“They’ve Weaponized Professionals, Youths into Sycophants” -AMK Blasts Weah Government

MONROVIA – Having left Liberia six years ago after resigning from the nation’s topmost fiscal management institution to seek employment within the corridors of the global financial management circuits, former Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh returned home last Sunday to a tumultuous welcome and immediately declared his intention to participate in the 2023 presidential and general elections as a senatorial candidate either for his home county, Gbarpolu or Montserrado. But for anyone who had expected the technocrat-turned-politician to tone down his criticism of the ruling establishment that he admittedly helped to bring to power, Amara Konneh is riding shotgun in town, blasting the power brokers for reducing politics to a zero sum game in which the governors strive to crush their political opponents, and deny others opportunities to aspire for better living conditions.

“Today, politics in Liberia has become a zero-sum game: ‘you win, and you’ve made it, you lose, and you get crushed.’ Those now in power in Liberia have denied others opportunities. They have taken away their dignity and weaponized professionals and young people into sycophants. This partly explains why institutions aren’t working optimally, and things are not going well for the regime,” Mr. Konneh blasted last Monday when he visited the CIEO, a local political storming ground on Carey Street in Central Monrovia to engage ordinary Librarians through personal storytelling.

Regaling the youthful gathering of political pundits, students and ordinary Liberians about his humble beginnings and the path he chose to reach the level of success in his professional life, Konneh acknowledged being a poor village kid who tasted poverty at an early age.

“I am a village kid who, like most of them, grew up in poverty. My path out of it was education – a solid one, too – through hard work. My leadership signatures are humility, empathy, inclusion – attracting talents beyond politics, tribe, and religion – and calling others to action to get things done. That’s what I did when I served as Minister of Finance in the last administration. I recruited the best, some from opposition political parties, including the Congress for Democratic Change, and we were able to give life to moribund institutions to get things working again after our protracted conflict that destroyed everything.

It can be recalled that Mr. Konneh upon arrival in Monrovia last Sunday informed the press that he was back home to make his contribution to his native land through a political participatory process that will change the lives of the citizens for the better.

“You should ask yourself if you are better off now than you were five years ago. We did what we could do and the records are there for you to see. We brought in foreign direct investment, opened up the economy, built infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals, etc. We need the people with the expertise and experience to develop this country. So, I will depend on you for your service but for now I can tell you I am back for good and for service”, AMK, as the former Finance Minister is popularly called, said amid wild cheers and jubilation from the hundreds who turned out to welcome him.

A day to his arrival, Konneh took to his social media handle and penned down about his return and what he intends to do while in the country in addition to his political pursuit.

“Six years ago, I decided to step outside the Government and gain a new perspective. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) called, offering a visiting fellowship to share my experience with their students and participate in its marquee Sloan Fellows Program. I declined and took an opportunity with the World Bank instead.

“It was the right choice for that time.  I had served Liberia for a decade as it plowed through post-conflict reconstruction and then fought off Ebola. In my new role, I managed the World Bank’s engagements in the world’s most fragile economies, based in Nairobi. I later transferred to DC to lead the Bank’s partnerships with Africa’s eight regional economic commissions

“And now, I have decided to return to Liberia today, the country I love. With several professional options on the table, I aim to continue my constructive participation in nation-building, along with other stakeholders. While we will focus on the private sector, particularly agriculture, I will also contribute to governance through knowledge work and service. I also look forward to teaching (my first love) at one of the nation’s universities if given the opportunity. Most of all, I look forward to working with all of my fellow Liberian citizens on this new journey – and to meeting my friends, former colleagues, and teammates on the Alpha Old Timers’ field,” AMK stated effusively.

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