Is the President Weak and Unwise?

By Dr. Isaac P. Podah

There are mixed reactions and views on the President’s actions and reactions to post-inaugural situations (the protest of the “wives of the Arm Forces of Liberia” and the slowness in the appointment process).  Many callers on radio talk show programs and discussants at intellectual centres have labelled the president feeble and unwise.

As I monitored and listened to callers on radio talk show programs and discussants at intellectual centres, a few questions began to resonate and beg for answers. The questions include: What are the president’s actions and reactions? What are the mixed reactions and views on the President’s actions and reactions? Is the president weak and unwise due to his actions and reactions to prevailing situations? Careful and logical analysis of objective answers to these questions is beneficial to current discourse and the peace and stability of our country.

What are the President’s Actions and Reactions?

Some contemporary political intellectuals believe that since his inauguration on 22nd January 2024, the President has not appointed or nominated up to 150 government officials, given the thousands of political appointments needed to complete his government.  Further, his appointment has been characterized by the withdrawal of names already nominated, swapping a nominee from the Justice Ministry to the Labor Ministry, and protests from the wives of the military’s officers against the appointment of General Prince C. Johnson as the Minister of Defense. In reaction to the protest, the President did not withdraw the name of General Prince C. Johnson or swap him to another position but immediately and positively responded to some of the protesters’ demands and promised to investigate and resolve the remaining issues. The protesters refused to adhere to the president. As such, the president accepted a resignation letter from the nominated and confirmed General, who reasoned that the protest against his new position threatened national security. Hence, his resignation was the best way out for the peace and stability of our country. The president further instituted a committee to investigate the claims and grievances of the protesters.

What are the Mixed Reactions and Views on the President’s Action and Reaction?

In response to the president’s actions and reactions mentioned above, many think that given the campaign promises (“as an experienced vice president, I am well knowledgeable of the conditions and situations of the Liberian people”, “I will hit the ground running if elected as president”, 100-day deliverables, etc..,) the president is proceeding at a very slow pace. This could affect the timely and successful implementation of the 100-day deliverables and make the rescuer mission a failure. Further, the withdrawal of names and the acceptance of General Johnson’s resignation letter shows that the president is weak and does not know what he is doing. Hence, he is a weak and unwise president.

Is the President Weak and Unwise Based on his Actions and Reactions to Prevailing Situations?

The President’s actions and reactions to post-inaugural situations, particularly the protest by the “wives of the Armed Forces of Liberia,” the perceived slowness in the appointment process, and the acceptance of General Johnson’s resignation, have sparked reactions and views.

Honestly, the appointment process has been marred by slowness, the withdrawal of already-nominated names, and the swapping of a nominee between ministries, and protests. In the minds of some political philosophers, such actions can create uncertainty and instability within government institutions and erode public confidence in the administration’s decision-making process. On the other hand, some political intellectuals or commentators believe that the wives of the AFL and, in general, the entire AFL were very disrespectful to the president and insensitive to the plight of the very Liberian people they took oaths to protect on the ground that the President pleaded and pledged to investigate and address the protesters’ grievances. Despite the President’s promises to address their concerns, the protesters remained adamant, refusing to adhere to the President’s assurances.

Further, the assertion that the President is weak and unwise based on his actions and reactions to prevailing situations in the country is not only unfounded but also unjustified. A careful examination of the President’s decisions and responses reveals a leader who is wise, strong, and well-experienced in national leadership. Here are compelling rational, and professional justifications supporting this stance:

Deliberate and Considered Decision-Making: The President’s approach to the appointment process demonstrates a commitment to thoroughness and due diligence. Rather than rushing through appointments, the President has taken the time to carefully vet candidates to ensure competence and integrity in government positions. This deliberate approach is not a sign of weakness but rather a responsible exercise of executive discretion.

Adaptability and Flexibility in Response to Challenges: The President’s willingness to withdraw names for political appointments and accept General Johnson’s resignation showcases adaptability and flexibility in response to evolving circumstances. A strong leader recognizes when adjustments are necessary and takes decisive action to address challenges effectively. This adaptability demonstrates strategic acumen and the ability to navigate complex situations with agility.

Prioritization of National Security and Stability: Accepting General Johnson’s resignation in the face of protests from the military’s officers’ wives underscores the President’s commitment to prioritizing national security and stability. Rather than risking unrest within the armed forces, the President acted decisively to preserve peace and cohesion. This demonstrates not weakness but rather strength of character and a firm commitment to the nation’s welfare.

Engagement with Civil Society and Accountability Mechanisms: Establishing a committee to investigate the protesters’ claims reflects the President’s commitment to engaging with civil society and upholding accountability. By addressing grievances through a transparent and impartial process, the President demonstrates respect for democratic principles and the rule of law. This proactive approach to governance enhances public trust and confidence in the President’s ability to address citizens’ concerns.

Long-Term Vision and Strategic Planning: While some may criticize the perceived slowness in implementing campaign promises, it’s essential to recognize that sustainable change requires careful planning and strategic foresight. The President’s actions may focus on long-term goals rather than short-term gains. This strategic approach to governance indicates wisdom and prudence rather than weakness or incompetence.

In conclusion, the President’s actions and reactions to prevailing situations in the country do not support the assertion that he is weak and unwise. On the contrary, the President’s decisions demonstrate strength of character, strategic leadership, and a commitment to upholding national interests. By engaging with challenges thoughtfully and responsibly, the President exemplifies the qualities of a wise and capable leader.

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