The Importance of Education and Experience - Does George Weah have what it takes?

By Amin Modad


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 6, 2004

Weah Returned Home
In previous articles and rejoinders I have stressed the importance of, now more than ever, critically evaluating the credentials of our Presidential aspirants. Liberia's political environment is fragile as the country is still in the process of emanating from the socio-political and economical destructions caused by the war.

In the past, we were inclined to choose our political leaders on the factors of fear that the war may continue or merely on the prospect that these individuals would use their acquired wealth to develop the country. Well my friends, that is not reality. It is not only ignorant to believe that an individual's financial capacity is the most important factor in determining his or her ability to lead a nation, it is a degenerative mentality we have to get rid of. While it may be true that a wealthy individual is most likely not to engage in rampant corruption, it is not a guarantee. Also, we must understand that a single individual, regardless of how much money he or she has, cannot sustain a country by his or herself. The nation's fiscal budget and GDP is incomparably far greater than anyone's worth, even Mr. George Weah. Though wealth is a plus, let us eradicate this notion that a wealthy individual is the only ideal candidate for the presidency.

Like Mr. Weah and other educated Liberians from a younger generation, I believe that Liberia needs a new breed of leaders uninhibited by the 'old time politics'. Yet, I also believe that education and sapience are key qualities our presidential candidates must possess. To lead a nation, an individual has to not only be above average intelligence but also capable of relating to every issue of the society such as the economy, finance, social development, governance, and even the sciences. A good leader is a good manager who is capable of leading, developing and making critical decisions.

I believe that modern politics, social governance, and international relations have changed drastically, thus we need to elect a well educated and energetic leader who will be capable of honorably leading Liberia in this variable new world in which we have been absent from, due to the war.

Having said these, is Mr. George Weah or any other presidential aspirant who doesn't have the necessary education and experience capable being a President? Certainly not!

I believe that Mr. Weah has shown a great deal of commitment and unselfishness to Liberia; he can do a lot more for his country in other capacities other than the Presidency and still be remembered for his contributions. I believe that if the criteria to being a President exclude the variables of education, wisdom and experience and are based only on good intent and love for one's country, Mr. Weah may be one of the most qualified. But, we cannot exclude these qualities especially now when it is very important that the first post conflict and democratically elected president posses the dynamics to make sound and critical national decisions and initiatives, represent the country and negotiate in the volatile world of international politics, laws, and business; not when it is important that the elected president is capable of equivocally understanding and interpreting the laws and constitution of the country. I would suggest that Mr. Weah and most of these so-called politicians who are not half as qualified as he is, begin their political careers by serving as representatives or senators for their people and respective counties. After gaining sufficient experience to compensate their education and experience or lack there of, they can venture into more challenging territories.

Mr. Weah has implied that he will purchase the brains needed to lead the country. I say to you with kindness and respect- Will You Be Purchasing The Brains Or Selling Your Soul? Mr. Weah The Presidency Is Not A Game Or A Try And Error Process. You may surround yourself with the most educated and wise people (which by the way is good for the country), but ultimately You will have to make the decisions and You will have to take responsibilities of those decisions. How can you make a decision relative to the economy or the banking sector when you don't understand the fundamentals of economics, finance, or business? How can you decide the best strategy to develop the healthcare delivery system when you don't know the first thing about planning and strategizing? How can you decide on making war, vote on international resolutions along with other world leaders, or even develop Liberia's political arena when you don't know anything about either politics (with respect to both the national and international perspectives), international relations, or even history?

How can you decide on how to provide the best educational system for the people when you yourself are limited in that aspect? How can you sell Liberia to the world when you lack the eloquence to be heard? Oh, I forgot! You intend to leave all these responsibilities to your purchased brains! If they will be doing everything, why then would we need you or a president?

Please excuse and forgive me if my words seem to be harsh or apathetic. However, though I sincerely like and respect you for your dedication to your country, it is high time that we became bold and critical for the sake of our country and our future. Have we forgotten the pitfalls of Doe's leadership? Have we forgotten how regardless of his professed good intent and love for his country, his reliance on others caused him to flounder the economy, develop imaginary enemies, and lead the country into dictatorship, tribalism, and anarchy?

I am afraid that the young generation, based on our starvation for change and a new breed of leadership will make the wrong choice come October 2005; you may win the elections due to your popularity. But Mr. Weah, I appeal to you, if you love your country as much as you claim please back down at least for this first postwar elections. We need to understand that it is crucial that we elect a leader who will ensure a democratically genuine and efficient political system; one who is capable of propelling Liberia out of its poor state and reviving the socio-political and economical systems of the country; a leader who will know how to develop and implement strategies and processes that will encourage investors, improve trade and commerce, give jobs to the people, foster self sustainability, reduce the cost of living, improve the health and education systems, and ensure the participation of the people in the development process.

Most of the time we find ourselves concern about the immediate problems and fail to cultivate processes that would ensure a durable future. I had stated before that though President Taylor’s exit was very essential to peace and development, the solution to the Liberian crisis transcends a mere change in leadership. The national problem becomes more complicated because we find our political stage crowded and polluted by dishonest political misfits, social parasites and blind revolutionaries.