The Opposition is Not Your Problem, Mr. President

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LIBERIANS, ALL AND sundry, had gathered on that sweltering day at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sport Complex in January 2018 to witness the inauguration of Mr. George M. Weah, a man that many considered the savior that would take them to the Promised Land long denied them as a result of centuries-old misrule by freedmen elitists from the Americas and newfound native elitists, a condition that spiraled Africa’s once proudest citadel of knowledge and bastion of freedom into a land of anarchy, especially dating 1999 to 2003.

ON THAT AUSPICIOUS day, President Weah, after his swearing-in ceremony, proudly announced to his compatriots and to the world that, above anything else, his mandate would end the ugly culture of corruption and impunity. He also enjoined all Liberians to contribute to the nation building process.

“IT IS MY BELIEF that the most effective way to directly impact the poor, and to narrow the gap between rich and poor, is to ensure that public resources do not end up in the pockets of Government officials. I further believe that the overwhelming mandate I received from the Liberian people is a mandate to end corruption in public service. I promise to deliver on this mandate. As officials of Government, it is time to put the interest of our people above our own selfish interests. It is time to be honest with our people. Though corruption is a habit amongst our people, we must end it. We must pay civil servants a living wage, so that corruption is not an excuse for taking what is not theirs. Those who do not refrain from enriching themselves at the expense of the people – the law will take its course. I say today that you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” President Weah promised his fellow citizens on that day.

DESPITE THOSE GRANDEUR PROMISES, two years past his inauguration, President Weah is today blaming the failures of his government on the opposition community that he claims doesn’t want to give him ideas to govern, but rather criticize and malign his government.

“THOSE THAT THINK we’re still running a campaign, you on your own – campaign finished. It is time to co-exist. You are not a Unity Party partisan no more. To build this country, we the leaders in the opposition, we joined the government, we worked in the government. Anything we do for you, you crying. So, you tell me what do you want? You cannot be negative and you want progress”, said President Weah last Sunday at a church program.

ACCORDING TO THE Liberian leader, despite his continuous efforts to bring the opposition on board to provide solutions to the nation’s problems, the opposition leadership seems not to be sincere in proffering ideas that would move Liberia forward.

FOR US AT THE ANALYST, we are seriously taken aback by statement from President Weah that if his government fails, the opposition should be blamed.

MR. PRESIDENT, FOR 12 GOOD years you and your people were in the opposition criticizing the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf government. Your Congress for Democratic Change had its youth wings toting caskets, organizing protests and promising a “bitter Liberia” for the Sirleaf regime. The bulk of your criticisms focused on bad governance and corrupt tendencies of the Sirleaf administration and her reluctance to rein in corrupt officials.

TODAY, THE CURRENT OPPOSITION is charging that your government is more entrenched in corruption than even the Sirleaf administration. The opposition is questioning your government’s alleged mismanagement of the US$25 million mop up funds. The opposition is questioning your government’s haphazard handling of the missing billion Liberian dollars.

MR. PRESIDENT, LEST we forget, it was never the opposition that advised your good offices to divert donor funds under a dubious “borrowing initiative” that forced nine ambassadors to write to you demanding your government to immediately replenish the siphoned funds.

WE ARE FULLY cognizant that oppositions the world over are not bedmates of the governing regimes. However, we wish to also sound a paradoxical caveat to the opposition as well. An opposition is a government-in-waiting; expecting to assume power through democratic channels.

IN THIS REGARD, we call on the opposition to remain responsible and focused as they await assumption of state power. We believe, more than anything, that a responsible opposition should equally herald the good tidings of government just as they outline the shortcomings of government.

THE OPPOSITION AND government will not always be in a symbiotic relationship, but they depend on each other for survival. Circumventing this natural law of political integration leaves the land exposed to hawks and fear-mongers.

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