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‘Senator’ George Weah? Can he deliver in the Liberian senate?

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

Since he failed to win the Liberian presidency on two occasions, some are urging George Weah, the former football star-turned-politician to run for the Liberian senate, as if the Senate is the only place where Weah can do a better job to further his vision for the country.

Interestingly enough, the same people who are urging George Weah to run for the Liberian senate, seems to be the same ones who are also pushing the names of Kofi Woods, John Morlu, Augustine Ngafuan, etc, etc, to run for president in 2017.

With the presidential election a good four years away, supporters of the various individuals are aggressively pushing their favorite candidate’s names into our consciousness, so that when the day of the actual campaign and election comes, Liberians will then know who to watch and vote for during the next presidential campaign and election.

Is it any surprise that the Liberian people don’t know a thing about the individuals whose names are being thrown around as potential presidential candidates? From the political history of Liberia, Liberians are known to ‘worship’ or blindly support and follow personalities; and not known to seriously engage and scrutinize those that wants to lead the country, from a neutral and independent perspective.

As those names are being thrown around, the only thing the individuals are known for today are by their current and former government titles and academic credentials. Nothing else, nada, zero evidence of anything other then their academic credentials, and their present and former employment with the government of Liberia, and elsewhere.

However, like George Weah, who failed twice to reach the presidential finished line because of incompetence, his inability to grasp the intricacies of modern day Liberian politics, and also does not have an in depth knowledge of politics in general to be a viable alternative to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the potential presidential candidates (that’s if they ever decides to run) have not demonstrated why the Liberian people should elect them to the highest political office of the land, which is another article for another day and time.

From domestic policy to foreign policy, however, Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change political party are clueless and vague about which direction they want to take the country.

And when a member of the CDC or Weah is questioned about their party’s vision for the country, they offer platitudes, which reinforces the ever-present perception that George Weah is unprepared to be President of Liberia.

So if Weah, as a national party leader and former presidential candidate failed to lead his party by articulating its vision and ideals; and also failed over the years to proudly show his party’s legislative achievements (if there are any to show), where is the proof that George ‘Oppong’ Manneh Weah will be effective once he’s elected to the Liberian senate?

Are the Weah supporters and supporters of the other individuals whose names are being thrown around, are saying that a person can only make a difference in his or her country and people’s lives, only when the individual is elected President of Liberia?

The pressing question now is, if Weah, whose Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) supposedly is the largest political party of the land, and supposedly has a clear majority in the national legislature, then why is it that the CDC is struggling to make an impressive mark on the national political landscape?

Why is it that the CDC hasn’t put forward a comprehensive public policy initiative to change lives, and to also change the direction of the country, and the national debate? And why is it that the party’s legislative members have not enacted sensible legislations that could make a difference in the lives of the Liberian people?

Instead, the CDC continues to dominate the national headlines for all the wrong reasons, while its most ardent and violent members are dead set on blindly supporting their party by beating, firebombing and inflicting injuries on anyone who criticizes their “First Partisan,” George Manneh Weah.

Had I lived in Liberia today, I probably would be targeted and physically assaulted or firebombed for this piece. It is also obvious that other independent opinion writers who strives to take on the CDC and its leadership would  also be attacked as well.

While it is true that Weah’s CDC is not the only group to advance it objectives in a twisted and violent way, appointed government officials and elected officials are also known to jail, physically assault and inflict injuries on journalists for writing critically about them.

This behavior seems to resemble the violent political culture in Liberia, and also resembles the party’s standard operating procedure (SOP), which thrives on violence and scare tactic intended to keep opinion writers in line, which helps to shield George Weah and others from public scrutiny.

Nurturing and sustaining democracy is not about blindly worshiping personalities to just fill a position of power. It is about building lasting and functioning institutions, enacting and upholding good laws, and stressing accountability and the rule of law to move the country in the right direction.

If George Weah is ineffective as a former presidential candidate and party leader, will he be effective in the Liberian senate? I doubt it seriously!


Category: Editorial, Featured Articles, News Headlines

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