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Sunday, February 25, 2024

New Year. New Government. New Hopes

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By OND Editorial Board

New moment and a fresh start for everybody at all levels as we enter the New Year. 2023 was a memorable and defining year for every Liberian. Resolutions for the passing year may have varied but on the communality   of issues, it was no doubt a great year of relief.

With coups all over West Africa and the Sahel and democracy crashing and crumbling in neighbouring countries, Liberia stood tall laminating the African continent with pride and hope. Doomsayers have written that the 2023 elections would take us back to war.

It did not happen. It will not happen. Doubters were proven wrong. The estimated 5.5 million people in this country said what occurred on this land about 34 years ago will never happen again!

Wars and its disciples of mass killing, looting and mass displacement are memories of the dark past that will never disrupt the forward march of this great country.

The elections produced a new President with the incumbent leader losing in a competitive race in the modern history of democratic contestation in Liberia. George Weah organized, financed the polls and lost it without a complaint.

He will go down as a young leader who led his country in the period of economic difficulties and uncertainties yet maintaining its peace and stability in the absence of international troops that provided security for most part of the opening quarter of the 21 century. Give him the Nobel Peace Prize!

Governance under Weah was a trouble spot – a challenge he did not overcome in his six-year rule. He is exiting the office of president with mass sanctioning of his key officials by the United States for alleged corruption, rights violations and abused of office.

This represents the lowest point of an administration that came to power on promise to fight corruption and deliver prosperity.

On Jan. 22, another new set of political leaders elected on the promise to fight corruption and deliver prosperity for 5.5 million Liberians will be inaugurated.

The tasks at hands going forward are insurmountable to an extent that only deliberate purposeful actions and deeds can help cure and not photo-shoots on the streets of America and lunch meetings in Washington.

Governance and or government failure is not unique to the outgoing George Weah administration.

In a June 2022 European Union sponsored report titled Veneers of Governance, the authors said Liberia’s story is also one of stubborn underdevelopment, corruption and unfulfilled democratic promises.

“The country ranks 175 out of 189 states on the Human Development Index. It has deteriorated every year since 2015 on the Fragile States Index and remains one of the world’s most fragile states and the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index categorizes it as ‘corrupt’, and shows worsening ranking since 2012.”

Few things the new administration should know and consider: there is no free money sitting in any part of the world to help your government to finance its development programs and deliver basic social services; Liberia is not a sovereign country but a territory on the west coast of Africa remotely managed from offices in metropolitan America and Brussels. This is so because we want and love  it that way.

We lack sovereignty because we beg for everything including rotten fish even in the face of enormous national riches. This is the tragedy of the African continent. Aid dependency must end!

The key to Liberia’s underdevelopment and poverty lies in the prudential management of its natural resources. The money is here. All public generated resources including those from gold, diamond, iron ore, timber, etc., must be publically disclosed, channelled through the national budget, not the deep private pockets of individuals and should be properly accounted for.

In this New Year, the happiness and prosperity of Liberians as stipulated in the 1986 Constitution is the sole resolution the Oracle has detected for the good of the masses of our people.

The hope of the people, which was elevated during the elections must not die a natural death and treated as business as usual.

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