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Sunday, February 25, 2024

The New Sheriff

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By WITH D. WA HNE, JR.

Liberia’s 2nd Postwar Democratic Transition has taken place smoothly on January 22, 2024 after predictions of another civil war or security crisis for which the President was made to wear bulletproof vest under his traditional suit.

This stands Liberia out as Africa’s most promising democracy on the Continent.

The exchange of power from “Hope for Change” to “Rescue Mission” had its own peculiar trappings that have become a national and international discourse.

The break in his inaugural speech and the abrupt end of the inaugural proceedings have sparked a new national debate on whether the new President has the agility for the Presidency.

Though his speech was uncompleted and left the world in limbo, one undisputed fact which is most important than all the hilarious comments is that a new Sheriff has been commissioned and has sounded the trumpet of an impending political revolution.

Drawing from his speech, President Joseph Nyumah Boakai might give Liberians positive shockers that could evolutionize and revolutionize Liberia’s 167 years political and social orders if the President and his team commit themselves to implementation and outcomes rather than the usual jargons and impressionism that come with inauguration to cool off the heat and conflicts generated during the highly contested elections.

President Boakai’s speech which was also a tell tale of our historical past that accounts for our current disjointed dispensational attitudes contained curative measures to put Liberia on the right trajectory.

It is a plain fact that Liberia’s political culture since independence has been a complication of ethnocentric divides and party sensitivities.

These complications have obstructed our rise to building consensus in our body polity and pursuing tangible developments like other nations.

Though we claim to value democracy and all of its tenets, yet our approach to democracy itself has presented arduous tasks that have challenged the capacities of the most brilliant of our leaders.

Our use of political parties and their doctrines and alliances as standards and measurements for democracy have been a foundation for disunity, bitterness,  violence, selfishness, lack of reconciliation and disorientation of national agendas.

Liberia’s new President has come clear in his speech with new standards to governance which will confront the old order and business as usual.

He rejects friendship and partisanship as criteria for the formulation of his government and execution of his Rescue Agenda.

His speech seems to suggest that those considerations have been major factors that have got Liberia lagging behind in 21st Century politics and development.

The New Sheriff seeks to Rescue the Nation from these pandemics. His first five appointments are outside partisanship which indicate that the new Sheriff is determined.

Governments in Liberia have elevated friendship and politics far above the national agenda. These have to change and it is our hope that President Joseph Boakai would commit himself to what he has begun.

He spoke of “inclusiveness” in a way that brings to bear the late President Samuel K. Doe’s political rhetoric that the “biggest political party is the Republic of Liberia”.

In the heat of the Grand Coalition opposition against his government, late President Doe began defining democracy as “the nation”. He said “if democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people, then it is greater than political parties”.

If that is the interpretation of President Boakai’s speech of inclusiveness, and his statement that “gone are the days of friendship and partisanship”, it might not be an error to say a revolution might be in the making that could change the mental and political attitudes of Liberians.

That would indeed be a major rescue for the country from itself. However, it is very early to give a pass mark while the examination is on. His appointments to government will showcase his commitment.

The outgone President George Manneh Weah was very practical and demonstrated inclusiveness outside of policy prescriptions and the visibility of an inclusive government was seen all around.

Unfortunately,  one of his weaknesses was friendship which denied him of several outcomes, dragged his friends into US Sanctions and the loss of his second term bid.

President Joseph Boakai must seek to avoid that. Despite that weakness, one of President Weah’s strengths was his complete runaway from nepotism. He steered clear of it.

The new President must emulate his example to be rated high as much as the temptation presents itself high.

President Boakai needs to guide himself against believers of bigshotism and supremacists who would looked down on others due to their proximity to him and make him unpopular.

Proximity Power destroyed the progressive and masses postures of the CDC Government  as certain officials used power proximity to block communication with valuable entities heads of the governing structure.

They saw themselves as the depositors and disbursers of power and conducted themselves in arrogance loaded with rapacity.

The Boakai’s Administration must also be prepared for the taste of the new political menu introduced by the opposition against the CDC for six unbroken years.

The concept of putting the government feet to the fire has become an acceptable political development eager to be practiced by every one who finds himself as opposition.

The months and years ahead will be critical and tedious. Protests and demonstrations will be a way of fundamental expressions of rights and the people will demand promises made to them in ways that might defy human reasoning.

The Government, under constitutional oath must deliver on the rights of free thinkers.

Date with the Nation will review and analyze other portions of the President’s Speech in its next edition.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

  1. Wa Hne, Jr. is a Columnist, former Media Head of the Constitution Review Committee; former Deputy Director General for Research and Consultancy LIPA; Acting Chairman of the Liberia People Democratic Party.

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