By Jerry Wehtee Wion
This is a catch 50/50 situation facing our people. But the great deal maker Trump can reach a deal with Liberia. Just keep reading. The Liberian refugees didn’t ask to come to America but were forced to leave Liberia because of the few power-hungry politicians who lived in America only to study/plan the destruction of their own country through war. They've gained political power through the barrel of the gun and only to enrich themselves while our people wallow in grinding poverty and misery.
The Liberian civil war ended in 2003, and now 14 years later in 2017 and our leaders--despite the billions of dollars that went to Liberia from the United States, the European Union and other nations--sought to give corruption a new meaning, thinking that other people's money would keep pouring into Liberia forever. Well, they---our leaders---should have known better.
|President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf|
President Ellen Johnson in particular, the confessed architect and mastermind of the 14-year Liberian genocidal holocaust touted her Harvard University credentials as an "economist" who would deliver Liberians to the promised land of a utopian democratic Liberia with economic buoyancy. "Liberia is not a poor country but a country run poorly," she drowned her gullible opponents and war weary and traumatized population during her run for the presidency in 2005. A new messiah was coming, we were made to believe. Where is the beef now?
The tens of thousands of Liberians, Guineans and Sierra Leoneans who lost their homes, villages and everything in the war and were given a second chance in America have now reached The Rubicon in President Donald Trump and his "America First" new nationalist zeal. And caught in the middle are TPS refugees.
Just imagine the life they will have to encounter if they were made to return home. Many have lost everything from families to homes back home and must start a new life in a country where unemployment is at a record high of 85% nationally. There are no jobs, no housing program and not even electricity and drinking water. But President Sirleaf and her praise-singers are fond of counting her "remarkable achievements" that are only visible to the Ellennites.
Not helping matter was President Sirleaf's undiplomatic putdown and tongue-lashing of President Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton. President Sirleaf, instead of first congratulating President-elect Trump, she went on the BBC to bemoan the 66 million American voters who elected Mr. Trump. President Sirleaf said she was "disappointed" in the choice of the American voters who didn’t vote for her friend Hillary Clinton. Whatever became of diplomacy? And the Donald doesn't forget easily.
Now the American President alone must determine the fate of thousands of Liberians living in America and the nightmare of returning then to Liberia. I smell political chaos if they must return to Liberia. But many Liberians on TPS were smart enough to transition from TPS to "Green Card" holders or legal residents and some eventually became US citizens.
The man who wrote "The Art of the Deal. What President Donald Trump and the Liberian government must agree on to avert the forced return of these TPS Liberians is an agreement to have the US government audit post-war Liberia on how the billions of US dollars given to Liberia was spent. It is called accountability, and Liberian officials caught in corruption be prosecuted. This should be a good deal for both countries, especially for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who once "declared war on corruption as enemy number one in Liberia."
President Trump will then discover that many corrupt Liberian officials bought fabulous homes in America with US tax dollars meant to help rebuild Liberia. That will be helping Liberia to fight President Sirleaf's long lost war on corruption. The US State Department Annual Human Rights Report on Liberia has detailed corruption in the post-war Liberian government from 2003 to the present. Plus, there are over 100 Liberian government-sanctioned General Auditing Commission audits where individuals implicated in corruption have not been indicted and prosecuted.
To quote President Sirleaf again, "Liberia is not a poor country but a country run poorly." Prosecute the corrupt officials, freeze their assets and bank accounts in both Liberia and here in the United States and use the money to settle the repatriated refugees. That is a win-win formula for both Liberia, the United States and the Liberians on TPS. But will President Donald Trump buy such argument? Get ready next month for his tweets on the fate of the Liberian TPS refugees. Does President Trump know that Liberia is Africa first failed experiment at genuine democracy on the Continent after 170 years of "independence" since July 26, 1847?
About The Author: Jerry Wehtee Wion, Journalist and Political Commentator, Washington, DC, USA