By Charles Russell
The then Montserrado County Senator who was elected and refused to take her seat in the senate, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf referred to President Samuel K. Doe as an “idiot.” According to the free encyclopedia, the word “idiot” is defined as an “intellectually disable person or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive.” Her attack on the Head of State led to her imprisonment and it was through the efforts of many advocacy groups and international organizations that she was released from prison. In my joyous mood upon her released, I voluntarily drove her for a week in Monrovia. Moreover, it was the United People’s Party (UPP), headed by the late G. Baccus Matthews, well organized Staff Aides (security) that provided her full protection headed by this writer.
The then “Iron Lady” was greatly admired for advocating for a government of transparency and accountability under the corrupt and dictatorial regime of Samuel K. Doe. I believe the utterance of such descriptive adjective “Idiot,” was due to the poor performance of a failed government headed by President Samuel K. Doe. His administration was replete with counterproductive elements who spearheaded mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, suppressing freedom of speech and freedom of the press, ethnicity and the abused of power. Nevertheless, we had a good transportation system along with safe running water and electricity.
Since the dethronement of Samuel K. Doe on September 9, 1990, Liberia has had many rulers categorized by tidal wave of corruption that continues to drown the masses of our people into abject poverty. When the progressives’ so-called “Iron Lady” made a bold and decisive decision to surface for the second time to make a run for the presidency, many Liberians saw the light at the end of the tunnel and were hopeful that change for a better life was emerging at a fast speed with a “Harvard trained economist.”
Moreover, days of an “Idiot” to lead the people of Liberia would have come to an end by combating corruption as an indicator of commitment to good governance. Ten years later into the presidency of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, corruption, mismanagement and nepotism now permeate all level of her administration. Notwithstanding, the ordinary citizens are severely suffering the rampant neglect of basic government services, while officials are luxuriously living above their high incomes and benefits.
With the government poor health care system, the ordinary citizens who cannot afford the high cost for private medical treatments in Liberia live in unnecessary frustration, hopelessness, die of preventable diseases, while Madam President along with her relatives, friends and officials of her administration seek medical treatment out of Liberia for diarrhea.
From all indications, the Unity Party Government led by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has shown over nine years no desire to institute pragmatic solutions in dealing with corrupt officials.
Any attempt by the failed Unity Party to field a presidential candidate in 2017 will inevitably see the ruling party gravitationally cruising to an unenviable defeat. This is due to the incompetence of Unity Party government which has woefully failed to provide quality education, employment, good health care system, quality transportation system, safe drinking running water, electricity, quality public toilets, transparency and accountability.
The legislature is one of the institutions that supposed to serve the people of Liberia giving the fact that legislators are elected to represent the interest of the people. The reckless and incompetent behaviors being exhibited by this body of men and women is a complete betrayal of trust and political contract privileged them. When ordinary citizens cannot afford a decent meal there is something deeply unjust about a system that allows its people to go hungry while an epidemic of obesity makes so called lawmakers to wear plus size. The corruption of our political leadership in all the three branches of government is beyond the imaginations of the Liberian people. There seems to be a common misconception that the role of a lawmaker is to sign concession agreements, request of signature fees, oversees county development funds, sponsoring and supporting legislations that may benefit them politically and increasing their fat salaries and benefits. Our lawmakers believe they do not need the governed. Our so-called lawmakers often fail to pass coherent and workable legislative programs to solve life-threatening societal challenges, they are too limited to legislative knowledge and busy hustling to enrich themselves not considering the poor conditions of the people they represent. It has become widely known that these so-called lawmakers do not consult their constituent on any national debate to solicit the opinions of the people. This clearly demonstrate their unwillingness to participatory democracy.
Government officials implicated in major corruption scandals have sometimes been removed from their positions, but have not otherwise been held legally accountable or are reappointed like we saw in the NDPL government of the “idiot” Samuel K. Doe. I would agree with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that late President Doe actions were counterproductive to the growth and development to a nation experiencing young democracy. I think it would be fair to give an example of an idiotic decision that was made against the interest of transparency and accountability by the Unity Party Government led by Madam President. The removal of Mr. John Morlu from the General Auditing Commission and replacing with an auditing idiot who action was reprehensible to good auditing standard and became a total disgrace to the Ellen’s Administration. Corruption is not only about stealing funds. It is also putting unqualified people in prime positions as was in the case of Robert Kilby who was rejected by the senator but was later confirmed with the intervention of Madam President. Sadly for our people and country, no president, council, interim government, transitional government has giving hope to the ordinary people Liberia. All of them have been operating under the same elements that are significantly counterproductive to the growth and development of Liberian people but, with different styles of leadership. Therefore, can the l real “Idiot” advance to be recognized?