By Alfred P. B. Kiadii
In Liberia most of our public officials who are cut in corruption cobweb are fond of justifying their misdeeds, instead of showing remorse for their action. This growing culture of abrogating the people’s trust runs deep in their psyche simply because they think that the people are inactive; consequently, their bad deeds continue to hamper both the people and the forward march of the republic.
Some media gurus in our country are always willing to hatch the PR stunt for these corrupt officials who share consanguinity with them. They do this to line their pocket with some of the ill-gotten wealth amassed by their indicted cronies. Even the media has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God regarding corruption in the homeland. Some years back the Press Union of Liberia was given 100, 000 USD for the construction of their headquarters, but up to now their headquarters has not been constructed. The question is, why the headquarters was not constructed? Do some elements in the media preach a sermon they are not prepare to live by?
Country such as Japan when there is an allegation of corruption hovering over the heads of public officials they almost want to commit suicide, but in Liberia the reverse is the other of the day. Public officials seize the air waves and justify their wrong doings; some even pay young people to undermine the audit reports of the GAC and other investigative probes that indict them. Hence, the culture of impunity runs deep in the republic to the extent that the people are showing apathy for the status quo. The shrinking show up of voters in the 2014 Special senatorial Election is evidenced of the people show of mistrust and distrust in their leaders.
The tragedy of Liberia, is those who psyche is entrenched with the vice of corruption are elevated to elective post in our country while individuals who demonstrate moral uprightness are vilified on grounds that they refused to line their pockets with resources intended to benefit the generality of the Liberian people. Nowadays, virtue is not regarded in our body politic but rather vices. We coronate thieves and malign upright individuals.
The question is, do we really hate corruption or we appear to be hating corruption. Our value system is so corrupt that we play blind eye to integrity check of people who want to occupy elective public offices. We elect people not on the basis of their integrity, morals, or the demonstration of competence they bring to the job but rather on the basis of the depth of their pockets or the amount of ill-gotten wealth they have amassed the year over.
Global Witness recent report on corruption in Liberia which indicted senior government officials for accepting bribe to change Liberian Laws to satisfy a UK based company is not only disturbing but also embarrassing. And it is a depiction of who we really are as Liberians. It is a truism that a leader is a reflection of a people. Progressive people elect progressive leaders; corrupt people elect corrupt leaders. Bad people elect bad leaders.
So we are not surprised in the least at the report that Cllr. Varney Sherman was at the center of the entire bribery saga, going as far as telling Sable Mining to give kickbacks to senior government officials in order to change our mineral laws. This act on the part of the learned lawyer confirmed the assertion that he cares more about the interest of his client than the republic.
Besides, this is not the first time Cllr Sherman has been involved in such an act. Remember the issue with the Bong Mines worker. Remember also the issue with the Danish journalist, Mad Brugger, who Cllr Varney Sherman aided and abetted to obtain Liberian diplomatic passport and honorary consul post through shady manipulations.
In a film entitled “The Ambassador “Mad Brugger” exposed to the whole world how Liberians officials are so corrupt at the detriment of the country, by receiving kickbacks from him in order to award him passport and diplomatic position that he did not deserve. This film painted a gloomy picture of the republic and generated laughter in the diplomatic circle. The journalist convinced the world that the likes of Varney Sherman trade integrity for money and patriotism for corrupt ends.
Most of our so called affluent people in Liberia cannot convince us how they got their wealth devoid of corruption. If we were to check these individuals income tax returns to ascertain whether their wealth were obtained rightly, most of them will be incarcerated. There is a sense in which this statement is true because most of our affluent individuals name are always featuring in scandals.
Everything Cllr. Varney Sherman touches is turning into clay. What we are saying right now, is Cllr. Sherman must resign his senatorial post on grounds that his name is mentioned in the report for being the villain who orchestrated the corruption scheme. This is not the question of innocent until proven guilty but it is the question of playing moral uprightness. History has demonstrated time without number that individuals from other civilizations whose names feature in these kinds of reports tender in their resignations, so too must Cllr Sherman. Step aside so that you can clear your name and demonstrate to the people of Liberia that the people of Grand Cape Mount County are decent.
Meanwhile, I can recall that the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Silvan Shalom, resigned over allegations that the sexually molested several women. The Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, resigned his post when the Panam-based law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed he owned an offshore company that he did not declared it when he was catapulted into parliament. Former head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned his post on allegations he sexually harassed a hotel maid in New York. So the learned lawyer must muster the courage to do the same.
In time like this, I want to remember the voice of Bishop George Brown of the Episcopal Church; I want to remember the voice of Archbishop Michael K. Francis of the Catholic Church; I remember the voice of Sheikh Kafumba Konneh of the Islamic faith. I want to hear now the voice of Archbishop Michael K. Francis calling on all those whose names featured in the GW report to resign. I want to hear now the moderate voice of Bishop George Brown telling the Liberian people that we are in a moral deficit and all those named in the GW report to step down. I want to hear now the witty voice of Sheikh Kafumba Konneh refusing to keep quite on this matter. I want to see now the critical writing of the pamphleteer Albert Porte calling on those whose name featured in the GW report to resign their respective positions and face investigation.
If care is not taking, the Liberian people who we think are docile and mute will stampede their way into history like they did in 1980, like was done in the former Yugoslavia, Romania, etc. When the people move into history, they go all out to the logical conclusion. We must refused to keep quiet because this country belongs to all of us and we must refused to accept that few individuals have a title deed to it.
Author's Statement::Alfred P. B. Kiadii is a student of the University of Liberia who studies Political Science and Public Administration. He is an ardent disciple and follower of the philosophical and Pan-Africanist constructs of Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden, etc. Furthermore, he is the Director of the Bureau of Information, Press, Outreach and Mobilization of the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU). He is a convinced young men who believe in the potency of the people to make history. He can be reached on +231 770135042/888995870 or firstname.lastname@example.org