BY D. WA HNE, JR.
The job of a nation’s president is prestigious, powerful and glorious. But it can also be intricate, complex, tedious, stressful, unpredictable, cumbersome, full of high expectations and highly time demanding.
Based on platforms competition among parties and unrealistic promises during campaigns, the presidency can be overbearingly challenged and executing the will of the people can be highly confusing and troublesome as expectations are expected to be redeemed in their diversities and demanding on the President all at the same time.
Presidents are therefore loved by those who hated them; despised by those who were once close associates; and hated by those who once loved them based on the various demands and execution. A president must be ready to operate outside operational perimeters.
Most people entered the presidency younger, but come out looking older and grey. It is a sleepless, all day and night thinking and restless job.
The likes of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and George Manneh Weah are classic example of the tedious nature of the presidency and how they came out grey.
For older folks who make their entry, they come out exhausted, energies depleted, and unable to live a normal healthy life after the presidency. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan are also classic examples.
It is therefore no doubt that a once popular candidate loses his popularity once elected president. Some manage to maintain the endorsement of citizens, while others completely lost hold on them.
The challenge begins at the formation of government and gets wider as policy pronouncements are made and organizational attitudes become undesiring.
For a demography such as Liberia which has no collective expectation or policies agreement, the individual expectations and perceptions take pre-eminence over the general good of the nation.
The individual satisfaction dominates and it is expected that the President will meet them all.
It is call self-interest and it lacks the spirit of nationalism. That is why Liberia is always opposition friendly rather than government friendly.
Former President Weah lost massive support right after the formation of his government. Many CDCians became disenchanted and joined the opposition block because their high expectations of each partisan being delivered from poverty, given employment, rolling in economic prosperity and enjoying social opportunities were not met in the shortest possible time as expected.
CDC lost, on account of these expectations, crucial by-elections and its Montserrado Supreme base was invaded and conquered by the Unity Party.
Senator Amara Konneh, a man I considered smart and fast thinking, had full understanding of these dynamics of politics unlike the Samuel Tweah and other influential CDC stalwarts who failed to caution CDCians to manage their expectations.
Senator Konneh did sent out early warning signals on the need for expectations management, but his caution was misunderstood by interpreters who thought he spoke of only campaign promises.
But Konneh was sending a signal to UP Partisans who believed all of them would be infused into the Boakai’s Government.
When President Boakai declared that his government would not be based on partisanship, he was interpreting Senator Amara Konneh.
When he spoke about pursuing an all inclusive government, the expectation of the opposition went high and praises were heaped on him. But his appointments in government also interpreted Senator Amara Konneh’s “manage your expectations “.
So both UPists and CDCians are learning that political statements are best interpreted by their makers.
Just as CDCians became disenchanted and joined the opposition to carry-on series of protests and launched the anti-Weah campaign, it is expected that very soon President Boakai will be in the kitchen and may experience heat exhaustion.
Already UPists have begun by leading a protest at the doorsteps of the newly inaugurated President.
Social media is inundated with anti-Boakai sentiments on his appointments to government which fall short of party expectations and regional balances.
Partisans are being mocked and they believed they have been betrayed by President Boakai who saw them competent to lead him to victory but incompetent to appoint them to government.
The new wave in Liberia is now paper qualification against individuals capacities to deliver on the job. Like the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration, President Boakai closes his eyes to those with practical experience to ensure the success of his government.
Top party officials are screaming to get on the lists while members of the opposition community are losing hope of ever getting placement in the Boakai’s Government.
As the nation watches, there are pockets and group debates on whether the President is committed to uniting and reconciling the nation.
Citizens of the Southeast are finding comfort in God, while citizens of Nimba are wondering whether they made the right decision. Senator Prince Yormie Johnson has said though the atmosphere is cloudy, the roads are rough, and the whether is stormy, he is calling on Nimbanians to remain calm and supportive despite disadvantages. His words to his people were filled with emotions and displeasure.
As bitterness seems to be raising its mischievous head, there is still ample time for President Boakai to reassess his methods, decision making processes, and strategies if he expects collective participation in his developmental projections and agendas.
In the words of Senator Johnson, it’s too early in the journey of six years to fail on promises made. He joins Senator Konneh to appeal for expectations management.
About the Author:
The Author is a Columnist and former Deputy Director General for Research and Consultancy at LIPA; Former Superintendent for Public Relations, Liberia Agricultural Company, former Head of Media and Civic Education at the Constitution Review Committee, former Research and Press Officer, Liberian Embassy near Lagos, Nigeria and Editor of the “Rise and Fall of Samuel K. Doe”.