Liberians everywhere at this moment are much more jubilant than of any occasion in their lives than the just ended constitutional ceremony that went down into history as the induction of two of Liberia’s most senior government officials president and vice-president. Democracy in itself is so unique that people have the constitutional right to elect their own leaders to govern the state of affairs of their country for a certain period of time. The same democracy capacitates the electorates to remove their own national leaders from power if their basic socio-economic and political interests are not met.
Africa’s oldest independent country that is so endowed with abundant resources, enviable of remarkable records, a relatively small population of approximately 4.5 million often in a public glare of fierce conversations heavily centering on corruption witnessed a fascinating historical transition for the very first time after a period of three scores plus today at the famous Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, first of its kind for induction to be hosted there. Traditionally the Capitol Building has been the ground for inauguration program. The day comes with a lot of excitement, chant and thirst from ordinary Liberians as they resonate and recollect the phrase”Pro-poor Government”.
Now, the political burden squarely lies in the hands of this new government, the CDC-led government of President George Oppong Weah to restore the hopes and aspirations of the commoners whose arguments in the last twelve years have sharply point out to marginalization, exclusion and participation from the national governance of the state. Triumphing over these points by the commoners demand a radical approach, I mean the political will from you as the president of the land. It was on grounds of these cries that the Liberian people overwhelmingly elected you to be their president not solely because of having an agenda that encapsulated the problems of the economic nor being the most known candidate amongst the other ones.
In fact, the people contended that despite of not articulating the issues of economic recovery, education, corruption, Reconciliation, agriculture, employment, good governance and Rule of Law, Freedom of Speech, they still repose their confidence in you to lead them. Thus, you now have the constitutional mantle of authority for a period of six-year, what do we expect from you? Are our lives going to be the same? Will we still strive to get quality education? Are we still to hear that corrupt government officials go scot –free in this CDC-led government? No, I do not think so.
The sky-high expectations on this CDC-led government of President George Oppong Weah especially from the youthful population, the strong base of president Weah’s success are built on five core pillars which when considerable attention is given the masses will have no other alternative but to celebrate the CDC-led government, the pro-poor one. Today’s inaugural address takes into account key policy issues that woke Liberians from their seats to cheer you: One, corruption to be aggressively fought in this government, empowering Liberian Businesses, promotion of freedom of speech.
The Liberian Economy at Spotlight
Today the CDC-led government inherits an economy that is on a falling tank whose nature is of an import-based one. More goods are imported into the economy than export of goods. Prices of the nation’s two main traditional commodities have fallen on the world market consequently economic growth in recent years which too is occasioned from those sales have decline. With the decline of these commodities couple with very low production of goods and services amidst the influx of more chasing few goods inflation comes in. Inflation of the most economic types demand –pull from the demand side, Cost- push with respect to the supply side of the economy. The Liberian economy is such a dual one that has features of capitalism and communism. In this economy there is a huge economic gap between the ordinary struggling Liberian businesses to that of the big businesses run by foreign nationals. We are not arguing that the economy should or must be taken from the hands of these big shots but a rigorous labor policy must be put into laws protecting small enterprises on one hand and the big ones on the other hand. Priority of the Liberianization policy must be fundamental of this CDC-led government.
The economy must also take into considerable focus of the issue of a good tax system. Tax as one of the sources of revenue can immensely contribute to economic growth if this government frowns at the avoidance of political patronage. Just to quickly borrow few words from Liberia’s former Auditor General John Morlu in his speech: Journalism and Self regulations: Towards a Better media Contributions to Liberia’s Democracy.
Mr. President, the elections in 2017 is going to be the biggest challenge for Liberia. It is going to make or break this country forever. Journalists continue to fight corruption in this government but a greater focus should be placed on whether we can in 2017 truly elect a caliber of people who can usher the real democracy that we need, a democracy where the legislature will not substitute deliberation for cash, where the judiciary is just and fair, and where the Executive is not the biggest bribe maker in the land.
Corruption and Unemployment
Unarguably, The Lonestar Forever, The National Anthem, The Pledge are sacred songs to every patriotic Liberian. Each time these songs are sung it evoke patriotism and nationalism. The impact of these odes are not yielding the masses agenda but instead these songs have been aggressively conquered by Corruption and Unemployment. The change the people are yearning for over the just ended tough economic years is a nation where the state resources are to be shared equitably; corrupt government officials will be prosecuted and if found guilty will bear the consequences of their act. Espousing powerful commentaries of creating a new order of the spoiled system, that is, jobs must be given on the basis of merit rather than the just ended “Kleptocracy and Sir leafs” masquerading as democracy. And so the masses will frown at any emergence of a Weah and Weah Incorporated.
The gross failure and laissez faire by ex-president Ellen Johnson Sir leaf to fiercely fight corruption during her just ended twelve years mountainously undermine her administration. Nepotism, cronyism, political patronage gives a red on her card. With the war you will wage on corruption as you stated today if implemented by the CDC-led administration will turn a new chapter in the political history of Liberia.
The masses do not need dishonest statesmen around this administration as a pro-poor one. During the just ended elections Liberians were more glued to any candidate that had a reflection of seeking economic policy to address the issue of unemployment. About 85% Liberians in most spheres are unemployed, college graduates from in their respective disciplines cannot find a fitting job to do thus turning out to the be the true meaning of the adage” An idle mind is a devil workshop.
Predicated on the tough economic times endured their children’s tuition fees could not be paid, lacking basic economic necessities food, home, clothing and shelter. In this background the people of Liberia feel you as their own, envisages you as the John Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Jorge Carlos De Almeida Fonseca of Cape Verde, John Pombe Magufuli and Jakaya kiwete of Tanzania. We must learn from the words of ex-French President, Nicolas Sarkozy "Nothing is more destructive than the gap between people's perceptions of their own day-to-day economic well-being and what politicians and statisticians are telling them about the economy".
Free and Compulsory quality Education: Much has been heard in the public sphere that the educational system of the country needs radical reforms. Radical reforms stemming from qualified teachers, better incentives, and adequate economic support to this sector. Former president Ellen Johnson Sir leaf was a consistent critic of this system branding it as a mess. Not much was done by her administration to improve this sector. Of late, the system even became more messy as her an incompetent and inexperienced George Werner ran the system. Under this pillar of which the masses weep about is also vocational education. With this, the minds of youth will not be obsessed with government jobs as the sole means for survival. Skills acquired through this program will enable them to create their own jobs and reduce economic burden on national government. We know for a fact that education is the key driving factor of economic development in Rwanda since after the 1994 Genocide. The post –Mao Zedong Chinese Communist party leadership viewed education as the foundation of the four modernizations.
Freedom of Expression
Even though Madam Sir leaf to a larger extent has been heavily criticized by the people regarding her feeble stance on corruption but an excellent mark needs to be accorded her in the promotion of freedom of expressions and political tolerance. The UP-led government was able to withstand public criticisms though some were extremely reckless and non-sequitre. Opposition parties, members and ordinary citizens during this time were at liberty to freely express their views without being harassed. Now, the new CDC-led government must get ready to accept criticisms, political agitations and so forth from activists, politicians, the press, religious communities void of witch hunt to citizen. As Thomas Jefferson rightly says “Information is the currency of democracy, and “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. So, this must not be of any news for President George Weah.
I could go on to catalogue at length on dozen of more national priorities by this CDC-led government as Reconciliation, agriculture, governance etc. But these outline pillars are fundamental to driving the Liberian national economy. Contrary to implement these urgent priorities by CDC-led government under the watchful eyes of President George Weah shall create a political environment of havoc and extreme protestation. The Liberian people greatest urge to this government which has been said as the Pro-poor government must be implement the mandate of the people. The mandates of the Liberians are delivering them from the dungeon of stark poverty to prosperity, corruption to education, nepotism to patriotism, from few to all. That is the genuine essence of the Pro-poor government agenda.