The sacrifices were made by all Liberians to bring about the true democratic values among which are freedom of the press, speech, movement, contempt for tribalism and etc. But it seems, only few are benefiting and the few who are benefiting want they alone to benefit. The latest case in point is the cancellation of salaries of chiefs and elders due to budgetary constraints.
But the budgetary constraints can only affect the poor chiefs and elders, not the demigods, who carry home fat salaries and exorbitant allowances and gifts, and now demanding a huge pension after they have pillaged plenty of money and retired.
But the preceding paragraphs are not the main discussion of this article.
The former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in her exit press conference, said one remarkable thing to the Liberian people. She said Liberian Government officials like to be treated like small gods, though she did not give details. And the people do actually worship government officials at the pleasure of the worshiped.
What did she mean? She saw how, instead of being the servants of the people, government officials make the people their servants. And this is acted in a variety of ways; the simple way and the manipulative way, both of which can be enticing and appealing to the emotions of the people.
The simple way is when a government official entices a group from a community and asks the group to lead a campaign to honor him only because he is their representative, senator, superintendent, etc. The simplest way is the people themselves would line up in their government official’s premises to beg for money, and in the process worship the government official—while the official enjoys it.
The manipulative way is donations in return for glory and become demigods. If you, as a private citizen or individual is earning plenty money you can personally make donations to any group of people, but for government officials to make donations, is disagreeable.
It is very impossible for an individual government official to, for example, build or repair a road, build hospital, clinic, school, market building, give out loans, give out vehicles, etc. Now, let’s hit the nail on the head by giving an example to individual government officials, or this article loses its purpose.
Right before my eyes in Gulf, New Georgia, the citizens honored Mr. John Davis, Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) and his family, because he repaired a road in their area. They did not only honor him, he has also become a demigod in the area, and he was asked to run for an elected position of his choice. People go to his house every day, weekends and holidays for handouts and others. It is no doubt these demigods will soon manifest their political wishes.
The Central Bank of Liberia’s governor, Mills Jones also has become another demigod. Instead of the credit going to the bank and the taxpayers of Liberia, Mills Jones is drawing a huge popularity from everywhere he goes, because it appears he does not tell the people, the loans are not his personal money. But as stated earlier, the worshipped enjoy being worshipped. At the end of the day, Mills Jones has been accused of using taxpayers’ fund to solicit political support. This is why the Legislature is seeking the amendment of the Act that created the CBL. When amended, Mills Jones and others would have to resign their posts three years prior to election. This is because they, for example, would not be in the advantageous position over their opponents.
The president of Liberia has her picture on the public transport buses as if she owns them. She uses taxpayers’ money to make donations and claims the credit for those donations for popularity sake and for her to be flattered and worshiped. Was the former U.S. ambassador wrong? Absolutely not!
Robert Sirleaf goes around donating and doing so-called development using taxpayers’ money and claims the credit, so that the people can worship him like demigod and elect him to public office. Was the former U.S. ambassador wrong? Absolutely not!
Months ago, Representative Gray constructed a stairway for the Slipway Community, using taxpayers’ money and claimed the credit, instead of letting the people know the money used for that project is part of county’s development funds. This article can go on to create a laundry list of government officials who use development funds as their own to make the people worship and vote for them, but a hint to a wise is quite sufficient.
However, a criticism without suggestions to correct what is being criticized is impracticable. It is a shame, like the U.S. former ambassador said, for the people of Liberia to become servants to the people, who actually are supposed to be the servants to the people. And it is a shame for the people of Liberia to live on handouts from their leaders. Instead, let the government directly use the allocated funds from the budget for local and national development rather than personally or in any form of corruption, take money from the budget and use it for petit development and handouts to the people and in return be worshiped and elected or reelected.
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