Alfred P. B. Kiadii and Moses Uneh Yahmia
Saint-Just once said: “The present order is the disorder of the future.” Nothing is further from the truth when we see before our very eyes how the current leadership is running the country down and frustrating the efforts of the Liberian people, making the masses to be reduced to nothing.
Nations are built by great human elements who take the crude vision of the people transform it into a national agenda with a sense of history, public spiritedness and patriotism, informed by the particular circumstances of that society and the limitations of the environment. These people study the contours of history, master its laws in order to unleash social transformation.
A nation in which political power is ceded to social riffraff, wretched of the earth and ideological dregs is a nation teetering on the brink of collapse, a space which is in search of direction, and a society with a dying civilization. In such society, national leadership becomes the exclusive preserve of the leader, public treasury is thus transformed into personal purse, and political power become the monopoly of a handful of parasites.
Liberia is at a crossroads, where the path seems dark, hope not alive, vision turned into fantasy, and nightmare has become the official feature of our country. The paradoxical part here is that we are united together in this boat. When it capsize, we capsize together; when it develops, we develop together; and when it perishes, we perish together!
Today, our country is being relegated to the status of a wasteland. Our people are living in sad times—food, clothes, and other basic amenities to live a decent life like all dignified peoples remain a mystery. Our people are abused and reduced. The government has demonstrated that they are fit for nothing better than slavery and cannon fodders. Social vices are on the increase and more and more of our citizens who cannot withstand such hardship are taking to crimes, drifting to prostitution, and ceding to other rotten social norms to make ends meet. The republic is losing out on the social front.
Our economy is in a downward spiral. The exchange rate is at a worsening high since the foundation of the nation. The economy suffers from huge stagflation. Inflation is assaulting real wages. Unemployment has reared its ugly and crushing the young people. University graduates who thought that on their completion of undergraduate studies they would migrate to the larger society and obtain decent jobs to climb the social ladder in their economic life are faced with the crude reality of perpetual unemployment. Teachers who thought they will teach and make just compensation and a decent wage are paid a pittance.
The vast unredeemed masses, those to whom the future of posterity remain a fantasy; those who want to remain in the countryside and don’t have to migrate to the urban areas or emigrate in order to find a livelihood; those who live in squalid shacks and must live under such odious conditions with their children not experiencing culture and the glamor of childhood; those who struggle every day and their only rest is in the grave; those who live with mysticism and weighed down by superstition due to the low development of the productive forces; those who lived with pierced hearts and know misfortune are singing scornful ballads, reciting lamentable odes, asking when will this fate end!
Inventors have lost confidence in the country as a result of the assault on the rule of law. Businesses are folding up or shutting down as doing business in Liberia has gotten messy due to the imposition of regulations that stifle growth. Many small and medium-sized enterprises have also closed up due to falling demand and the high rate of interest to borrow from financial institutions. Conditions are getting terrible everyday which passes.
In the health sector, hospitals are closing down. Private clinics are eroded. Drugs are unavailable. Medical standards have deteriorated even at the ones that are functional. The death toll has increased in the country due to death from curable diseases. Infant and maternal mortalities are surging and hitting the rooftop. Medical centers are changing from saving life to accelerating death. Cost for medication has skyrocketed to an all-time high.
The countryside is bleeding and crying. The people are living akin to the Middle Ages—in darkness they sleep, under odious circumstances they struggle to get food to eat. Under difficulties circumstances, some of the young people have either dropped out of school or abandoned school to toil for economic survival. This is the fate of the people of Maryland; so it is the same with the people of Grand Bassa, so it is for Bomi, and so it is for Lofa, Bong, Nimba, Cape Mount, etc.
On top of these, our democracy is under a vitriolic assault. Right before our eyes there is a collusion by the president and certain elements in the legislature to impeach a Supreme Court Justice who only exercised his fiduciary responsibility to differ from an opinion of the Supreme Court which didn’t change the outcome of the case. Today, he is lampooned, vilified and disrespected for exercising his duties to the state. For it has now become a suicide for a justice to refuse bribe and uphold the constitution. For it has now become clear that individuals in the regime who dare to stand for noble causes are isolated and suffered scandalous smearing and persecution by president Weah and his slavish minions. This is the Liberia we are living in! This is the Liberia George M. Weah is governing!
Similarly, the independent media is technically being crushed because to deny them payment for advertisements they did or do for the government, asking state institutions to do no business with media houses that are critical of the government is an indirect war waged on the independent press. Debt the regime owed the media has not been paid because the regime wants to reduce the press to its auxiliary and echo chamber. The press is gradually being gagged as elements in the administration have vowed to “weaponize” against it. Today, to be against the excesses of the government is tantamount to a death sentence, as journalists are stalked, lampooned, and vilified with reckless abandon. This is the era we are experiencing! An era where George Weah wants to have the last word on everything!
Democratic pluralism has become a catchphrase on paper and a pipe dream in reality. The whole issue of political discourse has been consigned to the polar opposite of us vs them. And opposition voices in the country wanting to fetch for living in the private sector are chased and quarantined to unemployment, making private organizations afraid to employ them for fear of reprisal from the government. The regime wants them to rot in poverty and mystery simply because they say in order to make democracy works we will have a vibrant opposition and not a loyal one! This is the cross that one being in opposition in the homeland has to carry! A heavy cross at that!
Today, we are in the festive season, but the scenes in the country and from commercial hotspots appear like the country is enveloped in a national mourning. Monrovia seems empty and people are not buying anything due to the fact that they have no income. Eating the first meal a day or travelling to town and returning home are becoming major achievements due to the worsening economic crisis. This is the lot we must bear! It is the savagery the people are reduced to!
The Festive Season is not good for the masses and the Liberian people, but it is good for President Weah and his handful of parasites who sit at Jamaica Resort every weekend and merrymake. The people’s resources are used to wine and dine President Weah and his handlers. They are living far above the people and always seen throwing their ill-gotten wealth before their faces with such hubris akin to overlords presiding over fiefdoms. While the people starved on Christmas day, sumptuous meals awaited these bureaucratic parasites and their families, while the people sat home because they had no money, officials of government and their families were at the latest five star hotels and resorts, delighting in pomp and pageantry.
The economy is not working but it works for George Weah and his cabal of economic gangsters. The economy works for them so that is why every day your president dresses in gaudy outfits and takes picture behind gold decorations. No prosperity for you, but officials of the government are prospering and growing pot bellies. They are gobbling up properties and building Ducal palaces, fattening their bank accounts, and obtaining shares in offshore conglomerates. It is working that is why President Weah eats, wine and dine in gold-decorated dishes and cup. The President has bought a private jet. Not only that, he is the owner of the latest models of Porch and Lexus (LX-570) which cost not less than 150,000.00USD. The reality is that the economy is rigged to work against you but tailor to work for them!
Every day there is new scandal. Every month there are some shady deals reported in the press. Every time the press is digging up some kind of dirt on the regime. From one scandal to another, the government leaps. We know of the missing L$ 16 billion, US$ 25 million, EBOMAF, Elton, NHA corruption saga, payment of debt to nonexistent companies, inflated cost for the refurbishing of the presidential lounge, the reroofing effort of Gibraltar community, and others too numerous to name!
Comrades, over the decades you have lifted President George Weah from his days on the football field to making him first runner-up in two successive elections. You took him to the senate, and to the presidency of the country. In return, you have asked him to lift you up and change your despicable material conditions. You asked him to transform the country and crush the trilogy of social inequality, penury and mystery. To your plea, to your appeal, to your remonstrance, to your supplication President Weah has played lip service. He has refused to lift you up but is continuously lifting himself up!
You asked for economic empowerment, but you have been given disempowerment. You asked for social mobility, but you have been visited with social immobility and inertia. You asked for economic transformation, but you have received economic decimation. You asked for a better future for your children, but you are given a chaotic and destructive future for them. You asked for papa to come home, but papa is stuck in the wilderness. You asked for job, job, but you are given unemployment, unemployment.
The nation is bleeding. The people are victimized. The state is in chaos. The country is drifting into the abyss. The people are going through social alienation. The bureaucratic gangsters are sinking the nation deeper than the fate faced by Titanic. The republic is in paralysis. The Lone Star refuses to flutter over the landscape. The future is in disorder!
In our lifetime, we are seeing the country sliding back to its tragic past. Before us, there is a growing despot and a surging Frankenstein monster who is threatening to consume you, your children and their future. We see a leadership which has become a poisoned chalice. We see a government which has breached the social contract and is presiding over a nation akin to the state of nature—brutish, nasty, short and chaotic. This must change!
The approach to governance by the rotten collection of elites falls squarely within the realm of their understanding of statecraft. Thus, it is not lost on us that the social parasites presiding over the homeland have this insatiable penchant for private property and hasty accumulation of wealth. In their estimation, government exists to primitively accumulate wealth, and for one to be successful, it is determined by wealth and social status.
This bureaucratic caste, which, for all intent and purposes, is a spoiled child, raked the resources of a county where the income of the average worker is tantamount to starvation salary, giving how real wages continue to plummet due to scorching inflation, where unemployment surge with a paroxysmal rage, where businesses are folding up due to a frontal assault on the rule of law and the erosion of decency in public service.
By contrast, the masses of people, the physical force whose labor power is exploited to produce wealth, that class which is fully productive are kept on the margins of society, decimated by the ravages of poverty, mystery and social inequality. The paradox is, this class which produces, got nothing to show and are reduced to the lot of slaves in the homeland!
Hegel through his careful study of theory coined the dialectics of master and slaves. The master (bureaucratic caste or the Weah government) consumes what the slaves (the masses of the people) produced through their labor, and also consume what belongs to the group for the general use of society. Then through this routine of unequal relations, the slave (Masses of the people) becomes aware of himself, embarking on a task to free himself from the stranglehold of the master. Ultimately, a battle thus ensue between the two and the slaves then overcome the master to organize society. The dialectics of master and slave always transformed into revolt and revolution.
From the history of the revolution of San Domingo to the liberation movements in Africa, to the Cato, Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey Rebellions in the United States of America, all these historical uprisings of erstwhile slaves of men whose liberty were ceased say one thing: that the dialectics of master and slave metamorphose into revolt and resistance. That those who fight for liberty don’t have the slightest tolerance for injustice. Thus, Liberian patriots must gain inspiration from the pledge of the republic: “ I pledge allegiance to the
flag of Liberia and to the
Republic for which it stands
one nation indivisible with
Liberty and justice for all”
We have reached an epoch in the political life of the homeland that we must say to ourselves that there is no greater glory, that there is no greater honor, that there is no greater pride than for you the people to discard the flag of a regime which is in every manner a crude racket and uphold the banner of resistance to liberate the homeland. Skeptic may ask: But this regime is a constitutional government. To them we issue this celebrated answer: any regime which oppresses the people, which violates every law in the homeland and refuses to uphold elementary decency in jurisprudence, which plunders the resources of the people with callous indifference, which has delivered the most egregious oppression and most unfortunate mystery to the masses of the people is not a constitutional government! A regime which places a knife on the law and discards every value that tied us together in this rich chemistry dubbed the republic is a regime which has lost credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the people. It seizes to be a constitutional government. It thus becomes a patriotic duty, a moral obligation, and a historical task to struggle against such national infamy!
But we hear compatriots in the wilderness saying: how do we struggle against the regime which has the national treasury? How do we fight a regime which is internationally recognized as the representative of the Liberian people? How do we struggle against the regime which has the armed defenders?
To them we say that any man who has a sense of history will not quibble about confronting a regime which is built on shaky order. Money? We say to them who had more money than the Apartheid regime which was crushed by the heroic resistance of the South African people led in the vanguard by the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP), the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), and the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU), etc.? In fact, what is hidden is the fact that the Apartheid regime had nuclear weapons, but ordinary masses with only their hands and consciousness struggled against that tyranny! This shows that when the people are determined to struggle against a tyranny they don’t look back about the consequences!
Internationally recognized? We say to you the people of America went through deadly struggles to ensure they have a society. They fought against the Crown of England in what became known as the American Revolution. Secondly, they fought again among themselves in the American Civil war to ensure they have a society. So did the people of Britain in the English Revolution. The people of China had to fight against Japanese aggression under the nationalist government of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. And later the Communist Party of China had to wage a battle against the Kuomintang reactionaries to construct a new Chinese society. The courageous social forces in Cuba had to struggle to transform that country which was a known brothel for the ruling class of American capitalism. And they did by crushing Batista and his rotten reactionaries. The brothers and sisters in Nicaragua—that land of Augusto Cesar Sandino—had a choice to choose between suffocating in oppression and struggling against repression. They chose the latter by resisting the Samosa dictatorship. That singular allow them to begin the task of constructing a new society!
These examples are united in one thing: each people must fight their own battle, each people must wage resistance against that which represses, dominates and exploits them; each people must choose to make history or allow history to be made of them; each people must choose to be a cog in the machine or become active historical participants. For the people who make history know that the task of making history is herculean. But because such task offers a new trajectory, they fight to make history nevertheless!
The Liberian people, like all oppressed peoples, must follow the rich traditions of oppressed people by struggling against oppression in the homeland, fighting against their misfortune, and making their own history! You must do so because only you feel such oppression, exploitation and domination! Paris, London, Washington will make no history for you. And certainly no one will do. People might provide solidarity but you must usher in your own social revolution!
Armed defenders? A great Latin American had this to say: “A soldier is made of flesh and blood; he thinks, observes, feels. He is susceptible to the opinions, beliefs, sympathies and antipathies of the people. If you ask his opinion, he may tell you he cannot express it; but that does not mean he has no opinion. He is affected by exactly the same problems that affect other citizens - subsistence, rent, the education of his children, their future, etc. Everything of this kind is an inevitable point of contact between him and the people and everything of this kind relates him to the present and future situation of the society in which he lives. It is foolish to imagine that the salary a soldier receives from the State - a modest enough salary at that - should resolve the vital problems imposed on him by his needs, duties and feelings as a member of his community.”
When the people rise for just causes, the armed defenders will turn their guns on their oppressors. For we say to you the armed defenders suffer the same fate you suffer. They live in the same squalor you reside in. Their children are not in school like your children. They are paid starvation wages like most of you. They have no barracks, and even if they do, the space is too small to accommodate their families. Their sisters, brothers and extended families live with you. They know oppression like you know. They know about the corruption of the ruling elites better than you would imagine. They will be with you. They will stand with you. Besides, Jose Marti said, “A just cause even from the depths of a cave can do more than an army.”
Each time you want to throw off the yoke of oppression, you are bombarded with the cliché of violence. To that we issue this: what is more violent than putting US$ 21 million in the budget of the president while hospitals are shutting down and no drugs at even the ones that are operational? What violence is more savage than stealing L$ 16 billion and siphoning US$ 25 million? What violence is crueler than the sight of women dying in child birth, and more children dying before reaching age 5? What violence is more scandalous than students offering education that is indeed bereft of knowledge? What violence is more heartless than you basking in wealth and standing behind gold decorations every morning to be photographed, in an apparent mocking of the material poverty of the people?
Whereas the violence of the ruling elites is meant to eliminate and oppress the popular classes, the violence of the people in the form of a carnival in which the masses become active and lively in political life, casting aside the decayed order is to transform society in a fundamental new way. It is intended to free men from the yoke of domination, exploitation and repression to an epoch of freedom and dignity. That violence is a positive violence. It is a violence that must be supported!
If a government improves the material conditions of the people, roll out social transformation, use the natural resources in the interests and for the benefit of the people, then it is only just and fair that the people support and defend such government. But if the government suppresses the people, exploits them with the crudest monstrosity, drain them of their economic life, seek the interests of a handful of elites, then that government deserves the patriotic wrath of the people!
Every citizen is duty-bound, every patriot is obligated, and every nationalist is summoned to struggle against this political nightmare, to avenge the suffering of the people, and their historical betrayal by a regime which dashes their collective hope. Otherwise you send a wrong signal that the Liberian people—the land of Edwin J. Barclay, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Albert Porte, Wiwi Debbah, Wuo Tapia, Marcus Gbobeh, Momolu Lavala, Juah Nimley, Wiwi Debbah, Tonieh Richardson, Gabriel B. Matthews, and Archbishop Micheal K. Francis endorses this national scandal.
Therefore, Comrades, here is the historical stage—dance!
About the authors
Moses Uneh Yahmia and Alfred P. B. Kiadii are students of the University of Liberia. Kiadii studies Political Science and Public Administration while Yahmia studies Political Science and Economics. They can be reached via [email protected] and [email protected]