Liberia: 'Be Thou Diligent to Know the State of Thy Flocks, and Look Well to Thy Herds'

opinion

The January 6th protest is now history. Its fallout effects remain yet unclear. However, from the look of things, neither side appeared to have balked, although the protesters ran helter-skelter, having been forced to abandon the protest after state security forces moved in firing teargas and bursts of hot water from its water cannon truck. Speculations are however rife that President Weah will address concerns raised by protest organizers in his State of the Nation address later this month.

A major public concern is that of corruption -- that is runaway official corruption, and the apparent failure of this government to keep it in check. During his inaugural address on January 22, 2018, President George Weah, just like his predecessor, pledged to treat corruption as a major public enemy declaring that under his leadership those found engaged in acts of corruption will face the full weight of the law. His predecessor failed and corruption thrived under her.

Having served as Senator for a period of two years prior to being elected as President, George Weah must have or developed clear perspectives on the ills of the country especially corruption which he should have been aware was a major public concern. Almost incessant street protests mounted by his party zealots highlighted corruption under the Sirleaf government was the main driver of those protests.

Since assuming office, corruption, rather than being the number one enemy he pledged to battle against, President appears to have turned a blind eye to corruption. His officials, simply by virtue of their ostentatious lifestyles, are largely perceived as corrupt individuals bleeding the country dry -- amongst them legislators who are on record for approving or passing into law bogus concession agreements. The Moore-Stevens report, for example, pointed out that 64 out of 66 concession agreements passed into law during the tenure of President Sirleaf were bogus and flawed, in other words, illegal.

But even as corrupt as the Sirleaf government was, the current President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, who was a serving official in her government was dismissed on corruption charges. Since becoming President Pro Tempore of the Senate, he has overseen the passage into law of another bogus agreement with a shadowy company called Hummingbird Resources. He is said to own a 15 percent share in the company.

When queried by the Daily Observer on this matter sometime ago, Senator Chie could neither confirm nor deny the report, but he did retort that even if were it true it would not be a bad thing. The concession agreement grants Hummingbird Resources exploration and exploitation rights to virtually the entire mineral rich(gold, coltan, bauxite, iron ore, etc) southeast Liberia, the poorest region in the country, in return for a pittance to Liberia.

Currently, according to reports carried in the January 9, 2020 edition of the FrontPage Africa newspaper, Senator Chie is on the move again, and this time it involves the sale of oil blocks under what is referred to as the 2014 Petroleum Law.

However, investigations conducted by the Daily Observer show that the negotiations were done outside the framework of the 2002 New Petroleum Law passed into law during the presidency of Charles Taylor. The evidence shows that the law had not been amended prior to the conclusion of negotiations of the ExxonMobil concession agreement and it provided for 10 percent Liberian participation, in addition to a Government of Liberia 20 percent equity in any oil concession, which according to experts in the industry was good for Liberia.

All those provisions of the 2002 New Petroleum Law were circumvented for ulterior motives ostensibly influenced by the US$50 million paid to NOCAL by ExxonMobil and from which huge bonuses (bribes) were paid to officials involved in the negotiations. Against this backdrop, analysts suggest that the public announcement of bids for the sale of oil blocks is simply to induce the public into believing that the their economic woes may be coming to an end with the sale of petroleum blocks.

But far from it, with Senator Chie exercising undue influence over the Liberia Petroleum Regulatory Agency (LPRA) is for self-interest and nothing more. Just what do Senator Chie and their likes want? Has enough blood not been spilled already? He and his like have bled and continue to bleed the nation dry with impunity and without regard for the future of millions of Liberians.

The Scriptures in James 5: 1-7 reminds all and sundry:

"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. (2) Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. (3) Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. (4) Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. (5) Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. (6) Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. (7) Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receives the early and latter rain".

Truth be told, a day of reckoning is sure to come, Senator Chie and colleagues. This is a Caveat!

And to President Weah, the Scripture in Proverbs 27:23 says: "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds". So heed not these words at your peril, Mr. President!

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