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April 12 protest rally (that did not happen) proves the difficulty of removing Sirleaf from office non-violently

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh    Ellen_Johnson_Sirleaf-State_Department_2012-

 

Liberia needs drastic change in political leadership is the overwhelming sentiment of most Liberians residing in and out of the country.

Why? Because living and safety conditions in the country are deplorable. Liberians are suffering, period, and the country is riddled with violence, corruption, hunger and record unemployment.

Sirleaf’s in denial. She manufactures her own definition of words and refuses to accept the true meaning of nepotism, which is “favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics.”

As of this day, she hires her children and immediate relatives in high-level government posts. There is no accountability and transparency in government, even as she shamelessly manipulates and controls the judiciary and electoral process in the country. This is not democracy.

When there is such a profound disenchantment and lack of confidence in a leader’s ability to govern, as is the case with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the right thing to do is for the leader to resign to save the nation.

The problem now is how can a monumental task of removing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from office non-violently be accomplished when there are no credible leaders around to replace her?

At this crucial time, the nation have only spellbinding talkers and opportunistic seasonal politicians – the ones who comes around only during actual elections, than leave to hibernate at home or in foreign countries until the next election season, which is not the way to find the next leader.

The seasonal politicians or wannabe presidential candidates don’t even care to put forward practical policy platforms that tackles or intend to tackle some of the massive problems that plagued the nation; except that the individuals only want to be President of Liberia.

As non-candidates who earned a living in foreign countries as college professors, ministers of the gospel, soccer star, et cetera, the wannabe presidential candidates just refuses to apply their chosen trades in Liberia, once they are on the ground.

Once the individuals are in Liberia, their only dreams are to be President of Liberia as if the office of President is the only job in Liberia where the individual can make a difference to encourage social change.

Removing a president from office requires a capable and visionary replacement. I honestly don’t see a credible, meaningful and inspiring leader in Liberia right now who can replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from day one.

I only see a bunch of survivalist, opportunistic and discredited opposition politicians and their cadre of blood-sucking henchmen whose reasons for being is not about Liberia and the Liberian people, but to suck the last blood out of the country’s meager resources for their own selfish aggrandizement.

That is the problem that continues to affect opposition politics in Liberia.

The current Liberian opposition politicians are not only weak; they are in a state of comatose, which has also affected any serious conversation regarding the replacement of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose arrogance, lack of leadership, and failure to implement genuine institutional change continues to hamper growth and development.

As a shrewd and savvy politician, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is aware of the vacuum in political leadership both in Liberia and abroad among Diaspora Liberian opposition groups.

Can Ellen Johnson Sirleaf be removed from office non-violently in this current political atmosphere of blind ambitions, ineptitude, greed and political corruption and uncertainty before her term expires in 2017?

If Sirleaf is removed from office now, who is there to replace her? George Weah? Lord, have mercy!

It is a tough act, and a million-dollar question that cannot be answered lightly because of the gravity of the problem.

The way to accomplish this feat is not by sheer emotions, meaningless threats of protest rallies, jingoistic sloganeering, and a bombastic display of rhetorical prowess and juvenile antics.

The issue must be approached with seriousness. And whoever is chosen or elected to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must be better than Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The recent brouhaha over the April 12 protest that never took place shows why the Liberian people are not only cynical about the opposition politicians, but also don’t trust the opposition’s ability to lead anything – not even a dog pound.

The aborted protest rally also shows the enormous power and influence of Sirleaf, the presidency, and the difficulty of removing her from office non-violently.

It also shows greed, the obvious lack of honesty, experience and competence on the part of the protest planners, who were interested in publicity and extorting money from the Liberian government than actually trying to advocate political, social and economic change.

According to reports from Monrovia, protest organizers attempted to extort $20,000 from the government of Liberia, or were reportedly paid that amount as a quid pro quo to abandon their directionless and much-publicized protest rally commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the April 12, 1980 coup.

Janjay Gbarkpe, spokesman for the ragtag Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia and its affiliate organization, Grassroot Leadership Network, gave this reason for the cancellation of the planned protest rally.

“We have decided to temporarily suspend our planned peaceful assembly against the government of Liberia for its failure to listen to the cries of thousands of Liberians that are subjected to poverty in the midst of abundant resources,” Gbarkpe said.

Mr. Gbarkpe did not mention the reason or reasons behind the cancellation of the much-hyped April 12 protest rally, and did not even mention the rumor that his group received money from the Liberian government to cancel it.

When opposition leader, George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) (who was mourning the death of his mother during the week of the aborted rally), and reportedly a paid board member of the government-owned National Oil Company, and also a paid Peace Ambassador in the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration, was asked for his views regarding this issue, he gave this vague response.

“I alone cannot stop April 12. It takes everyone in Liberia to do that, and if anyone feels that because I, George Weah is Peace Ambassador so Liberia’s problems are solved, they are in error. We all need to come together and solve our problems.”

True indeed, Mr. Weah, there’s an urgent need to come together to solve our nation’s problem. What’s missing in your comment is an obvious lack of leadership in Monrovia right now, to guide a strategy of peace, security and prosperity. You did not even say why the protest rally was suddenly postponed.

The opposition, however, betrays the Liberian people when their left hands continued to condemn Sirleaf in public for corruption and a lack of leadership, even as their right hands extend forward in private and receives financial payments (bribes) to remain silent and support her failed policies.

How can this President see the Monrovia-based opposition politicians as serious partners she can do political business with when they are always in her handbag hustling for money to survive, instead of pushing for genuine change that seriously transforms the nation and make life better for the Liberian people?

You all remember Sirleaf once referring to the Monrovia-based press as “check book” journalists? That’s what the press and the opposition gets when they lower their professional standards for pennies from a cocky President who cares very little about building institutions and improving the lives of the Liberian people.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is obviously a failed President who is not up to the job. She’s not alone, however. The opposition politicians are right there behind her in that column.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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