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Extend vocal opposition and criticism to all corrupt and ineffective political leaders in Liberia; not just Ellen

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh         Ellen_Johnson_Sirleaf-State_Department_2012-


Four equally important eye-catching events occurred in Liberia and the U.S., in the months of August and September of this year that got my attention.

They are: Sea erosion near New Kru Town (Porpor Beach) that left 2,000 Liberians homeless. Twenty-five thousand Liberian students failed the University of Liberia’s entrance examination, the resignation of Robert Sirleaf, son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, formerly CEO of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), and the rise of MOLAC, the anti-corruption activist group that has constantly demonstrated against Liberian government officials visiting the United States.

Interestingly enough, all of these incidents occurred on President Sirleaf’s watch.

Had Liberia actually been a genuine democratic republic with an educated electorate and a responsible legislative branch, there would be calls right now for legislative hearings to know what really happened to possibly hold people accountable.

When that happens people are fired, and there are calls for Sirleaf to resign for her poor handling of the erosion crisis, the mass failings of students during the entrance examination, and the hiring of her sons to head such lucrative and influential positions.

Remember, son Charles Sirleaf, is deputy at the Central Bank of Liberia; Fumba Sirleaf heads the National Security Agency, and other family members of the president are scattered in lucrative and sensitive sections of the Liberian government.

However, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf claims the hiring of her sons and other family members is not nepotism. If the hiring of her sons and other family members is not nepotism, I swear, I will drink Lysol or Sassywood to prove her wrong.

Right now, however, Madam Sirleaf is off the hook; and there is no accountability and transparency in government, because Liberians either don’t care or bought the story that “the old ma is trying her best, so leave her alone” as if doing her best is the most she can offer the Liberian people in these trying times.

Even though Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the highest political leader in Liberia right now who is often criticized for all things bad in that country, other leaders beneath her in the legislature and also in the judiciary and the various ministries, are equally as corrupt and inefficient in carrying out their official duties.

As activists, it seems we are only vocal when the name of the person in our bulls-eye is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The question now is are we selective in our incendiary condemnation of Madam Sirleaf and the Sirleaf administration, but look the other way when our family, our beloved friends/former classmates, “Bo” or “comrades” from the University of Liberia, or from our activist days occupies cabinet/legislative positions?

However, in spite of their (our) individual flaws – because we all have our own – real or imaginary skeletons in our closets that require a magnifying glass to dissect, it is amazing to see courage when there is one, in the face of mounting reactionary opposition from opportunistic agents of the ruling political class.

Indeed, as we have seen in the course of these few months, the group, MOLAC, has held its own grounds to get the message out regarding rampant corruption and the obvious lack of leadership in the Sirleaf administration, at a time when there is outright silence from other activist groups in the Diaspora.

Even though MOLAC (Movement of Liberians Against Corruption) recently picked up the baton and raised the much-needed alarm on the Sirleaf administration at a time when we needed them most, let it be crystal clear that MOLAC did not invent grass roots’ activist politics, and does not have a monopoly on progressive activism either against the current government, future government or against past Liberian governments.

From what I know, activist groups in every sphere in the past and present – from organized groups, progressive individuals on the listserv (Internet), to opinion/editorial writers worked hard to mount pressure on past administrations; and also on the Sirleaf administration to change the way they govern Liberia.

This is and has been a collective effort carried out by patriotic Liberians who wants to see their country or ancestral home liberated from the cold, corrupt and blood-dripping hands of dictatorial pirates masquerading as democratic leaders.

Now that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has shown a broad spectrum of the world her lack of leadership and ineptitude for the way she has badly governed Liberia, made her predecessors, Tubman, Tolbert, Doe and Taylor (in death and in prison) to look remarkably presidential and better leaders at home and abroad.

As public opposition from MOLAC and others mount on the Sirleaf administration, unnecessary distractions from reactionary administration agents seemed to be on the rise. On the rise also are visiting government officials who are making ubiquitous public relations rounds that paints Madam Sirleaf as angelic and effective, even though the price of a bag of rice, the nation’s staple, has risen from $50.00 to $75.00; at a time when most Liberians are being paid in Liberty Liberian dollars, and are also being told that their national currency is the worthless “Liberty.”

The battle to get rid of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Sirleaf clan non-violently continues, and the imposition of a stooge or Ellenite as heir apparent on the Liberian people at the end of Ellen’s term in 2017, should not and will not be accepted under the sun.

However, political activists have enough reasons to oppose a bad government, in this case, the current Liberian government.

When opposition politics turns into selective opposition because of natural hatred of a political leader, can turn me off. That’s because I am opposed to and am not interested in selective criticism of political leaders. When leaders are corrupt, ineffective and insensitive, those bad leaders (including friends, political partisans and family members) must be condemned, ridiculed and removed from office.

In the past and present, some political activists are only bent on criticizing the leadership in Liberia and personalities who are not their friends and family members. These activists will quickly wine and dine with their friends and family members who are traveling government officials, and are reticent when those individuals hold influential political posts in Liberia. This is wrong. This is opportunism. This is cherry picking.

This is not the way to go!

MOLAC or any activist/opposition group will quickly loose my support if the leadership turns into an only Ellen-bashing group. Our vocal opposition should not only be against Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but also against any elected and appointed leader who violates the trusts of the Liberian people.



Category: Editorial, Featured Articles, News Headlines

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