Liberia: Uneasy Is the Head That Wears a Crown for Something Is Indeed Rotten in the State of Denmark

Photo: George Weah
President George Weah
opinion

The English literary genius, William Shakespeare, in Act-III, Scene-1 line 31 of his play "Henry IV", King Henry IV speaks these words: "Uneasy is the head that wears a crown".

In the play King Henry bemoans that the crown is so uncomfortable that it does not make him sleep. It does not mean that he was wearing the crown in bed; rather, the heavy pressure of leadership was keeping him awake all night. He had grown tired, overburdened with guilt for the manner in which he came to office, and virtually overwhelmed with rebellion when he uttered those words.

Over time the phrase has come to mean that since leaders are meant to serve and not to be served, they carry huge responsibilities on their heads.

In a very surreal way, President Weah appears to be in similar straits as those of Henry IV. His CDC governing council composed of select high individuals from the Charles Taylor, National Patriotic Party (NPP) and his (President Weah) Congress for Democratic Change, (CDC) appears wracked with internal dissent and feuds between both partners in the Coalition. As of late, there have been increasing calls from some quarters for the resignation of the President.

And all this is happening just when the national public health workers go-slow campaign enters its third day with no end in sight as its devastating impact is already being felt around the country. As this newspaper has noted in previous editorials President Weah has to come to grips with the problems confronting the nation and challenging his leadership.

The major challenge facing this Weah led government is that of corruption of the runaway kind. In all fairness, George Weah inherited a huge burden and it is by no means surprising that his would be severely challenged. But how he responds or has been responding to these challenges is what of key concern.

And as the records show, President Weah's response to such challenges appears to be on the short side, meaning his responses have at best been feeble. His CDC governing council has demonstrated gross incompetence and it remains unclear whether President Weah can muster the gall to send them packing.

But President Weah's choices, at this stage, are far and fewer between and to save his government from the collapse which threatens, he has to take some hard decisions. One such decision, in the opinion of this newspaper, should be the immediate dismissal of all those found complicit in the US$25m infusion exercise.

Also, he should refrain from introducing new currency banknotes on the market as it is most likely to exacerbate the fall of the Liberian dollar against the United States dollar.

He should also scrap the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) and commence the prosecution of those named and indicted in the various GAC audits particularly in the Executive Mansion audit report.

Next, he should call off the Salary Harmonization scheme and urgently address the lack of drugs at the various public health facilities.

Additionally, he should, going forward, drastically reduce the size of his delegations on his travels abroad and last but not least he should without delay, approve the setting of a war and economic crimes court as a concrete way to address impunity.

These recommended courses of action are by no means exhaustive, however they provide a starting point on which the proverbial thousand mile journey can begin. But in order to complete the journey, President Weah must take strong steps to dispel any suggestions that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark", to borrow from Shakespeare's "Hamlet". In the play, Shakespeare portrays Denmark as a cesspool of political and spiritual corruption.

In common usage today, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" can be applicable to a corrupt leader and is also applicable to any type of corruption whether in politics, business or even amoral relationships.

President Weah should be warned of the potential risks to his legitimacy should he, by his actions, convey the impression that "Something is indeed rotten in the state of Denmark".

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