As Liberians joyously look forward for the inauguration of their President-elect, Liberia’s soccer legend, George Manneh Weah on January 22, 2018, a Liberian Cleric, Rev. Dr. Abraham J. Williams who is also a human rights advocate has written Senator Weah congratulating him of his preferment, and cautioned him of ‘a daunting task ahead.
Read full text of Rev. Dr. Abraham J. Williams’ letter:
Your Excellency Sir,
I would like to join a constellation of local and international governments and well-wishers to congratulate you upon your resounding election victory in the recently concluded December 26, 2017 Presidential Run-Off Election. Indeed the Liberians that voted have spoken so well in favor of “change.” And I think with the level of hardship the average Liberian have had to forbear in the past twelve years of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s government, it is very daunting a task for your incoming government to meet such emotive expectations. Yet, depending on the “everlasting arms” of the good, generous and Sovereign LORD, it will only take an unflinching “political will” on you and your government to systematically effect laws, policies and operations that will deliver on the aspirations of the people, as you engage this six year tenure of your presidency.
As government is continuity, it will be very fundamental for you to maintain and build on the outgoing government’s gains of sustained peace, relative media and press freedoms, some level of infrastructural developments across the country, and the enviable colossal international recognition of Liberia. Along with these, you would need to make very frantic efforts to forge meaningful reconciliation, reparations and restoration of conflicting and aggrieved persons, clans and regions right across the country, spanning from the war eras to these twelve years of great deprivation of the masses, though in a democratic dispensation. This would certainly ensure a pedestal of real, sustainable and unthreatened peace, security and stability in the entire country; which atmosphere is very necessary to fostering meaningful development and good governance.
It is imperative too that your government brings under control many hoodlums, who think that because they supported you to victory, they can now go on provoking, intimidating and venting out their vindictive lifestyle on their fellow citizens they consider “life time opponents or enemies.” A culture of lawlessness among some youths, in a society already bereft with pockets of criminals in most urban communities especially, would be very dangerous and grossly undesirable.
Also, as our economy has gone so bad, there will be need to remove all “invisible trade monopolies and manipulations,” and ensure an actual “free and open market economy” that would endear an attractive and favorable atmosphere for both local and international investments. As a matter of fact, one of the causes of undue and continuing price hikes of all commodities and services has been the “sinister restriction of importers” of high consumer goods, such as rice, cement and other building materials, clothing, etc, etc, to very few local and international businessmen that are close to “the corridors of power;” thereby making such greedy people manipulate prices of goods and services according to their whims and caprices, and not necessarily because of the usually purported regional or global free market and economic regulations and conditions. The NIC’s “modus operandi” would need to drastically change to allow free competition in the business landscape that would eventually create rapid growth in the business and investment sector, as well as forge a relatively “free price control” atmosphere to the advantage of consumers. And this kind of atmosphere would attract both Liberian and foreign businesses and businessmen into Liberia all across the globe.
What would be most crucial though would be the formation of an “inclusive, credible and masses-friendly government,” that would have an unwavering and overriding political will to decisively improve the lives and general livelihood of all Liberians, as their rational and compelling national vision. A government with its legislature, judiciary and executive arms of government resolved to sincerely cooperate to champion community and national interests over and above personal interests and political partisanship. This would also mean a government that would practically prioritize “fighting corruption” in both the public and private sectors; especially in an uncompromising way in the public sector. That would serve as a “paradigm shift” from the status quo and a deterrent to both public and private sector corruption predators. And in this fight, there should be “no sacred cows” at all, regardless of who they are and what they have. Our “integrity, anti-graft and good governance institutions” must be strengthened and made robust, independent and impartial, in order to make this achievable and not a mere “campaign, cosmetic and governmental cliché.” In summary here therefore, allow me to reiterate that until we can truly fight this “herculean monster” of corruption, wasteful spending, injustice, heartless wage disparities and lack of general national development and abject poverty, (in the midst of abundant national wealth,) would remain a dreadful experience of the masses. This of course would be tantamount to political and economic repressions, which are always among the key drivers to societal dissatisfaction, rebellions, civil wars and a failed state.
Sir, as much as I have so much more to say, let me close this piece by reminding you that Liberians voted for you overwhelmingly because they need the change you have promised them all these twelve years; massive employment for youths and all, quality and affordable public educational system, a macro mechanized agro industry; improved health infrastructure and delivery system, better wages and living conditions, etc, etc, etc. And as a “man of the people,” be the “pro-poor” and people-friendly president and government they truly desire. Indeed, Liberia and Liberians deserve much more as Africa’s oldest democracy – Liberians have suffered too much, even though they are a greatly resilient people.
Sir, I keep in prayer that the good and Sovereign LORD grant your good self and government the wisdom, confidence, patriotism, nationalism and political will you need to effect the change that Liberians are earnestly yearning for. LONG LIVE THIS GLORIOUS LAND OF LIBERTY!! GOD BLESS LIBERIA!!!
Rev. Dr. Abraham J. Williams
(Clergyman/Human Rights Advocate)