From Country Giant to Prisoner of War: President George M. Weah Surrendered to Economic logjam

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By: Alfred P. B. Kiadii

In the wake of the worsening economic condition, the lowering of living standards, the scaling down of investment, the implacable unemployment and permanent inflation that are taking a toll on the mass of people in the homeland, the people have slammed the Weah government for being insensitive. Some have virtually poured scorn on it, calling it into question and thus submitting that it is an orgy of deplorables. The condemnation trended on social media and it sparked a national outcry, and the discussion became a cause célèbre.

In addition, even the somewhat apolitical folks who are indifferent spectators to national questions refused to be left behind and thus joined the mass choir to sing the deafening refrain, shouted their lungs out, and sang to high heavens for the Weah government to speak to the nation. The outrage has been loud. It has been implacable. It came from the nook and cranny of the republic, and it confirmed the dialectical truism that the people act on the basis of the shock of big situations.

For the first time since the Ebola Virus Disease struck the nation, the call for the Weah government to speak to the people was greeted with unity in acquiescence this writer has not seen for a longtime. It was as if the people demanded a comment from the government to allay fears, inspire hope, show seriousness, and marshal them into battle to deflate the economic woes that is racing against time to reduce the homeland to rubble.

Yesterday, the speech was delivered. The nation was addressed. The tormenting economic issue was spoken to. The plan of the Weah government was rolled out to the people. It was the best the government could offer an afflicted people living on the margins of the society. It was a speech the government said would have raised the confidence of the people. It was an address that the Weah regime thought could summon the heroic courage, nationalist fervor, and the ever green patriotism of the people.

However, the speech was far from that. President Weah showed center finger to the mass of people, spitted in their faces, spoke like a thoroughly beaten prisoner of war who has been asked to read a death warrant, or like a dying patient entreating doctors to conduct euthanasia on him/her, or a scandalous rout which made it all the more shameful and ridiculous. He was a cannon fodder, an unknown prisoner of incompetence, and a human echo chamber of his officials. He sounded like he was delivering a requiem, but even a requiem cannot be that scandalously uninspiring, insipid and spectacularly boring. It was a pitiful displayed of incompetence on steroids

And the major takeaway from the speech is that the Weah government has elected to use US 25 million to mop up the excess Liberian dollars in circulation on the market to assuage the inflationary situation, the depreciation of the Liberian dollars, and address the low volume of precious foreign currency in the economy. At first hearing, the plan is seductive. It calls for the tossing of crystal champagne. On closer examination, it is nothing new. It is an old monetary tool used by the Central bank of Liberia to mitigate the deep depreciation of the Liberian dollars, which is provoked by high trade deficit on account of the mass importation of commodities. Such action can be likened to the metaphor of a dog going back to lick its vomit. It is a high-sounding gibberish which hit ear-piercing crescendo. It is all the more Sangoma delusion and voodoo economics.

The mopping up strategy seems not to be workable if the argument about other unscrupulous elements in possession of the specimen of the new Liberian dollars and the noise about counterfeiting is anything to take seriously. Then the mopping up of excess LD in circulation will only benefit the criminal elements and not the market. In addition, this monetary tool has proved incapable due to the limit of the amount that is used to buy the excess Liberian dollars, the drastic decrease in the supply of the US dollars on our market, causing scarcity and raising demand for the US dollars.

Monetary policies are complementary and are used to support fiscal measures in an economy. The reason why advance economies use monetary policies during recessions is because the fiscal infrastructure is well developed—they have established industries, sophisticated labor power, etc. Ours is ineffective due to the lack of those ingredients thereby rendering monetary policies ineffective.

Instead of this banal strategy, the focus of the Weah government should be on short term fiscal measures, with the budget as the foremost instrument for direct investment into local substitute for imports such as rice and other agriculture products.

Of course, President Weah is a summing up of incompetence and national decay. He is a personification of its amorality, political sclerosis, economic and ideological degeneracy. He is an absolute and patent expression of the leadership crisis which has rocked the republic for decades. Its crude paralysis, vulgar display and retrogressive bankruptcy. And an unknown prisoner of his own ineptitude. Above all, an apt manifestation of leadership at diminishing marginal returns.

Our homeland is faced with a serious logjam. One which demands the prudence of action, the firmness of courage, and the fighting spirit to resist this corrupt government. The other, by contrast, demands us to wallow in the inertia of silence and play in the vexing pool of indifference. However, patriots choose the former while lackeys select the latter due to their tolerance for the mundane.

The whole edifice of governance has been broken down because it has exhausted its productive potentials, and President Weah is a manifestation of its terminal decay and crude illness. A new social system, on the other hand, which will have at it center the collective prosperity and mass movement of the people into history ought to be ushered in. But the unproductive bourgeoisie in the homeland, which is the office boy and lackey of imperialism will not cede its class privilege and perk to the oppressed layers without an intense class struggle.

Kiadii studies Political Science with emphasis in Public Administration at the University of Liberia. He is the Secretary General of the Movement for Social Democratic Alternative (MOSODA). You can reach him through bokiadii@gmail.com.