By Kolec Jessey, CPA
President Sirleaf anger directed at the press and critics who have accused her government for corruption, nepotism and muzzling of the press through the kangaroo court system is misdirected and thoughtless. Her anger clearly demonstrate a President that is out of touch and live in a bubble surrounded by her network of cronies and family members in her government.
The President while commissioning her newly appointed and recycled government officials lashed out at her critics and the press admonishing them that they were “assuming public service and responsibility in a difficult political environment one when those who wrongly accuse, defame and attack you become the victors; when you adhere to the principles of your upbringing and your faith, you become a victim of blackmail and extortion; when hustlers become heroes through poisonous pens; when you refuse to join the clamor of rumor mongering and lies, your silence is mistaken as weakness to be exploited. In such circumstances, she urged them “to continue to stand firm and strong.”
Really, Madame President? That those who have stood up to you to criticize the performance of your government are extortionists and hustlers is laughable. Your lack of leadership especially in the fight against corruption is stunning. If anyone had told me few years ago that your leadership would be a total disaster I would have told them they were mistaken since I was a sympathizer who truly believes in your leadership to the extent that I contributed $100 to your first campaign for president.
Now, I will tell you who are the real extortionists and hustlers. They are the sons and daughters of your political friends and cronies who you brought from the United States and appointed to government positions with astronomical salaries per month while hospitals go empty without medicines. The real hustlers are your cronies who despite living in the United States have no professional skills and experiences yet you appointed them to high positions in government with excessive salaries and yet schools go empty without teachers and instructional materials. It must be pointed out that these officials were not making that kind of salaries while working in the United States yet you find it fitting to pay them these exorbitant salaries in the face of extreme poverty. These are the real extortionists and hustlers not Rodney Sieh or member of the press and your critics who have accused your government of widespread corruption.
To say that somebody like Chris Toe was wrongly accused, defamed and attacked by the media as you are suggesting when in fact the reporting by Frontpageafrica and other media outlets was based on your own General Auditing Commission (GAC) audit findings just demonstrate your lack of moral courage to go after the corrupt officials you have imported from the United States. If you really think that officials like Chris Toe were falsely accused and defamed, why not have them have their days in court? Even if you bribe the jurors as was the case with Mr. Sieh at least we know they had their days in court to clear their names.
Only in Liberia in which government officials who made out like bandits do not change their charcoal pinstripe suits for prison jumpsuits rather roam the streets of Monrovia and fly back and forth from the United States with their ill-conceived wealth. Of course, they have the president protecting them by venting her anger at people who dare to challenge and expose the pervasive corruption.
Look Madam President, when Transparency International (TI) ranked your government as one of the most corrupt governments on earth you need to take a look at yourself and do some soul searching instead of name calling honest people extortionists and hustlers. Your anger and utterance directed at your critics is injudicious and suggest that you live in an alternative universe.
It is unfortunate that we have not learned from the cause of the civil war in Liberia and we have now gone back to our old ways. The root cause of our civil was corruption because when government officials embezzled money and are not held accountable as the case is now it fosters resentment among the people which leads to civil strife since they are dispossessed.
As Transparency International correctly put it “corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water. It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or health-care. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilize societies and exacerbate violent conflicts.”
You see Madame President, you have to realized that when the average Liberian look at the lifestyle of your government officials living in luxurious homes and riding expensive cars, and they see you trotting the global with three bundles of lapper on your left shoulders relative to their impoverished situations they soon come to the conclusion that they have no stake in the society. And that the only way to make things equal is through the barrel of the guns. I just hope against hope that the anger, resentment and despair do not turn into another cycles of deaths and destructions.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.