For about 12 years dating from 2005 to 2017, Liberians home and abroad toyed with high hope that ex-football legend, George Weah, was the answer to Liberia’s long cry for leadership. They saw in him the bastion and pathfinder of hope. Especially for the aborigines who suffered 133 years of class marginalisation, economic inequality, painful and shameful poverty under the moribund and decadent True Whig Party, for them, Weah’s presidency was a moral guarantor for their socio-economic upliftment. So, they used their meagre resources and earnings to print their own t-shirts with Weah’s photo and went all out to canvass for his ascendancy to the nation’s highest authority. During those days, when Weah was arriving in the country either from the USA or elsewhere, there was always an avalanche of people, I mean a mammoth turnout of Liberians mostly youth and market women who shut down their daily hustles and boycotted classes to give Weah a red-carpet welcome that was likened to Jesus’ advent in Jerusalem.
With unshakable love carried for Weah then, Liberians on the average voted kleptocratic-kakistocrates and ruffians at the Legislature simply because Weah held their hands and they trusted him. In those days, political tourists and politicians who were relatively unknown to the voters could win seats in the Senate and the honourable house of Representatives all because Weah lifted their hands. The attending negative consequences on the quality of participation in legislative discourses that informed public policy decisions were extraordinary profound and calamitous. Some of the greatest “bobos” and barren lawmakers were borne out of the people’s love for Weah and earned them a place at our lawmaking body. Can you imagine the quality of their inputs? Far below the belt!
This was how far Liberians went to cripple our nascent democracy and bring to prominence criminals and rookies who hide under the CDC’s emblem to escape public scrutiny from voters. Even with the low quality of participation from CDC’s lawmakers both in the Senate and House of Representatives, Liberians never lost fate in a Weah’s presidency. They still mobilised their proceeds from bitter bowls, oil and charcoals to ensure a Weah’s presidency was a dream come through.
So, in 2014, in the heat of Ebola, I chose to join them to make Weah Senator for just two reasons. One, I did so because I saw ample attempts on the part of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to impose, in the words of dethroned Chairman Wilmot Paye, Robert Sirleaf and his abominable conduct on the Liberian society. She even went far and discouraged Christopher Neyor from running in Montserrado only because of her beloved son, Rob Sirleaf. She didn’t stop there but ensured that the Unity Party’s candidate, Ali Sylla, was paid to leave the senatorial faceoff. Nonstop, her son Robert used taxpayers’ money on George Solo, Chairman of CDC then, to ensure Weah is bought out of the race. Thankfully, Morlu, Koijee and Samora stood their ground and expelled George Solo. But most importantly, I supported Weah’s bid to be Senator because I wanted Liberians to use his senatorial position to mirror his dismal and abysmal performance in the Senate to deny him the presidency in the 2017 election. Yes, I supported him with the slightest inclination that his presence in the Senate will expose his manifest ineptitude and incompetence and the people could use that as a barometer to conclude that Weah’s presidency would be a declaration of war on our democracy. But still, Liberians thought that Weah’s juice could only be seen at the presidency and not the Senate that is rubberstamped and compromised. Finally, they achieved that political feat and dream in the 2017 presidential election.
But true to their consciences, they never voted Weah to be a curse to their country and a token of punishment for not voting decent breeds. Certainly true, they voted Weah knowing that he came from grass to grace, and he would understand their daily plights. For them, Weah’s presidency would rib Liberia out of corruption, colossal hardship, inequality, selective justice, unemployment and economic deprivation. Really true to their belief, Weah’s presidency was like a paradise promised mankind by Jesus according to Christian theists. They never foresaw an impending danger hanging over the motherland. Yes, they saw him as a political Moses who came to lead them from the wilderness and from the hands of our Pharaohs who according to them have suffered us for so long. They couldn’t discern that Weah is a Pharaoh who was wrapped in Moses’ clothing.
About the author
Julius T. Jaesen, II, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the African Methodist Episcopal University on 34 Camp Johnson Road. He is a licensed grassroots political organiser, message development specialist, essayist, biographer, poet and researcher on Harvard University Academia.com and Grin.com. He is also a published author and currently an Associate Managing Editor at the Parrot Newspaper. He can be reached on the following:
Contact numbers: +231886661061/+231776585152