Leon M. Talery
I have been in the vanguard of the struggle for the dignity of the mass majority of the people whose prosperity have been blurred and aspiration sapped by the venom of corruption and misrule orchestrated by elements in the ruling clique whose penchant for wealth far surpasses their interest in the people. Such status quo has made a nation founded by liberated Africans under the insignia of freedom to wallow at the lowest rung of global development indices. This miasma has made the Republic of Liberia to straddle in the doldrums of the paradox of plenty.
As I take on the historical task of being vociferous on trending thematic issues in the republic, it is often that the nagging label of envy and jealousy will be the cheap commodity disgorged by individuals bereft of reasoning, who peddle tantrum and innuendoes to counter my points. My critics have not grappled with the reality that I use reasoned discourse to articulate my points, whereas they strive on dabbling in emotional outburst. Notwithstanding, it is a commonplace fact that little minds take pride in trivial pejoratives.
This write-out is a sequel to a running commentary I am doing on how qualification and competence are no longer the standards for political appointments in the CDC-led regime, but patronage and struggle credentials, not within the broader construct of a genuine struggle, but in the context of the feeble “Change for Hope” struggle of the CDC. The net effect of this egregious faux pas will be manifested in attendant inefficiency, low-productivity, and ineffectiveness of the public bureaucracy to deliver socio-economic transformation to the generality of the masses of the people.
Few days ago, President George M. Weah set out to name members of his cabinet who are to aid and abet him in delivering on his pledge of a “pro-poor” governance to the masses of the Liberian people. Although he promised to govern differently, the President has started on the same path of his immediate predecessor and other whose misrule plunged Liberia into the inferno of social discard. For a man who came to power because of the people’s quest to break with the old oligarchs who normalized the culture of corruption and entrenched patronage and greed to continue on the hazardous track of his predecessors, says the republic is fraught with the vortex of misrule.
Today, like in the past, appointments are not based on merit but rather on the spoiled system. Slew of appointments made by President George Weah are based on nepotism, patronage and cronyism. As if mediocrity didn’t reach the summit under previous regimes, mediocrity has reached its nadir under President Weah. His appointments are in total disregard to established precedents and are found wanting. The nation has thus transformed into a scandalous laughingstock and has been downgraded to drunk status, which says she is gradually turning into a pariah and is on the course of winning the equivalent of a gold medal for misrule.
For example, the chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change in Nathaniel McGill served as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, while his wife in Rebecca Biao got appointed as Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. The fiancé of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor in Mobutu V. Nyenpan was appointed as Minister of Public Works, while his brother get appointed as Assistant Minister for Revenue and Tax Policy at the M. At the same time, her sister in Norwu Howard Wesson was appointed as Deputy Minister of Health for Administration, while her sister-in-law in Alice Johnson Howard was appointed as Deputy Minister for Gender at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. Pam Belcher-Taylor, the wife of the brother of the erstwhile husband of VP Jewel Howard Taylor, was appointed as the City Mayor Paynesville City Corporation.
Embarrassing relics and remnants of corruption in Eugene Nagbe was retained as Minister of Information so too were Gbezongar Findley, Samuel Wulue and Varney Sirleaf—Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Transport and Internal Affairs respectively. Lance Gbangayon plies his trade as Deputy Minister for Culture Affairs and Tourism at the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs & Tourism, while Elias Shoiniyin sits pretty as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Like President Weah, former President Sirleaf also appointed undesirables such as Amara M. Konneh, Robert A. Sirleaf, James F. Kollie, etc. to positions on the basis of family ties or cronyism. So did former President Charles Taylor do when he elevated objectionable elements such as Edwin M. Snowe, Chuckie Taylor, Roland Masaquoi, Benoni Urey etc. to positions on the basis of either family ties or based on their association with the NPFL faction. Former President Samuel K. Doe also appointed his kinsmen and others stooges to positions of trust which they had no competence to occupy. The preceding era of the True Whig Party also littered in similar quagmire.
As a result, I draw a parallel in history and thus conclude that the Weah-led regime is no different from the kakistocracy of Samuel K. Doe, the dastard autocracy of Charles Taylor, and the kleptocracy of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. MOSODA suspects, in fact, that the new administration is a mixture of the three troubling tendencies. In an a time when the exigency of the moment calls for the assembly of a critical mass of qualified and experienced Liberians exuding with the fervor patriotism to lead the charge to traverse Liberia from the current economic Bermuda Triangle, President Weah swindles in mediocrity and relies on degenerates to lead the charge for “pro-poor” governance.
The last batch of appointed individuals whose appointments are found wanting are perennial university degenerates and despicable high school dropouts whose rise to stardom became evident as a result of purveying pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric, bombastic terminologies lacking coherence, and malapropic shibboleths. At the same time, some individuals of a certain gender claim to appointment became evident as a result of being social Agatha Moses, who never hesitated in sharing their glories.
This is the ghastly tragedy which has befallen the nation; it is a backwardness that is bound to stutters the homeland in the whirlpool of state collapse!
I can terribly countenance appointments in non-critical sectors of the public bureaucracy being made on the basis of political patronage and non-academic considerations. I can terribly consume that poisoned chalice, however; I cannot tolerate such considerations as the basis for appointments in the critical sectors of the public bureaucracy: agriculture, health, education, security, the economy, etc. — especially at this time when the challenges far outnumbered the capacity of the country to surmount them. I will not lower my standard and burry my head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich when individuals are being appointed in critical positions without considerations for qualification and competence.
Leon M. Talery is a graduate of the University of Liberia, and he is the Chairman of the Movement for Social Democratic Alternative (MOSODA). The Movement is a leftist organization geared at agitating, politically educating, and organizing Liberians behind noble causes. He can be reached at [email protected] . Alternatively, he can be reached on cell #: +231880819576/770472278.