerant to the views, opinions, and thoughts of other Liberians whether they voted for President Weah or didn’t vote for him. If the President tries to build walls between him and his critics he might not easily learn so many important things while in office. Critics are referred to in some political circles as unofficial advisors to most leaders, some of whom opinions can help to broaden the horizon of the President.
Some of the most important critics of President Weah will need to listen to the views, and opinions of opposition leaders, opposition parties, student representatives, civil society organizations, radio talk show hosts, newspaper editorials, letters to the editors, Letters to the President, special newspaper columnists, political forum discussions, non-governmental press releases, news from abroad, news from diasporas Liberian, social media critics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., etc.
If President Weah will want to succeed in his presidency, he will need to call on his surrogates in the CDC’s party to be very responsible, respectful and how they address other Liberians. They need to avoid abuses expressions, threats, defiant, challenges, and falsehoods. The Presidency is a musical chair in Africa, but the chair can turn at any time in favor of the next person in line, therefore those in power will need to treat those behind the political lines with deep respect and civility. The supporters of President Weah will need to give critics the opportunities to do their job without fear, intimidation or favor.
The CDC party should understand that President Weah is not a royal king, a traditional priest or a lifetime President that no Liberian shouldn’t express his/her views in disagreement to his policies, plans, projects, and program s for Liberia. President Weah and his partisans will need to be perseverance and tolerance to the views of ordinary Liberians if the CDC-led government should succeed.