"...Mr. Weah might have ‘love for Liberia,’ but I would rather believe that he would not permit a farmer to do an open heart surgery on him because that farmer has ‘love for medicine’..."
I read with interest an article written by a Liberian Fulbright Scholar, Mr. Theophillus Bettie "THE ILLS OF SYCOPHANCY" in which he clearly articulated the role that political carpetbaggers such a Dew Mason and Emmanuel Shaw continue to play in political process of our nation. While Mr. Bettie’s fundamental attempt was not to point out the ills of these mice but to
challenge a new breed of political thinkers and advisors against serving as “blind-followers” thereby doing injustice to the country and its future, it is imperative to note that unless such scoundrels can be made to see the ills in themselves, and Liberians can be made to understand the perils of choices, Liberia could never rise beyond the doom we now find ourselves in.
How any Liberian, concerned about the future of Liberia, soberly reflecting on our troubled past and the immensity of the challenges we face as a nation, would even entertain the idea of a semi-illiterate football player like “Oppong” as the next President of Liberia, in a rapidly advancing technologically-driven world, complicated by a variety of globalization issues is far beyond me.
Now I would certainly understand the rationality of people like Messrs Mason and Shaw, in their support and nurturing of Mr. Weah. Semi-illiterate leaders have to be coached, tutored about what government is and how it functions, about powers and how to exercise it, about fiscal matters. It is a handy job for scoundrels.
I do also understand the rationality of many of the young, particularly the ones who like “Oppong”, are equally lacking in education and for whom unfortunately, due to the ills of past leaders the government have not provided the opportunities for education, jobs and self-advancement . They see Oppong as one of them in the traditionally cliché “Our Time has Come”.
What can a semi-illiterate “Oppong” offer Liberia in Leadership? Just the same that a semi-illiterate Samuel Doe could – NOTHING! – and for those who claim to support him, for whatever selfish reason, the reality is blatant. So rather than speak to his qualifications, they would rather ignorantly suggest that a solid education cannot be a necessary requirement for the highest position in the country. For those who are lacking such education, it behooves them to fill the deficiencies in their own lives. It gives them hope that perhaps if an eleven-grade high school dropout could be considered qualified as President, then perhaps the bar becomes even lower for lesser positions in government. For them it is a false hope, for as a nation and a people, we have gone that road before and have come to realize that illiterate leaders attract educated self-serving sycophants – if I may borrow the term used by Mr. Bettie.They erroneously try to convey that Oppong's lack education, qualification and experience will appeal to the many Liberian illiterates. But they are wrong again; because our parents, as illiterate as they might be, long recognized that a strong and solid education was a necessary element. They might not have had to opportunity to get it, but they were sure to invest all, risk all, at what ever cost, to ensure that we did.
Mr. Weah might have ‘love for Liberia,’ but I would rather believe that he would not permit a farmer to do an open heart surgery on him because that farmer has ‘love for medicine’. Because the reality is, that Liberia needs an open heart surgery and the people of Liberia deserves a President who is qualified to do that and even then it will be a difficult task – but his/her education, knowledge and experience and the quality of advisors and public servants will elevate Liberia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Siakon Nagbe is a Liberian, Computer Programmer with Intellicon. He lives and works in Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.