JUNE 7, 2019 “SAVE THE STATE” SAGA PRESIDENT’S ROUND-TABLE DIALOGUE “TO SAVE THE STATE”: REFLECTIONS OF A CONSTITUENT, STUDENT OF PUBLIC POLICY & SENIOR CITIZEN-ELDER
By Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
In the Article, “Beware Of Wolves In Sheeps’ Clothing” (The Perspective, November 4, 2017), in response to developing political events/issues of national/international significance concerned with Mr. George Weah, Liberian Foot Ball Legend turned-politician and, now, Candidate for President of Liberia, I wrote that:
“Although I have not met nor did I know young George Weah before or played any role, personally, in the ‘discovery, aiding and promoting’ the young man to his world soccer fame, but as the ‘Senior Pappy’ of the Clan credited with Mr. George Weah’s rise, also, to national/international political fame, I am honored and pleased to be his natural, reasonable supporter”.
Weah’s Political Problems
“Like, almost, all young (and old) and rising politicians, the issues of training, money and related problems are inherent in the political process and that the issues are not unexpected, especially, for the young, given the usual peer pressure, cultural flux and all other critical issues of today’s modern, political world. To many observers, King George Weah’s problem is ‘Weah na no book’ or that Weah lacks book or academic knowledge, while others (I fall in this group) hold that Weah’s major problem is not so much the absence of book knowledge, as such, but:
Firstly, the absence of the requisite political training/experience, the required executive management concerned with the problems of the people or group dynamics and Secondly, the lack of on-ground, in Liberia involvement, experience and knowledge of socio-cultural, economic and political dynamics of “who says and does what to whom, why, where, when, how and the context of these dynamics”.
“In these days of vicious, intensive ‘dog-eat-dog’ world of political competition, it is necessary, indeed mandatory, to gain in-depth knowledge and experience of the political dynamics from bottom to top, not from top to bottom. But, specifically, King George Weah:
- “Sold his ‘Political Soul’ to the political Devil-in-Chief, Mr. Charles Taylor, who is now in prison for 50 years for Political Crimes against Humanity. Apparently, King George Weah does not know Mr. Taylor, the anti-social revolutionary, flamboyant center-stage seeker and ‘play-boy’ political actor whose inordinate greed for power and money took him from here, Liberia, to Sierra Leone for diamonds, riches, the International Criminal Court and you know the rest – to prison.
- “Surrounds himself by graduates of the civil war – child soldiers, and elements that looted, destroyed, killed indiscriminately and some human rights violators, now the major source of high crimes and disobedience of law. King GeorgeWeah has already announced that there will be no human right court in Liberia during CDC administration.
- “One of Mr. Weah’s major problems is that he knows not those who are his friends or Although he lost his political bid twice to Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but he is now playing ball with her, and the sly-fox manipulator is now bank-rolling him in return for protection from prosecution for alleged war crimes. Meanwhile, Mr. Charles Taylor’s ex-wife snoozed him (Weah) to become his Vice Standard Bearer while, also, she is in touch with US officials for release of Mr. Taylor. Mr. George Weah may not be around, politically, when Taylor comes home, takes command and becomes the Vice’s husband, again!!
- “ Weah is now Prince Johnson’s endorsed candidate for President of Liberia. He (PYJ) took Candidate Weah to the politically-famous Nigerian Pastor in Lagos a few days ago for Devine endorsement/intervention. Then there are thousands of the usual sycophants who are or want to cash in on Weah’ popularity. Some know about Mr. Weah’s political short-comings, but are willing to go along for the ride, and benefits.
- “And finally, King George Weah’s soccer popularity is not transferrable to political popularity without the required executive political management capability which he does not possess, nor any of his Rebel Aides. But, in any case, we are available for consultation/advice, because Weah must NOT fail, for obvious reasons!!
The June 7, 2019 Saga
The results of the events of the past few days provided and demonstrated the unfortunate truth and validity of the foregoing write-up about His Excellency, President George Weah and his officials/confidantes. It is, really, unfortunate that we have to come face-to-face with this reality.
But there is no need to repeat successive, Liberian, Ruling Groups’ recorded history of disrespect, disregard and disobedience of Law, miserable dishonesty and moral degeneracy, all wrapped up tightly and deeply-rooted in Political Tyranny, since July 1847. This record of Liberia’s sordid history is available on written and electronic media with truth, posterity, clarity and emphasis, in support of our analysis as examples.
Firstly, today in the history of Liberia the latest regime of Liberian Rulers, represented by the-then President, was presented the highest Award as the most Corrupt Government worldwide by the National/International Economic & Financial Management Experts in a comparative worldwide Analysis, although the-then current President was “billed as Harvard-trained Economist”. This former President declared that “corruption is no.1 public enemy of the Liberia”, but declared inability to innovate economic rehabilitation.
And Secondly, just who are the Elected Leaders and appointed officials of the immediate past and current Ruling Groups?
In the light of the facts of history of Liberia’s turbulent past, recent past history and the present- prevailing decadent socio-economic and political activities of Liberian Ruling Groups’ answers to this question are and will be critical and crucial. For, integrity, creditability, transparency, accountability, training/experience and commitment to the rule of law are axiomatic expectations/requirements of the individual, organization (public or private) particularly, government, as in this case. The Relevant, leading members of the current CDC Government are led by the President of Liberia, His Excellency, George M. Weah:
- According to public record, Mr. Weah was elected President of Liberia on October 10, 2017 and inaugurated as President on January 20, 2018. But President Weah is citizen of two foreign countries, a violation of Liberian Law by a sitting President. As President, Mr. Weah flirted with and became close friend of a flamboyant, playboy politician, the former President of Liberia, Mr. Charles M. Taylor, the most political criminal serving a 50-year sentence in prison for political crimes against humanity. Mr. Weah, as candidate, selected Jewel Howard-Taylor, estranged wife of the former President as running mate/Vice President on his CDC political Party ticket. Mrs. Taylor is, now, Liberia’s Vice President while, simultaneously, Flag Bearer of the notorious National Patriotic Party of massive human rights violations and corruption.
- President Weah vowed, publicly, that there will be no War Crime Tribunal in Liberia, a solemn commitment to the prevailing “culture of impunity”, official protection of the civil war suspects from prosecution, a deeply-troubling statement. Moreover, the President’s public refusal to declare his assets is violation of and disobedience to law and, also, his reluctance-refusal to demand loyalists in high government positions declare assets say volumes to the people that public service is an opportunity to steal public resources, especially, at this time when he (the President) and associates are actively-engaged in massive acquisition of wealth.
- President Weah has been, and is, in close, troubling alliance with some of the most deadly perpetrators of human rights violations – rapes, maiming, beatings, arrests, ethnic cleansing, massacres, and above all, summary executions without trial of innocent men, women and children. In a public outburst, an apparent retaliation to criticism by Liberian academics/intellectuals, the so-called “political progressives, the President said that “if you know book and you have no house or bicycle you are stupid”. In this context, that statement translates to if you are an academic/intellectual and former or present employee of government but own no property, then you must be or that you are a fool, because public service is opportunity to acquire or amass wealth by stealing public resources.
- The Government of President Weah is a different political party from all others, though not ideologically and, therefore, dominated by loyalists of the former President, major war crimes suspects, including war front generals, executioners and related crime suspects
This Agency of government was formerly the Ministry of Finance charged with responsibility only for Fiscal Affairs and known, historically, with its former section or division of the Revenue Agency, as the nation’s centers for get-rich-quick schemes of graft/greed or the gurus of Liberian government stealing of public resources. Almost all wealthy land and related property owners of Mamba Point and new suburbs of Sinkor and elsewhere were executives or employees of the Ministry of Finance or the Revenue Agency. The Ministry of Finance is, now, the Super Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MF&DP) and the Revenue Agency has, now, become Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA). The leading Minister of State for Finance & Development Planning (MF&DP) is Honorable Samuel D. Tweah:
- As Minister of State for Finance & Development Planning, Honorable Samuel Tweah was appointed by President Weah as Chairman of the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT), in association of economic management cooperation/coordination with the Central Bank of Liberia for implementation of Government’s Mop-Up Exercise designed to buy out Liberian-dollar banknotes in excess circulation with 25 million US dollars.But according to national/international investigation conducted and reports by Kroll Associates, Inc. and Liberia’s Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), TEMT, chaired by Minister Samuel Tweah, was found guilty of avoiding organized commercial banks and licensed foreign-exchange traders and not using accepted/acceptable “best practices” to achieve best results
- Consequently, the Liberian people are up in arms, including, almost, all political parties and calling for the arrest and dismissal of the Minister of state for Finance & Development Planning, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah. The Politicians threaten a national protest demonstration.
- The MF&DP and LRA are over-staffed, over-paid and dominated by dual citizens who do not live in Liberia, with families living, permanently, in the foreign countries. They travel periodically to these countries in which they maintain fabulous bank accounts with money “earned” in Liberia, transferred regularly out of Liberia. They are paid 6-figured salaries and salary/wage allowances for housing, portable electricity generators and service, top-of-the-line, late model automobiles, local travel expense, telephone scratch cards, reported insurance coverage, newspaper allowance, etc., although they plan and develop nothing
- The MF&DP is known widely to retain and pay itself huge sums from social, economic funds allocations for the counties; pay out huge sums to non-existent “educational” institutions; and huge sums as business/development loans to politically-connected, ineligible entities. The “Loans” have, now, become uncollectible.
The Honorable Nathaniel R. Patray, III, is Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL). He was appointed Vice Chairman of the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) for cooperation/coordination with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for implementation of the Mop-Up exercise:
- According investigation and reports by national/international agencies, TEMT was found guilty of unsuitable management practices in the use of US $25 million in implementation of the Mop-Up exercise. Therefore, Liberian political parties threaten national protest demonstrations with demand, also, for the arrest and dismissal of Honorable Nathaniel Patray, III. Together, Central Bank of Liberia and the Ministry of Finance, have legal responsibility for Fiscal/Monetary Affairs of Liberia. In other words, the prevailing Fiscal/Monetary, macroeconomic paralysis is, and must be, laid at the feet of the CBL and Ministry of Finance. Both the MF&DP and CBL were found guilty of avoiding organized commercial banks and licensed foreign-exchange traders or not using accepted/acceptable “best practices” to achieve best results. It is very important, indeed mandatory, that we note that the conditions of 18-20 years ago continue and repeated/prevailing today.
In our reaction to the printing of the huge, but undisclosed quantity of Liberian “Liberty” Banknotes, placing them in circulation and the withdrawal of highly-mutilated “JJ” banknotes some 18 years ago we wrote an article, “Now That We Printed New Liberian Banknotes, dated June 2001, from the “comfort” of former President Taylor’s Monrovia Central Prison (Political Cell Block #1) on macroeconomic analysis with emphasis on:
Liberia’s foreign exchange rate regime; circulation of another country’s national currency in tandem with one’s own, the negative economic impact; arbitrary equivalence of foreign exchange rates based not on the interaction of market forces of supply/demand; basic economic reasons for depreciation of foreign exchange rates; the absence in Liberia of planned, developed industries for production of goods & services for local consumption to discourage Liberia’s dangerous, excessive dependence on imports and encourage export trade to reduce Liberia’s balance of trade deficit; and improve Liberia’s terms of trade; pay keen attention to and improve investment incentives and regulatory activities to attract direct foreign investment; and many others.
We sent a copy of our Paper to the Central Bank of Liberia. A response from the CBL Analyst, a Mr. Nathaniel R. Patray, III, dismissed the Paper as “Academic Exercise”. That Analyst is the Executive Governor of the CBL today and faces the same problems of some 18 years ago.
Not only that past turbulent, deadly facts of history of Liberian Government and Governance are clear, comprehensive and validated records by many world-class historians and novelists that need no repetitive citation here but the most recent past 25-30 years of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-sponsored civil war of destruction, population displacement as refugees, human suffering and death of quarter of a million Liberians, and the unprecedented high level of graft/greed or corruption that question the integrity, credibility and transparency of the proposed pro-Poor Agenda.
Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Regime
Billed as “democratically-elected, first female head-of State on the African Continent, but her Government secured political power by the most undemocratic methods – the overthrow, by force of arms, of a legitimate government and the gruesome live-torture and murder of the President by insurgents sponsored and led by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia (ACDL).
During the period of the past few days leading to the day and date planed for presentation of the Petition, the Liberian Government had been engaged in threats of arrest, detention and prosecution of citizens with plans or suspected to take part in the assembly for presentation of the Petition, an attempt to muscle and prevent the presentation the grievances. The internet and related social media outlets were closed by government.
The committed/dedicated, un-armed peaceful citizens, brave with the political will and characteristic African “guts”, though faced with threats of modern weapons of mass destruction, converged, peacefully, upon the Capitol Building to present their Petition of grievances, as agreed on June 7, 2019.
But the expectations of the peaceful petitioners met great disappointment, because the Liberian Government failed to appear as agreed; and that the President of Liberia’s designated Representative, the Vice President of Liberia, the elected official of government, to receive the Petition of grievances on behalf of government, failed and refused to appear, did not show up.
Regarding President’s Call Roundtable Dialogue
Review of the President’s invitation for dialogue to revive the nation’s Economy raises several troubling, unanswered questions, in the light of Government activities. For example, the President’s invitation proceeds from a false premise that “our democracy has been tried, tested and has proven to be mature, resilient and strong”.
This approach is a game of Circular Decisions in which there are no final decisive solutions found and made. After the widely-publicized and well-attended meeting of widely-discussed national issue, a Presidential Commission, Special Task Force, Team, or Committee is appointed behind closed doors, consisting, mainly, of corrupt and unqualified confidants of the Presidents and that is the end. The appointed members begin engagement in maneuvers to enrich themselves by stealing, and stealing of public resources. For, the President Weah, himself had said, recently, that “if you work for government but own no home, bicycle, etc., then you are stupid”. The implication is obvious!
The IMF, the International Monetary Fund just told His Excellency, George Weah that government Payroll costs are too high and must be slashed. Indeed, this is where its at!!
About ECOWAS, AU, UN Officials
A word about the recent wave of ECOWAS, African Union and the UN officials in Liberia. Some of these Diplomatic Honorable(s) hiding behind “doctor this and doctor that” are corrupt, thieves and liars looking for a fast, US greenbac in collusion with Liberian corrupt officials. Examples are ECOMOG, ECOWAS and UN Peace Keepers who stole Liberia blind!!
Just talk to the Honorable Thabo Mbeke, Former President of South Africa and the Honorable Former President of The Gambia about the Human suffering, Destruction and Death in La Cote d’Ivoire during the presidential elections that brought Allasane Ouattara in power.
Lastly, there is No Doubt
That the Current President and his appointed officials of Government are aware, we are more than sure, that the days of a Single Political Party-State and Political Tyranny dominated by a very few, lawless single social, cultural class are long-gone, particularly, when former President Taylor and his ACDL-sponsored insurgent-regime of “Jungle Justice” was driven into exile by organized Pro-Democracy Fighters in support of the legitimate government. Apparently, the vigilant watchful eyes of these Pro-Democracy Fighters organized in the tradition of the Partisans who aided the Allies against Nazi Germany during WW2, helped to create the Ghana Peace Pact, bring about the now-famous Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and kept the Civil warmongers-rulers in check.
Among the peaceful petitioners, the multitude of citizens who converged upon the Capitol Building on June 7, 2019 were some of the Pro-Democracy Fighters, let us not forget!!