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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Commendable Moves; But The Battles Aare Many And Too Soon Mr. President

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By WA HNE JR.

The experiences of World War 1 and 2 have taught leaders the great lessons to not start wars at many fronts with potential forces at the same time as winning or sustaining such wars could be either disastrous or most costly.

Wars are expensive, destructive, and cause development to standstill. They are distractive and disruptive to goals set. In the worst case scenario, they never achieve their intended purposes and leave behind trails of human suffering. Germany’s Adolph Hitler was a victim of such wars at many fronts as well as France’s Napoleon Bonaparte.

The great United States of America, though militarily the greatest country, does not fight an enemy alone, nor attack at many fronts. They utilize the combined armies that make up the NATO. They attack one at a time. Before planning and executing a war, strategic research and calculations  are done on the possibilities of winning or losing with casualties, less casualties,  or no casualties envisaged.

Wars are not only military. They can be reforms, decisions, restructuring of existing structures, changing the status quo, or fighting to discontinue popular existing cultures and traditions and altering social, economic and political courses.

The new administration in Liberia has kicked its ball off the grounds with complex, complicated, very troubling, but laudable decisions that could possibly rock the nation off its feet if care is not taken, while at the same time it is encumbered with huge domestic responsibilities, timeline execution of promises, and struggles to complete the very formation of government.

It is believed that the Boakai’s Administration is engaging into too many battles at many fronts at the same time without fully settling down to address pressing domestic problems such as rise in the currency exchange rate, high transport fares, rising cost of rice, rise in the cost of electricity,  unstable electricity in the country, homes being set ablaze without emergency assistance to victims, the still harmonized salaries of civil servants, strike actions by mining employees, free university education, and payments of WAEC fees yet to be addressed amongst others.

In his bid to fight corruption and impunity which is commendable, President Boakai began his war at the NSA and the EPS which could expose Liberia’s national security operations and negatively impact and weaken the security of the President and national security intelligence gathering.

While pursuing this battle, he has also initiated the battle against the rule of law which was his signature campaign platform by nominating individuals to tenure positions, while tenure holders tenures are yet to expire. There was a rush to the nation’s highest court to place stay order on him. That battle is still ongoing.

The new administration also launched two other wars that might have or might not have deadly consequences depending on the ability of government to sustain or win them. The war to bring to justice influential warlords and the war to pursue former President Weah’s officials and possibly including the former President to investigate and seize their assets are not just a simple ordinary war for a new government which came to power, not on a popular mandate, but on a less than 5% win and has yet to take solid roots.

There is no doubt that those this administration is engaging into battles with are all politically strong people who have hundreds of thousands of followers combined.  They are influencers of this nation who could possibly build alliances against the government. They might not shy away from the wars declared against them.

Though there is the popular saying that no one can fight against government, past events in Liberia and around the world have clearly shown that times and perceptions have changed over the years as one man is able to influence a popular revolution or stir up national crisis as former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf singularly did to the Doe’s Administration. We must take cue from history and make sound decisions for the present and the future with intent to avoid conflagration.

Let’s review some of these battles and their potentials. The battle with the National Security Agency and the Executive Protection Service is a sensitive one. Both Agencies are top security and intelligence agencies that have covert operations and assigned to protect the President and to preserve the national security of the nation.

In order to succeed, their methods, hiring of personnel, intelligence procurement and expenditure systems are different from normal. To order them audited by the GAC is a war that we cannot take luxury in.

Unfortunately, these agencies are placed under audit scrutiny by GAC on orders of the President in contravention of their Acts. A lot that should not be known on how Liberia protects its President and preserve its National security  could be exposed in the process.

There are presumptions that the EPS and NSA investigation targets the former President, whom opposition forces now assume the Boakai’s Administration wants to deal with decisively in a power to power playback-a kind of revenge over bitter exchanges of the past to bring him under the spotlight of shame and disgrace.

The war extends to former war generals and their lieutenants and other powerful politicians to include the former President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who Liberians claimed allegedly bears the greatest responsibility for the Liberian Civil Wars.  These are great battles and strategists believe it is too soon to engage them at the same time. The question is, is the Boakai’s Administration prepared to handle the ramifications of these battles?

There is an unusual national uneasiness as the War Crimes Court Resolution is being discussed. Critical questions are arising. What is its urgency now? How does it contribute to reconciliation now after 30 years of self-healing and co-existence? How does it improve our economy and build new infrastructures that we are in dire need of? How does it de-harmonize civil servants salaries and increments? How does it address WAEC Fees and Tuition free studies at public universities etc?

The nation is not in consensus as it relates to the War Crimes Court timing. Experts are not in consensus as it relates to auditing the NSA and EPS. Professionals and legal minds are not in agreement as it relates to the establishment of the Asset Recovery Committee juxtaposing it to the LACC.

On a serious note, questions are being asked about the interest and real motives of USA former Military General Allan White? Why does he has massive interest in prosecuting the black race for war crimes and leaving major progenitors and white actors of the Iraq, Afghanistan and Libyan wars where heinous war crimes were said to have been committed?

Amongst Liberians, there are renewed fears that this development would bring about another outbreak of rebel activity especially so early at the beginning of President Boakai’s realm instead of addressing pressing problems, while there are, at the same time, smiles on the faces of those who political tables are being served. Already generals are threatening chaos.

The Assets Recovery Committee is another war which is being described as a witch hunt war headed by Weah’s administration formidable foe, Cllr. Martins. Why him? The Congress for Democratic Change through its Secretary General, Jefferson Koijee says the Congress will resist the Asset Recovery Committee. The extent of resistance is unknown. Would there be a bloody showdown between opposition and the police? I sensed trouble.

The Center for Transparency and Accountability has criticized the setting up of the Asset Recovery Committee and calls for its scrapping as it is usurping the role of the LACC. It is believed that if Cllr. Martin was still LACC Chairman,  he would have run to the Supreme Court and pray for prohibition as this is usurpation of LACC functions..

I wish to subscribe to views all over the place that the President is doing the right thing, but in the wrong way and with the wrong timing. There is the need for quick mandate review.

The LACC has records of all assets declaration of all former public officials and it is the Commission set up to pursue corruption cases and investigate acquisition of assets they find suspicious. They have all GAC reports and have been mandated by law to prosecute corrupt officials. The question that requires answer is why set up another committee by Executive Order rather then utilizing the Commission established by Act of Legislature?

President  Boakai is my President and not the President of the UP,  but the Republic of Liberia and we all have responsibility to help guide his administration to success. Views that we are expounding should not be taken in the wrong democratic spirit.

I know this President very well and some of his friends are my friends and relative. And so, this article is not in opposition to his success, but in the interest of the programs of his administration. It is my commitment to see this administration succeed and all promises executed to our benefits. To achieve this, we must collaborate and make valuable suggestions.

In this light, it is important that the administration deals with the bread and butter issues, strengthen its security, sits firmly, execute populace policies that will deliver social benefits to the people and take on battles one at a time to avoid destabilizing its own programs and agendas.

Reconciliation and unity are cardinals to achieving development aspirations and goals. We think this process is being jeopardized,  high-jacked by placing important unity building actions at the backburner. There is a need to revisit some decisions with the greatest urgency.

 

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