Hon. Michael McCarty, the United States Ambassador to Liberia, has accomplished something that no one has done in Liberia's one hundred seventy-six-year history. He vividly and systemically exposed corruption as a leading factor in economic deprivation, poverty, poor health, mediocre education, insecurity, and a lack of national strategic trajectory. He is a champion against corruption in Liberia and an unwavering warrior for the people's future.
For nearly two centuries, the government of Liberia has shown no passion and determination to create opportunities for its people. Instead, the government works for its senior officials rather than for the people. In the past many officials saw themselves as pioneers' children as a strategy to hold on to the power and control the national resources for an unseeable future. This unfortunate thinking resulted in the bloodiest coup in 1980. What lesson should Liberian leaders have learned?
The government should have focused on employing the nation's resources to build inclusive, transparent, accountable, people-centered, democratic societies and institutions to correct past mistakes. Instead, in the last four decades, there has been no significant effort to reduce corrupt activities hurting the country's ordinary people. Also, things are getting worse than ever before the coup of 1980 and the civil war in the 1990s. For example, some Liberian lawmakers make more than US 200,000 annually, which never happened before the civil war. The president's salary has also tripled in recent years while the government struggles to meet monthly obligations. Can a government that is struggling to pay its bills help Liberia?
The United States ambassador's assessment of Liberia's challenges does not target specific administration but historical leadership patterns. The government's denial of mismanagement of resources intended to improve people's lives could impact the international community's support for Liberia. The administration needs to visit all the counties to evaluate the situation.
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After more than five years of economic, security, the rule of law deadlocks, and a mediocre democracy, Liberians return to the polls on October 10, 2023, for a breakthrough. The people elected the former soccer player, George Weah as president for change. But unfortunately, it is evident to Liberians worldwide and the international community that Weah relies on disinformation and misinformation to persuade Liberians to reelect him as president. Here is the most heartbreaking, dishonest, and misleading information from the administration hoping to convince the people of Liberia.
Other issues need attention if we want a better Liberia. First, why would prospective lawmakers prefer not to follow the law of the land? Many people in the government who want to run for elected offices know that they need to resign two years before the general elections but choose not to comply accordingly. The entire judicial system under which the National Elections Commission operates is unreliable and fraudulent. There are legitimate reasons to reject those who want to be lawmakers but have no respect for the rule of law in Liberia. No question, changes are inevitable, but they will happen quicky if Liberians demand accountability and implementation of the rule of law.
The economy is the lifeblood of every country. Therefore, good governments worldwide make it a priority. High economic growth leads to a true national transformation that may improve the quality of life. Every human being on the planet wants better living conditions. Many people left their motherlands looking for better economic opportunities. Also, others prefer living abroad due to a lack of economic opportunities in their countries. Liberians are not excepted. The economy of Liberia is deteriorating due to a lack of job creation in the private sector.
Unfortunately, the Liberian government appears not interested in the people's economic challenges. As a result, the ordinary people in Liberia have no or limited employment opportunities. The government doesn't discuss how to create jobs in the private sector, but the 20 to 40 kilometers of paved roads and 14 military hospitals built for 2,500 to 3,000 military personnel. Does Liberia need 14 military hospitals when several public hospitals have no equipment or medicines to fight diseases?
Strengthening the private sector should be the priority because it would result in the following:
The government needs to pay attention to the people's needs. The government should work for the benefit of its people. We hope the government of Liberia will focus on job creation in the private sector.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), established in 1945 under the UN Chapter, plays a critical role in setting international standards. The institution makes recommendations and takes action on political, economic, humanitarian, social, and legal matters affecting people worldwide. (Source, UN) To help its members, UNGA established clear attainable and sustainable economic development goals in 2015 entitled: "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." After seven years, Liberia has not accomplished at least one of the seventeen goals due to corruption, incompetent officials, inadequate governance, lack of check and balance in government, unwillingness to change approaches, a lack of awareness of people's needs by the three branches of government, and greed. What Liberian officials will learn at UNGA when they, including the president, are unwilling to acknowledge Liberia's problems?
In many cases, the current administration blames the past administration. The officials might only tell the world that the government of Liberia is carrying on development to the detriment of ordinary people.
The Liberian Future Defender wants the officials of Liberia to look through the below list and plan accordingly.
UNGA Sustainable Development 2030 Goals for all nations, including Liberia
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The United States and other countries spent millions of dollars in the last three decades in Liberia without any significant improvement of the economy, healthcare, security, poverty reduction, education, and infrastructure due to corruption in the government. Also, the nation received more than 4.6 billion in debt relief after the civil war to help the country to restore essential public services and national development. Former President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson Spent billions of dollars she received from the international community on the salaries and benefits of senior government officials, including lawmakers. Nothing has changed under President Weah except that now there are visible massive corruptions that prompted the United States to sanction some officials. The corruption in Liberia is complicated. For example, several senior officials have personal businesses relating to their assignments. This practice is a conflict of interest that does not benefit the economy and the people. President Weah must support the fight against corruption. Please click the below link for details.
Treasury Sanctions Senior Liberian Government Officials …https://home.treasury.gov › news › press-releases › jy0921
Liberians worldwide must understand that the United States Government is not fighting any administration in Liberia but corruption. The Americans are our friends and on our side against corrupt practices that are destroying our future. We need to understand that nothing anyone can do to improve ordinary Liberians’ lives without fighting corruption.
The Liberian Future Defender praises the United States for taking a stance against corrupt officials in Liberia. The United States must commit to fighting corruption in Liberia for the benefit of the ordinary people. There are still many corrupt officials in Liberia. They will use the population to demonstrate for the wrong reasons. Demonstrating is part of the democratic process, but those for corruption do not represent most of the people of Liberia..
The attack on the university students on July 26, 2022, by the deviant CDC and state-sponsored militants, is an attack on democracy. This act has no place in a democratic society. The students have legitimate reasons to express their concerns through a peaceful demonstration under the country's deteriorating economic and security conditions. President Weah has failed to create jobs in the private sector in the past four years, forcing more Liberians into poverty. What the future holds for those students after graduation when the government cannot attract international investors to create jobs? According to the World Bank, about 44% of the people of Liberia lived on less than $2 a day when Weah took office as president. Today about 52% are living on less than $2 a day. Poverty increases crimes, especially in Monrovia. The president has not commented on or acknowledged the challenges facing ordinary people, including the students.
The administration insists that the government is modernizing roads across the country, but the recent audit and our research found the government's claim is misleading. The administration used $25m of the road funds to pay salaries and benefits. Liberia has a total length of 10,600 km of road network while only 6% is paved, leaving 9,943 km unpaved.
The analysis aims to remind the government of its obligations to ordinary people. Condemning premeditated and recorded crimes without immediate arrest is unacceptable. Also, it is disappointing for the ruling party to call what happened an allegation of violence. The word "allegation" means accusing someone without proof or evidence. What happened is not an allegation. A crime is committed and recorded, and those involved need to be arrested and prosecuted to ensure stability in Liberia. The responses of the administration and the ruling party suggest the need to have international contact groups and human rights officials on the ground during the entire electoral activities in Liberia to ensure safe, peaceful, free, and fair elections.
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The political Struggle among the leading members of the opposition political parties and manipulated through Court by the government of Liberia could derail the 2023 presidential and general elections. Notably, individuals are sabotaging the democratic process for personal benefits to the detriment of the people.
The government is pursuing political cases likely to hinder the democratic process using the taxpayers' funds. The government must focus on fighting corruption and financial crimes in the country. President Weah needs to focus his government on creating jobs, a conducive political environment, providing security, healthcare, quality education, assisting traditional farmers, and identifying qualified Liberians to serve their country. Those are the things that could impact people's lives and change the direction of Liberia.
The government should not repeat what contributed to the 1980 military coup and the civil war in the 1990s in Liberia—denying the people an opportunity to choose their leaders using diabolical competitions such as bribes, manipulating the system, the Court, and eliminating oppositions. Instead, the current administration uses the Court to achieve its political objectives. This is a dangerous game.
We want to appeal to the government to support the democratic process to allow ordinary Liberians to choose their leaders. The nation needs peace and stability to attract investors. Also, the country needs free and fair elections to maintain its democratic status.
Historically, no nation pulls its struggling citizens out of poverty without providing sound academic and professional education, creating jobs, and financial stability. But unfortunately, Liberia is not doing well in those critical areas due to corruption and economic sabotage.
We recently questioned the ability of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of Liberia to create jobs in the private sector. Our follow-up investigation discovered hearted-breaking factors contributing to a lack of progress in creating jobs in the country.
Solving the economic problems in Liberia requires the willingness of the Government to pay attention to the implementation of policies and enforcement of rules of law. Bribing and other dishonest activities are destroying the opportunity to create jobs in the country.
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