“It is obviously nice to commend everything the President does, but Liberians need to be prudent because the affair of the state is not about the kudos or glory of one woman” Writes Lossenie B. Sheriff, a former ELBC/BBC journalist, author of a pending book, “Captain Thomas Sankara.” As you read in this report by Lossenie B. Sheriff, “in a free affiliation of people, every Liberian matters.” Read more…
This fact is glaring because Liberians are in dire and stiff challenges which arise from tedious mismanagement of national wealth and unabated political corruption at the higher level in every successive government the West African nation has had since 1944.
The 2011 Presidential election campaign was filled with promises based on election year aggrandizement that seriously triggered a beaming inflow of potential voters cross-carpeting from feeble and cash squeezed political parties to the governing Unity Party (UP) of the incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Her campaign platform had placed more emphasis at the time on vigorous coal-tar pavement to make the interior accessible by cars, bringing clean and safe drinkable water and provide more megawatts of electricity to light up some provincial capitals like Voinjama.
The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration has instead reneged on pre-election promises and turned her eyes nearly nine months after her extravagant inauguration to mass appointments of cohorts to lucrative posts in government such as counties superintendents and assistant ministers in recent times.
Election year promises are part of an election platform that any political party will use to psychologically macerate vulnerable constituents, especially those in need of jobs and other services in society like Liberia, but platforms are also vague ideals and generalities as well as specific promises.
In Liberian politics, election promises are notable for often being broken once politicians are voted into offices, but to the contrary, patriotic activists are urged to vigorously argue that would-be candidates for public offices should not be elected for who he or she promise to be, but for his or her ability to deal with the unexpected factors such as patriotism, competence and experience, this is in many ways a better method of weighing a politician.
On the other hand, Liberia has a history of being shackled and manacled by a century old system of deception and plunder politics by officials masquerading as incorruptible group of men and women when they are not in state positions of trust, they merely represent their private interests rather than much needed social interests for the suffering massive when the masqueraders are given the opportunity to serve in public offices.
Rampant corruption remains a major obstacle to social and infrastructural development in Liberia. Public funds are diverted for private or illegitimate public uses, such as purchasing expensive fuel consuming luxurious vehicles for government workers, police officers blatantly ignore legal procedures and extort money from citizens and foreigners alike at roadblocks in urban and rural Liberia in order for the officers to supplement their insurmountable monthly wages.
According to a government insider who does not want his name published, teachers at public school systems take most of the brunt of the mismanagement of state funds because their wages are extremely low, and they sometimes go three months or more without pay.
Everything peruse in local and foreign news journals about Liberia is trimmed with reference to poverty and unbearable hardship. Twelve steps up the human development index insinuates that Liberians are still in a deep hole of frustration and the only way out is to cease digging for more future troubles.
Tragic motor accidents are very common in Liberia due to deplorable conditions of roads leading to lead ward counties. In 1970s through 1990s, trips around the country were not the most annoying and dangerous initiatives compelled to 2012 under the current government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The beautiful roads system built by the late Presidents William Tolbert and Samuel Doe had deteriorated into potholes and nonnegotiable trenches and gutters.
A journey of just 465 miles from Monrovia to Voinjama has become a hair-rising torture that last from four days to a week; the potholes and the tarmac had been eaten off the roads by erosion as a result of degraded road constructions undertaken by the current administration in Monrovia that had made travel slow, very bumpy and irritating for majority of Liberians.
The situation is not different from Monrovia-Ganta, Zwedru-Greenville and Harper- Fish Town Highways. They are all death traps and many lives are taken away needlessly when vehicles somersault and careen or have head-on collisions while trying to negotiate the trenches and potholes.
A friend of mine told me in recent phone conversations that he remembers travelling on the Ganta-Zwedru highway to Greenville and then to Harper with his Gambian friend to bury his deceased father. According to him, he could not disguise his shame and embarrassment at the pitiful and disgraceful state of the roads in Liberia. Though grieving his dead dad, his Gambian friend and other could not help taking snipes at Liberia for such a deplorable and dangerous road system.
Some of the non- Liberian passengers on the truck they were travelling began wondering why the Liberian government was not doing the right thing despite national funds collected in taxes and huge donor money Liberia receives annually from overseas, they said this could stir up socio – political chaos in the country.
It is not clear when will Liberians get serious about what they can do for their beloved country and stop listening to those folks who say “the president is a good and honest person, but she has the wrong people around her.” President Johnson-Sirleaf was recently dropped from the list of the 100 Most Influential Persons in the world. The actual reason for this was corruption, nepotism and pre-election brutal security crackdown on opposition supporters resulting into three deaths and it had created a serious image problem for Liberia. (Times Magazine)
The prime method of estimating a good government in any country is to look at previous and current records of the men and women serving in it. If Liberians divide themselves into saints and sinners based on social class, it implies that they are barking up the wrong tree.
Liberia has mostly sinners and no saints and that is the visible reason why Liberia is still stuck in the mud of squabbling frustration. Elected and appointed leaders in Liberia, including the president should do everything to change the culture and only then will the bureaucrats be able to change the process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lossenie B. Sheriff is a former Liberian Journalist/Writer. He is the Author of CAPTAIN THOMAS SANKARA (a pending book project on the life story of the late Revolutionary Leader of Burkina Faso). Lossenie is also a contributing writer for WIKIPEDIA and a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Liberty University. He can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org or at (862) 849-3914.