Your election as Liberia’s 25th president at the epoch of the festive season denotes a number of things to political pundits. But the foundation of it all emanates from the inherent nature of power in the people as enshrined in article one of the Liberian Constitution, facilitating for democratic governance in Africa’s oldest independent republic.
Apart from this basis, it signifies that God can raise any individual from the dungeon of the deepest valley to the top of the mountain, and from poverty to prosperity. It is also rooted in the saying that destiny may be delayed, but it cannot be denied if you are steadfast, courageous and persistent.
Moreover, your election arguably exemplifies the Creator’s trust for mankind to clinch the crown at the highest level in two or more areas of choice with diligence and commitment. And perhaps, it is a manifestation that Liberia is truly a history maker ranging from being Africa’s first independent republic to producing historic leaders from the other side of the coin.
Whether this has paid off or not is another tale to be told, but the ball is in your court to write your history well on this sacred and prestigious platform, the Liberian presidency.
The clocking is ticking and the watchful moment has arrived for you to fervently affirm the overwhelming verdict you received from the peace-loving people of Liberia on December 26, 2017.
Emerging from a heated and politically charged contestation, you will vow before God and man on January 22, 2018 to uphold the hard-earned trusts of the Liberian people to protect and defend the Constitution of Liberia.
Literarily, the entire world will be anxiously monitoring, not because as your surname has been perfectly coined ‘World, European and African best and Head of state (WEAH), but how your government will change the face of the Liberian people and the war-ravaged nation.
This is probably your most challenging life-time duty to fulfill on this planet and it is incumbent upon you, Mr. President to treat it with all your sweat and blood by tackling all odds that may stand in the way to taint it. You will be doing so not only to prove to all Liberians and the world at large about what is possible with patriotism, but that something good can come out of Nazareth.
As part of our responsibilities as Liberians to ensure the CDC-led government succeeds, this article is, therefore, penned down to serve as a stimulus to our new leadership and to proffer some suggestions to promote a successful administration.
It concisely highlights what is anticipated, your actions as our driver, and lessons worthy of learning from the outgoing Sirleaf-led government of what may warrant emulation or avoidance.
Liberians expect effective delivery, no room for excuses.
It is obvious that you are taking over the mantle of authority of our beloved nation at a very critical juncture in our nation’s history.
Besides not experiencing such transition from one democratically elected president to the next in over 70 years, you are assuming this herculean task with a huge segment of our population, particularly the youthful community, having the ardent belief that you are their last hope because of what previous politicians have done or failed to do to get them out of entrenched poverty history.
Though this may not be strange because, unarguably, no democratic government is voted into power without an expectation from voters, yours seems different because of your grassroots background, youthfulness and other shared characteristics with the majority.
In fact, this strong hope and belief is an asset in disguise in that it is the beginning of renewal because you have the total confidence of the people to bring about the much needed positive change and they are willing to rally around their leaders to achieve it.
Undoubtedly, you are taking over as President with enormous challenges including the reported 85% unemployment and economic turmoil waiting in the queue to be battled head-on.
Nevertheless, let me be quick to inject that these challenges must not frighten you, Mr. President as true great leaders are produced in times of difficulties.
No matter the case, Liberians expect no room for excuses from you and your team as you steer the affairs of our cherished nation for the next six years.
In fact, many political analysts have elucidated that your task is even much favorable in juxtaposition with your predecessor, outgoing President Sirleaf. Hence, your actions or inactions as President of Liberia will only validate or invalidate your capability to lead the nation to the higher heights.
Bearing no doubt in my mind and probably many other Liberians share the same view too that you will deliver the goods, the chance is yours to prove your case, Mr. President as many have waited for this change and some have even lost their lives in the process.
The best reward that can ever be given is by doing all it costs to transform their lives and the nation. To me, letting their dreams and aspirations to wither and die would be the deadliest crime that any human being can commit on the surface of this earth. In a nutshell, Liberians deserve better from their leaders, particularly you, President Weah; and this betterment time is now and not later. As our president, we expect early signs in the first few days or months of your regime to keep the hope alive, rallying on all Liberians to make it happen.
If you are to make a good president, the following are a sine qua non.
The cost and price for successful presidency
It goes without saying that the elections’ time and the period for promises (unveiling political manifestos) are over. It is time for prompt actions! Undeniably, it is much easier to unravel a baggage of promises and give recommendations when sitting on the fence, but the true reality manifests as you step in the shoe of the Liberian presidency.
However, as stated previously you enjoy the overwhelming trust and confidence of the Liberian populace, therefore, you can deliver as other presidents have done so or are doing so for their nations.
Nonetheless, it comes with huge cost and price to pay in atonement for humanity and the sake of our sovereignty as the oldest independent republic in Africa.
Exercise true sincerity and transcend beyond political rhetoric. As you step on this big platform, Liberians and other individuals will commence watching and making you as their example.
It is through true sincerity in deeds and words that your government would set the pace for transformation in Liberia. In other words, no Liberian would expect any form of political rhetoric or pretense this time, where their president says one thing and means the other.
As Confucius once says ‘‘I am obliged not only to give ear to what they (people) say, but also to keep an eye on what they do’’, there is an ardent need for you, Mr. President to mean your words and honor them with appropriate actions as every leader is taken seriously or in high esteem by the application of his/her words, and not just by utterances.
For good leadership to unfold, if you are pushing for a change, you must first be that change by exemplary deeds.
The sooner your team knows that it is not time for charade or gimmicks, the better it becomes for your presidency and the nation as a whole. In my view, this took a huge chunk from the Sirleaf-era. Avoid it with mighty fists!
Take the corruption fight from the papers and the lips. Unarguably, the menace, corruption remains the greatest atrocity, impeding human existence and development in Africa, and Liberia in particular where public trust and resources are squandered for self-aggrandizement.
Cognizant of previous lessons learned under the watchful eyes of Madam Sirleaf, it is prudent to let the corruption battle graduate from papers and lips.
Put it differently, Liberians do not expect any pronouncements like ‘I will fight corruption’, thus allowing it to metamorphose as experienced by your predecessor.
Rather, let the Liberian people know, ‘I have taken XZY actions to battle corruption’. The practicality of this fight is what matters most, treating corruption cases with all manner of urgency and making culprits to account appropriately as early precedents in this most critical fight will determine your success as head of state.
Deal with it fearlessly, even if it is your own babies involved. This will send a clear signal that it is no longer business as usual. One of the ways to get started is by not rewarding any individuals with tainted records of corruption who have not cleared their names through the court with positions.
Drastically reduce wasteful spending: Applauds are emerging from all quarters regarding your reported action to radically cut down the inauguration budget from 2.5 million to 500,000 which is a pleasant sign. Bravo if you actually did so. As an annex to fighting corruption, it is absolutely vital to combat wasteful spending in all sectors, as the writings on the wall illustrate that this is one deadly disease that is holding Liberia back.
As president, you must have a robust financial team, comprising men of integrity and fear of God to scrutinize every budget to ensure that there is truly the value for money for every activity or project.
Leaving it open will be a big loophole for corruption to survive. Besides, public servants, particularly leaders of ministries and agencies must not be permitted to swim in state coffers, thus depleting resources needed to foster development to drive luxurious cars, make unnecessary travels, and receive huge salaries and benefits while the ordinary people (your employers) languish in abject poverty.
This is something that must not be brought in this new government.
Fight poverty and empower citizens. One of the greatest gifts that any people can receive is to take them out of engrained poverty. Though this may be a challenging task for any administration, it is possible as other countries like China have taken millions of their citizens out of poverty.
Your initial pronouncement in your acceptance speech to establish “pro-poor public governance” aimed at transforming the lives of all Liberians as your primary duty is laudable and welcoming. But like hinted earlier, Liberians are more interested in actions, and not mere words.
To actualize this dream, the sooner your government begins to create jobs and an enabling environment, empower youth with necessary skills, and create better opportunities in various sectors including agriculture, the better it will become for the nation and its citizenry.
Other actions needed. It is obvious that Liberia’s challenges are gigantic. Nevertheless, it is expected that your regime will vehemently tackle them in an uncompromising manner including combating high illiteracy rate, while transforming the minds of the people in support of the country’s development agenda.
Other initiatives including revitalization of the agriculture sector, road connectivity, infrastructural development, electricity, strengthening institutions, promoting reconciliation and national healing and other basic social services must be paramount on your agenda. The road may be shaky, nonetheless, with determination and focus success is imminent.
It is a glaring fact that the responsibility of rebuilding Liberia lies in the hands of all Liberians. However, Mr. President, as our chief driver the mantle of authority is vested in your hands to push our national dream of attaining value added life and sustainable economic growth and development. It is expedient to capitalize on some of the gains made by the UP-led government in several sectors as well as learn from mistakes made to help rebuild a much better Liberia.
If I may suggest, it is essential to emulate Madam Sirleaf’s lobbyism to pull international support, resilience to hold on in times of difficulties, tolerance for critics and freedom of speech and of the press.
However, she is not a good example for the fight against corruption and wasteful spending, consistency in words and deeds, and reconciliation and unity.
Meanwhile, as we strive to hold you, President Weah and your team accountable, henceforth, all Liberians including me are confronted with a fundamental question: How can we individually and collectively make our/Weah administration a resounding success for our own good and the good of Liberia?
It is a million dollar question that requires pondering upon for immediate actions as Liberia is waiting on our sincere answers and corresponding contributions.
Personally, I solemnly pledge in this public manner as a promising young Liberian expected to complete doctoral studies in the early stage of this new administration, to do all in my God given powers and strengths to wholeheartedly contribute to the success of the administration.
It is no time to vilify or destructively criticize our leaders, while we sit on the fence and do nothing. But total involvement with all the ideas and energies we have is a matter of must as Nelson Mandela reminds us that we have a limited time to live, therefore, we must use that time to sincerely serve our country.
It is my urge that we as citizens of Liberia will go beyond expectation and take full responsibilities for our lives and development of the nation by putting Liberia first and last. We owe it to Liberia!
In conclusion, let me again congratulate you, H.E. Amb. George M. Weah and H.E. Sen. Jewel Howard Taylor on your elections as Liberia’s president and vice president, respectively. Bravo to all peace loving people of Liberia for the victory.
We have won; and Liberia has won! Your excellences, President Weah and VP Taylor, you are most welcome to the leadership of our dear nation with a great expectation to deliver Liberia and its people from the dungeon of poverty to prosperity and economic development.
With God above, our rights to prove, we will overall prevail under this new administration. God bless us! God bless our newly ordained leaders. God bless Liberia.
About the author: Charles Gbollie is a PhD candidate at Central China Normal University, Wuhan City, China.
He holds Master’s degree in Education (Hons) with specificity in Developmental & Educational Psychology.
He also holds BA degree in Sociology from AME University and has several certificates to his credit. He has over 8 years of work experience.
Phone #: +86 132 77055 250