Liberian Politicians have not Learned Anything from the Country’s 14-Year War


By: J. Nhinson Williams

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
July 31, 2015

                  



 
 
 
 
It Requires A Wheelbarrow To Take Senator Jallah's Pay Home?

The sad part about the 14-years Liberian civil war is that the actual people who should have died did not die, only the innocent mostly did.  In a nation where most, if not all, of the politicians are dangerous species and petit criminals, it is hard to disagree as to why Charles Taylor brutally chased out these criminals the way he did.

I opposed Taylor fresh from the Catholic seminary where I studied for the Catholic priesthood, using moral reasoning and theological grounds.  Of course, I was right then because I was infested with the hurt and pains of the murder of the five American Catholic nuns and the death of innocent Liberians as Taylor chased many of the corrupt and useless politicians we have in Liberia at the time and now.  Taylor called them “rats and cockroaches”. I thought he was wrong, but now I know he may have been right to call them so.

In a country like Liberia where school children continue to die from hunger, unemployment is next to hell, hospitals are in poor conditions, women died from preventable wounds during childbirths, girls sell sex to feed themselves and their poor parents, this is what is happening: the country’s senate Pro –Temp, a single individual, is allotted an unexplained and unjustifiable budget of 1.4 million just to allow him to do nothing and take free vacation. These people have not learned any lessons from the war. How can this guy receive such an amount of money when his county and people have no clinic, safe drinking water and power? Is there any moral conscience in this?  How can President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf approve such a budget? Is there an organized crime in Liberia? Even under Taylor who is criminalized by the world, this did not happen.   No wonder the poor people are now crying for Taylor despite his shortcomings.

When the News Newspaper, a local Liberian daily reported this story on AllAfrica.com, I dropped from my chair in my office for five minutes, perhaps with a minor heart attack, thinking why are our Liberian politicians so insane, so criminal and so heartless?  Below is a full story as reported by the News Newspaper:

Senate Pro-tempt Armah Z. Jallah has been allotted more than one million United States dollars in the 2015/2016 draft national budget recently passed by the House of Representatives.
The Pro-Tempt budget surpassed that of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker budgets.

A copy of the draft budget which is in the possession of this paper, revealed that Pro-Tempt Jallah is allotted US$1,483,784.

According to the budget, Speaker Tyler has been allotted US$974,654, while the office of Deputy Speaker Barchue received US$703,141.

Under the Detailed Objects of Expenditure as crafted in the budget, Pro-tempt Jallah will use US$105,227 on basic salary civil service; US$247,325 for general allowance; US$78,000 for special allowance, while US$430,552 will be used for compensation of employees and goods and services.

Pro-tempt Jallah is also expected to use US$19,710 on Foreign Travel-Means and US$32,617 on Foreign Travel-Daily Subsistence Allowance.

US$2,415 is also being captured in the budget for Pro-tempt Jallah for Foreign Travel-Incidental Allowance; US$7,800 for Domestic Travel-Means and US$ 20,158 for Telecommunications, Internet, Postage and Courier.

US$20,149 is also allotted to Pro-Tempt Jallah for residential property rental and lease; US$74,850 for vehicles fuel and lubricants, while US$33,408 will be used for generator fuel and lubricants.
US$10,000 is being budgeted for stationery in the office of the Pro-tempt; US$2,404 for printing, binding and publications services; US$217,648 for other specialized materials, while US$22,073 will be used for operational expenses.

The Pro-Tempt is also expected to use US$90,000 for Transport Equipment, among others.

Under the Detailed Objects of Expenditure as crafted in the budget, Pro-tempt Jallah will use US$105,227 on basic salary civil service; US$247,325 for general allowance; US$78,000 for special allowance, while US$430,552 will be used for compensation of employees and goods and services.

Pro-tempt Jallah is also expected to use US$19,710 on Foreign Travel-Means and US$32,617 on Foreign Travel-Daily Subsistence Allowance.

US$2,415 is also being captured in the budget for Pro-tempt Jallah for Foreign Travel-Incidental Allowance; US$7,800 for Domestic Travel-Means and US$ 20,158 for Telecommunications, Internet, Postage and Courier.

US$20,149 is also allotted to Pro-Tempt Jallah for residential property rental and lease; US$74,850 for vehicles fuel and lubricants, while US$33,408 will be used for generator fuel and lubricants.
US$10,000 is being budgeted for stationery in the office of the Pro-tempt; US$2,404 for printing, binding and publications services; US$217,648 for other specialized materials, while US$22,073 will be used for operational expenses.

The Pro-Tempt is also expected to use US$90,000 for Transport Equipment, among others.

Efessayf
Approximately 15 years ago, I went to Conakry, Guinea on the occasion of my mother's death. That happened to be the very time when Charles Taylor was making his grand stand in Liberia. Someone at the US Embassy advised me not to go to Liberia, because it was not safe and evacuations would be difficult. I buried my Mom in Guinea. But this has got nothing to do with the story.
I met a group of Liberians who were engaged in helping themselves; I was so impressed that I made a hefty donation to them, bought a generator, fan, bags of rice, etc. They then trying to get me to solicit assistance for them when I returned to the States, gave me what amounted to a business plan. Apart from it being poorly written, it only contained expenditures for salaries of their officials. Nothing went to assisting their people.
As soon as they left, I dumped the paper into the trash. My brother asked me why, and I challenged him to find in that paper any amount of money that went to helping their people: food, medicine, etc.
Efessayf at 06:48PM, 2015/08/01.
Flahn Momoh Dualu
Here's one fact you will find shocking: There are more money allocated to the pro-temp or speaker than the amount allocated to most counties or paynesville public school which has about 10,000 students!
Flahn Momoh Dualu at 01:50PM, 2015/08/02.
Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
It is Ironic to note that given the Nation’s often-stated concerns about corruption,the GOL Policy of Annual Grants of hundreds of thousands of US dollars to Counties, including contributions from private corporations, for Social Development – Education, healthcare, transport/communications, etc., - have, now, become the major source and victim of “You Chop + I Chop = We chop”, a scheme of public dishonesty (corruption) under the control of a coalition of County Administrations, County Legislative Caucuses and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This major chopping scheme cannot succeed without the “Pay Master” (who, according to the 2015, 68th Independence Day Orator, “must chop something from the people he pays”. The Paymaster, in this case, is the powerful, Super-Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, R.L. This scheme is big; it is a creeping monster; it MUST NOT SUCCEED!!

Corruption is a universal phenomenon, a vice found in every culture, society, country and on every continent, irrespective of the level of socio-cultural, economic, political, technological development and affluence. Corruption is, apparently, intrinsic in human nature. As such, Liberia and Liberians do not have a monopoly of corruption. It is shown, fortunately, that corruption can be controlled, reduced and, eventually, eradicated.

Given its incidence and dangerous threat to the nation’s socio-economic and political health and progress, corruption must be controlled, minimized and, eventually, eradicated. But, in order to achieve this objective, it is necessary to know the cause(s) or the “why” of Liberia’s corruption, since we know the effect, corruption.

Liberia’s problem, in so far as corruption is concerned, is the problem of misplaced priority. Rather than identify and treat the cause(s) of corruption in the effort to reduce, control and eradicate the effect (corruption), we recognize, commend and reward the results of corruption. For examples: officials who built mansions, develop real estates, found and manage other businesses financed with stolen public resources are commended for “development” and promoted to much more lucrative posts for more stealing, not prosecuted and sent to jail.



Bai M. Gbala, Sr. at 02:57PM, 2015/08/02.
Jay Wehtee Wion
Do unto these "rats and cockroaches" what you did to Taylor and what Taylor did to the other "rats and cockroaches" before him for it is the only language they understand. Anything else is just music to their ears because power concedes nothing without demand; it never has and it never will, said Frederick Douglas.

    Jay Wehtee Wion at 10:27PM, 2015/08/03.
    John
    This is what happens when leaders are removed and replaced based on anger, greed and emotions rather than rational thinking. Until Liberians can start thinking critically with their heads/minds and be meticulous in electing their leaders, they will continue to have these types of problems. How many times have we not replaced our leaders just to discover in the end they are no different from their predecessor or even worst? It’s high time we stop thinking with our emotions and start thinking with our head or mind!
    John at 01:02PM, 2015/08/06.
    Benjamin Thomas
    I have followed the work and activities of the writer, Mr. Williams. He is a true leader and patriot. He has done more for our nation Liberia than any one I know or heard of. Without his leadership, Liberia would not have been free of Taylor as well as enjoy the relative peace we have today. He abandoned his lifelong dream for the Catholic priesthood just for his love for Liberia.

    He is a visionary and has the country at heart. Imagine a young Liberian turning down every offer to lead our nation, or serve in a senior level government position in 2003 when Taylor left power. It is said that he did so on grounds that he wanted to ensure that most Liberian refugees return home. Today, he is all over the place helping not only Liberians, but Africans and others who seek refugee status because of hardship and conflicts in their respective countries.

    This guy is great. From making sure that our national disarmament process succeeded, from 2003 through 2005, to refusing to get paid for the consulting services he provided the commission that disarmed the country's ex-combatants. We don't know of any single Liberian who has worked for the Liberia government and refused to get paid. May God bless this patriotic man and his family. This is the kind of leader our nation and Africa need.
    Benjamin Thomas at 03:29AM, 2015/08/07.
    kadi musa
    My problem with the writer Mr. Williams is that he supported both Gyade Bryant and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. We heard both have offered him jobs in government but he turned them down. He is a good man, but instead of supporting people that failed the nation, it would be best if he can accept to take leadership role in our country because he has a good heart and love for the country.

    He is full of good ideas and has a clear vision, but his refusal to lead while supporting bad leaders is not a good thing. He is the only Liberian politician that has a broad appeal to Liberian Muslims and Christians. He can unite and reconcile the country if he accepts a leadership role in government.

    When Taylor was killing Liberian Muslims, people like Brumskine and others supported Taylor. Now, the same Brumskine wants the vote of the Liberian Muslim community. And he is supported by our so called self-serving and selfish leaders of the Liberian Muslim community. No Muslim should vote for Brumskine. He is a desperate man who might worse than Sirleaf.

    I remembered how this writer, Mr. Williams, stood by both Liberian Christians and Muslims in Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast when Taylor and the NPFL that Brumskine provided legal advice for was chasing and killing Liberians.
    kadi musa at 03:48AM, 2015/08/07.

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