A Passion Of Paranoia


By Francis K Zazay

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 21, 2004

It is often said that experience is the best lesson to learn. This axiom is demonstrated in the pedagogical instructions in the classrooms, communities and nation building. Liberia should be no exception to this essence. The irony about the Liberian situation, however, is the appearance that it continues to exist, not on the basis of lessons learnt or on coordinated fundamental approach to effective management, but at the mercy of some form of mystical power.

Generations after generations have come to learn that Liberia's history is replete with huge and corrupt ceremonial red tape, poor accountability, total disregards for law and order, increasingly growing illiteracy rate etc. A classical paradigm of this social nightmare lies in the consequences of the many elections held in Liberia, before and during our time. Liberians need not be informed that all of these elections have, not only been marked by spectacularly poor results, but have led to unprompted social upheavals and wars since 1980.

Bewildered by this inexplicable prototype, some Liberians have found solace in the faulty religiosity of "Predestination". Some are now saying that "whoever God wants to be president of Liberia will be". Perhaps this explains the rationale for the increasingly growing attendance at religious places in Liberia, particularly since the name of Mr. George Oppong Weah was added to the list of presidential wannabes

The mere mentioning of a character like George Oppong Weah for president is a passion that suggests paranoia. The gist of all of the adulation and adoration that are today bestowed upon him, long before he even sets sight on the Mansion, are appalling reminders of a 1980 comeback that all well meaning Liberians must not tolerate. The copiously supplied list of Weah's supporters is enough to tell their defined objective: the shameless wanna return attempt by renegade gravy seekers, who had witnessed and appreciated the glamour of the early days of the Doe administration. This news is not only gloomy because of Mr. Weah's disappointment to comprehend and appreciate the restrictions of his own extent, but it is tragically alarming to see that the few lettered "educated people" around him are now joining him to fault institutions of learning and experience for the current problems in Liberia. How could it be that academically applauded university former students, as well as potentially influential younger folks of Liberia could come this low!

For months, the news of George Weah for president has spread by leaps and without bound! His followers have been very busy defending his abilities for president that is so glaringly unknown to all. Very little, if any at all, is said about what he has in store for Liberia. Among the many qualities enumerated by his campaign runners are his great love for Liberia and his support in taking Liberia's Lone Star closer to the World Cup. They have argued that education, in terms of academic achievements, is not an indicia to become president of any country, particularly Liberia and that the educated people have failed Liberia since independence. They further assert that because Liberia, over the years have done little to promote education, it is therefore warranted that Liberia simply benefits from the product of its own, and that George Oppong Weah is a product of this phenomenal. As a means of running an effective government, the Weah supporters boost that George Weah has "more money to buy the best brains". Interestingly, however, what the Weah supporters are not bold enough to say is that they are merely using George Weah to help them get that which they are incapable of ever achieving.

While I do not intend to give prominence to his candidacy, it is however important to point out that love alone does not a good leader make. Undoubtedly, love and patriotism are among the highest qualities of good statesmanship and leadership. This belief is echoed by many outstanding leaders, including the late President John F. Kennedy, when he said in his famous quote: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". Therefore, George's demonstration of love, whatever that may mean, for is country is a decent necessity expected of any family man and not necessarily a case to make him president.

The argument that he took the Lone Star higher in soccer history should be restated as; the late President Samuel K. Doe took Liberia closer to the World Cup. George Oppong Weah was allowed to be lucky by I.E. and the soccer policy of President Doe, may his soul rest in peace. Had president Doe been alive, the jumble that occurred in Monrovia when the so-called celebrated coach took the players to a disco prior to a decisive game for the World Cup with Ghana would not have happen. Oppong was then the Coach and this is what he did! But! This was just an instant; big enough for me and many others to grasp. The song that was sung in Oppong's honor on that day is well remembered till this day. For more information about his leadership style in the Lone Star, check out Dionysius Sebwe's "George Weah is not a Presidential Material", published in the Perspective. The both of them are from the Lone Star of Liberia.

Interestingly also, the Weah supporters, in one of their tactics to catch to Mansion, are attempting to impress upon you that education is invalid for the presidency. What is disgrace! Be not deceived that education and experience are invalid necessities for the reconstruction of war-ravaged Liberia. Formal education is a necessary indicia for the highest political office of any nation. Kindly take a note to compare the developments of president Tubman's twenty-seven years rule with that of president Tolbert's eight years rule. Statistics will tell you the difference. Clearly, school-drop-out-soccer star Oppong is a misfit!

In times like these in our history, Liberians should be spending time on deciphering the many constitutional and social problems that are factors for the current situations in Liberia. The fact that no candidate, including credible professionals and legislative contesters, have made serious endeavors to take opportunity of the presence of the International community in Liberia to help Liberia to solve the crisis and gain lasting peace, should tell their aim. They are all seeking their own interest and trying to take advantage of the flaws within the constitution. Every one of your politicians is merely hoping that he is in office when the constitutional dynasty is finally organized and entrenched, so that in their glory, will flourish forever.

Ominously, Oppong, along with his supporters, making vituperative utterances of buying the best brains to help him run the country, will be a disastrous choice. The first thing that needs to be clearly lay down regarding this plan, is whether the Oppong Weah has the ability to distinguish between the his so-called best brains that he needs and the worst ones to run post war Liberia. He does not! Putting him in the Mansion is like sending a kid to the market that will have to be cheated many times before learning. This was seen many times in the early days of Master Sergeant Doe.

Liberia has many reminiscence of the coming of the like of Oppong and his supporters. Liberia has once heard and sang the song "Native woman born soldier! Congo woman born rogue!" Liberia has heard and sang the song the song, "Today! Today! Monkey come down!" Liberia has heard and sang the song, "Taylor killed my ma! Taylor killed my pa! I will vote for him!" And today Liberia is again hearing and singing the song "He know book, yeah! He non-Know book! We will vote for him! You are also aware that Liberia has witnessed the worst nightmares whenever a song like this is sung. Liberia has witnessed stages of inhumane systems of injustice when this song was sung in 1980; Liberia saw the worst civil war in modern history in when this song was sung in 1990! Liberia also saw the most dictatorial form of civilian government when this song was sung in 1996. Does Liberia stay want to keep singing these kinds of songs, this time for Oppong? There is no need for this and Liberia surely deserves better than this sure of chieftaincy making. You should know one particular characteristic about all of these choir directors! They all have never lasted! They have fled just as the choir got disrobed. This time will be no different! They are the same characters, chanting the emperor's new cloths.

Disclaimer: This writing is the opinion of Francis K. Zazay and has no relation to his membership and status as National Chairman of the Federation of Lofa Associations in the Americas.