22 October 2012

Liberia: Gbowee Ruffles Golden Feathers - As She Breathes Political Gravity

Photo: AllAfrica
2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners: L-R Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

There is an adage which states that if one wants to know and hear about her or himself, it pays to just stir up some issue and soon one will realize exactly what has been in stock for the latter including so much more that one least expects. And so a case in point is the current hurricane Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee has unleashed which has ruffled some golden feathers when she breathes a political gravity by tendering her resignation as Chairman of the Reconciliation Commission while in Paris, France. This resignation has ignited a serious controversy in the public domain wherein it has been treated in some quarters of the society as taking the Name of the Lord thou God in vain and the perpetrator must be condemned to nonexistence for attempting to trek that route. But others look, pause and asked just what the big deal about this Gbowee's resignation which is an acceptable and normal thing to do in all decent and civilized societies. Zhien-Mu, amidst the hue and cry, cataloged some of the contrasting views expressed.

Now that the country is nearly being overrun by this resignation, just what are some of the things did Nobel Laureate Gbowee say? Information gathered noted that according to Madam Gbowee, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is condoning corruption in her government; that the President was not a reconciler and that the President was practicing nepotism by appointing her children to positions in government.

Immediately when the announcement regarding her resignation took to the airwave, a barrage of criticisms and hard pressed condemnations practically became the order of the day with some supporters describing the Nobel Laureate as ungrateful and a complete shame to womanhood.

Others put it bluntly that the President was not practicing nepotism because her children appointed in government are first and foremost Liberians and qualified, noting that the Constitution discourages discrimination on the part of its citizens when it comes to equal opportunities for jobs and other essential benefits; and that Leymah chose the wrong place to announce her resignation which lacks the true spirit of patriotism and nationalism.

A group named and styled Coalition of Youth and Students for Better Liberia (CYSBEE), headed by its Executive Director Ishmael T. Koffeh commenting on the resignation of Nobel Laureate Gbowee from the Reconciliation Commission said it was a complete breach of her international character which signifies her ineptitude, incapacitation and limitation to handle emerging national and international challenges.

CYSBEE added that her resignation is also a testament that she massively and miserably failed an obligated field of persuasion and is therefore calling on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway to recall Leymah and disrobe her of the honor bestowed upon her.

"The purpose of the award is psychologically not for the achievements made in peace advocacy but for the accomplishments to be achieved through difficult circumstances under different regimes that would undermine the reality of peace which is the relevance of the award", CYSBEE pointed out.

However, one of those who vehemently opposed to those chiding Madam Gbowee is Unity Party Partisan and former Candidate for House of Representative/ District #8, Dr. William Barnes who said that the lady did not do anything wrong and the step taken is right and healthy for the nation's emerging democracy.

At the same time, the Secretary General of the ruling Unity Party, Mr. Wilmot Paye also explained that the President Sirleaf's appointment of her children to lucrative positions is causing problem for the government which apparently ties in with some of the faults regarding nepotism echoed by Leymah.

In addition, most analysts started out by asking whether it is not glaring that corruption has weakened the ability of the present leadership to lead from the front in its own declared war on corruption wherein the menace was branded public enemy number one.

The analysts also questioned the sincerity of the administration about the manner in which the Nigerian Oil Deal with the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation was managed with the former Managing Director, Mr. Harry Greaves who headed that entity during the shady negotiation and transaction failed and remained unanswerable to the Liberian people concerning the salient factors of transparency and accountability. Today, he is out and proudly on his own with the so-called long arm of the law rendered helpless and unable to reach him.

They mentioned about the E-mail scandal involving some high profile individuals close to the Chief Executive and how the findings as a result of the Dunn Commission's report which was tightly kept away from the public to at least know what actually happened and who were those responsible for such an infamous act.

Speaking further they expressed grave disappointment over how the Caterpillar (worms) attack saga in Bong County which took along with it so many thousands and thousands of United States Dollars after the public and the rest of the world were being misled by the former Agriculture Minister, Dr. Chris J. Toe; a matter of serious corruption nature was quietly swept under the rug with the Minister only turning in his resignation as a mere cover up.

The analysts also made a strong case concerning the "imposed death" of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a process through which so many funds and resources both from home and abroad were pumped into as an avenue of healing the desperate wounds inflicted from the civil war and to ensure that justice is being meted out and not thwarted, yet it was hijacked and short-landed in some bottomless dust bin only because some provisions of the recommendations enshrined within did not please the political ambition of the incumbent as well as some of the warlords who found their security to be on the edge if the findings were fully implemented, despite the room offered all those hooked to seek redress in the court.

An observer who has followed the increasing volley of attack on Madam Gbowee since her utterance leading to her resignation added that it is never right for one to spare the rod and spoil the child. According to this renowned senior citizen who asked not to be named in print, it is becoming a dangerous precedent in this society that just to be noticed as a tough fighter by the power that be, certain elements will jump out of their skins and join the bandwagon of praise singers all because they want the Chief Executive to hear them sounding in the number.

According to him, this hardcore and aimless culture of sycophancy will in no way help this nation's emerging democracy noting that in any governance where opposing views are stiffly chastised, there is absolutely no room for it in the working and function of democracy. Because democracy is the processing plant of ideas and views from the left and the right as well as from the center- that's why a solid democracy lives on and on and reflects the character of shock absorber.

The careful observer also gave a simple line from a great thinker that any life without criticism is not worth living and knowing that Liberians are not angels, one must always make room or reserve a space in life to hear, listen and accept criticisms especially the most pragmatic ones that will make one to face him/herself and unshackled. He cautioned that not because the boss of bosses likes it therefore it is right for the society, the governance exercise and a painkiller for democracy.

'if we knew then what we know now who would cast the first stone considering life to be an investment that one will always reap what he or she sows and as such it is an open secret that is why pepper does not burn in dog's eyes alone", this senior citizen hinted.

And so where does this lead us as a nation he wonders. A nation, he of truth telling he stressed, is far too above such cheap and empty fray long time ago, it's time for this nation and people to grow up if they ever envisage enjoying the fruit of democracy as it works for all collectively and not barricading the cardinal process of building a health country on democratic foundation with political barbwire of aimless glee clubs and self-seeking so-called belly-driven loyalists.

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