After The December 20 Elections, Back To “Business As Usual”
By Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
Elected Officials Taking Bribes in the form of "Signing Bonuses"?
While some well-meaning, law-abiding, patriotic Liberians are wishing, hoping and postulating a Moral Revolution - change, transformation, or reform - in political thought and practice, beginning at and on Capitol Hill, the Nation’s seat of Law- and Policy-making, after the hotly-debated issue of whether or not to hold the just-ended elections, we are back to and in business.
Yes, indeed, the Liberian “Politicians” (in fact, the “Honorable” Poli-trick-cians) are back to the “business as usual” of lies, deception, graft, greed and plain, old, thievery, after the senatorial elections on December 20, 2014.
Do not take our word for the bold, broad daylight phenomenon of thieves and thievery; just pick up a copy of the newspaper, The New Dawn, January 9, 2015. The paper detailed a disgraceful, criminal, arrogant event in broad daylight at the Capitol Building, the national offices for the Honorable men and women of the nation’s Legislature, including the Vice President of Liberia.
The Paper wrote, under the eye-catching, banner headline of “Defeated Senators Empty Capitol Building”, that the “defeated senators . . . have begun (stealing) taking to their respective homes government’s properties (that were) assigned to them”.
“A vehicle . . . license plate SCH-WM-1 (Senate Chairman on Ways, Means & Finance, #1) that was assigned to defeated Senator Sumo Kupee of Lofa County, was seen loaded with desks, chairs, computers, leaving the Capitol on Wednesday, 7 January (2015), while another vehicle . . . license plate SEN-9 (was assigned to defeated Senator Abel Massalley of Grand Cape Mount County) was also loaded with office furniture, exiting the premises of the Capitol Building”.
“Statutorily”, the Paper continued, “office furniture used by out-going senators should be turned over to the Procurement Department of the . . . Senate for onward submission to the General Services Agency (GSA) . . . However, some of the defeated senators and their personal aides were seen packing (stealing) items, including desktops, desks, executive chairs, tables, printers, waiting (room) sets, flat-screen TV sets, photocopiers, mini refrigerators, among others from their offices. Despite the items being marked ‘GSA’, indicating that those equipment belong to the State, out-going senators with no regards to the Code of Conduct . . . which prohibits officials from . . . taking government’s properties, are taking everything they lay their hands on away . . .”.
“ A man believed to be in the employed of one of the defeated senators remarked, ‘my brother, I never came out here of my own to take things from my boss’ office. It is his instruction I’m following and as far as we are concerned, these things are for my boss and not the government. Though the government bought them (the office furniture and equipment) for him (my boss) and new senators will get theirs from the same government, so what is your problem?”
“A lady on the scene (at the Capitol Building) said, ‘government has a duty to buy new office equipment for in-coming senators, asking, so you think government is considering that the new senators will like to use those things that have already been used by the out-going senators? That’s not possible; remember, this is Africa, taking into account the African juju and politicians don’t trust each other. So, to cut long matter short, yes; we are taking them (the office furniture and equipment) away to start a new life. That’s what the Liberian people want . . .”.
Is this that which the vast, overwhelming majority of law-abiding, progressive, peaceful people of Liberia want – a life committed to self-interest, disrespect and disobedience to law and constitutional/constituted authority, systematic thievery, other crimes and related criminal activities? OF COURSE, NOT.
However, we reject the temptation to inform/educate these individuals and their senators/bosses on the issues, because it would be a waste of time and effort. For, these half-baked, un-informed, un-educated, pseudo-socio-political theorists/“activists” still believe that Liberia is still a village dominated by the village “Juju Zoe”, with tribal society under the spell and mystery of superstition. They do not realize that Liberia is a member of the modern world community of nations that lives a life deeply grounded on reality – evidence of proved facts – not superstitious beliefs, you-say, they-say and I-say conjectures, but a society committed to morality and classical, democratic principles under the rule of law.
Perhaps, this man who went to the Capitol to steal upon his boss’ “instruction I’m following” and the “juju” woman of African thought are members of that which we defined, back in the late 1990s as the Lost Generation of Liberians - young kids at age 9-10 years old, who took up arms and joined the rebels during our tragedy of the civil war, spent decades toting the AK-47 rifle and killed, killed and killed. Some were killed, while some others managed to survive the atrocities with lost limbs, but lost out on education/information, critical assets for gainful, successful life.
Sociologists and Psychologists attribute the murderous wave of armed robbery and related crimes in Liberia, particularly, Monrovia, to this Lost Generation of Liberians, with twisted minds and patterns of anti-social behavior who believe that one can and must do whatever one pleases, irrespective of age, education/information and law. Unfortunately, the Lost Generation includes some of the day’s “honorable” officials, including some Senators, defeated, “elected” 2006 and “re-elected” 2014!!
Predictably, we observed elsewhere that faced with the problem of the existence/survival of our nation and people during the proven threat posed by this Ebola Crisis, the Senators and friendly politicians chose the elections for “jobs, salary allowances, wealth, class and political power”, rather than the survival of the nation and people.
Now, after the elections, there are numerous, press statements of commitment to a “citizen-oriented senate”, in pie-in-the-sky pontifications by some “newly-elected” senators. This is a plan designed and orchestrated to placate, deceive and steal from the very citizens whose existence/survival that some of the senators rejected for the elections and broad, daylight thievery.