Lest We Forget, This is a Revolution!
Analysis by Sherman C. Seequeh
The advent of the Coalition for Democratic Change government responds to longtime popular outcry, chronic loath for the old order and a widespread hate for people and things associated with it. Like the April 12, 1980 volcano that uprooted the decadent settler hegemony, or like the December 29, 1989 popular people’s uprising which unfortunately turned into an inferno, the December 26, 2017 victory was an intrinsic people’s revolution justified by the huge divide between the impoverished majority, the governed or the have-nots, and the minority elites, governors, or the haves. Like the two successive revolutions before it, the December 26 popular democratic mandate sprung out of a grimly mustered courage to disengage from business as usual by radically severing the past and revolutionizing the governance system, every inch of the way, with no apology to reactionaries.
There is no way the CDC Revolution—or better say the Masses’ Revolution—can be scrupulously prosecuted without, firstly, enlivening and always refreshing the philosophic inspiration that drove and characterized the revolutionary struggle, and secondly, enlisting the service of ideologues and fighters whose inclination aligns with the original dogma and rhetoric that propelled the revolution. This is why it was overly strategic that President George Manneh Weah has coined “pro-poor public governance” as both the philosophic chestnut and moral compass for his administration; and this is why the President made no mistake in his choice of recruitment of the prosecutors of the revolution, particularly focusing young cadres and foot-soldiers who are sufficiently given to deeper understanding of the fundamentals of CDC’s revolutionary struggle that culminated into the December 26 Victory.
By coining and propagating “the pro-poor public governance” motto of his administration, President George Weah has set the basic perimeter of the evolving political regime, putting on notice every member of the administration that he or the government would settle down for nothing less than poor-centered or pro-poor policies and actions on the daily basis. The President transitioned from sports legendry and all its pomp and grandeur to the precarious and life-and-death game of Liberian politics for a single reason: to rescue the long neglected, pauperized masses from squalor and to thrust them into the heart of the national dinner table. This takes cue from the point of the country’s political history. From time immemorial, governance in Liberia had been about an elitist class of people that glued and stuck themselves near-perpetually on the state coffer like bees on honeycomb at the total exclusion of the impoverished majority. As a survivor of this discriminatory and cruel political system—surviving a government-made poverty all by himself—George Manneh Weah rose to serve as the only hope and inspiration of Liberian paupers in their near-endless struggle to be active participants and beneficiaries of the governance system in their God-blessed land.
Firstly, nothing better keeps the President and members of his administration within the ideological confine of the Masses’ Revolution than the pro-poor chestnut as appropriately coined and overly trumpeted by the President. And it seems resonating with the masses. If possible, the Coalition architecture which gave birth to the George Weah administration must develop, in addition to its campaign manifesto, a distinct, easy to follow instructions of the precepts of the pro-poor governance agenda for every ministry and agency of government. And if possible, the President must have a monthly if not weekly muster for cabinet members to teach all public actors these precepts of the agenda, a way of keeping adherents routinely refreshed, and rewarded for strict adherence or punished for deviation. And If possible, ultra adherents must willingly take a sack from the President for acting exceedingly pro-poor. For the purpose of keeping the pro-poor revolution lively, the President must summon and assign agents, including the news media genuinely committed to the agenda, at every nook and corner of Government to ensure that all and sundry spoke, wrote, acted and worked strictly in congruence with the well-sung pro-poor agenda and nothing less.
For the revolution would have to be firmly jealously guided and protected from infiltrators, pseudo enthusiasts who have found and may find their way into Government with the disguised intent aimed at wrecking the gains and forward movement of the revolution and thereby prove themselves right on their campaign arguments that George Weah or the CDC is grossly unable to administer a successful government.
The “pro-poor governance agenda” slogan is a continual reminder and refresher for people who join Government to help George Weah succeed. It heralds a new paradigm that summersaults the archaic pyramid governance architecture into an inverted pyramid mode, correctly put, in spreading “power to the people”, to put the masses on top and in the first line of beneficiaries for whatever government accrues. This means, as President Weah does often, act radical and revolutionary, which must be expressed in actions and deeds—in the way we dress, in the cars we ride, in the salaries we take, in the way we speak, in the way we walk—just every action must be consistent with “masses first” ideology. Whatever and whoever hinders the masses’ growth and equal participation in governance in the past and even now must be declared enemy of the revolution and treated as such.
Secondly, it is good—in fact it is revolutionary—that President Weah has turned his back on the so-called “intellectual elites”, the so-called “experienced bureaucrats” and has recruited many young so-called “inexperienced” cadres. While I don’t vouch for every appointment made so far, I stand with President Weah fully and strongly in his mode of recruitment that retires “Doctors of Philosophy” and the “Methuselahs of Liberian bureaucracy” in favor of the “inexperienced” and “sophomores”. Didn’t the CDC’s anti-elites campaign resonate so well with the masses? Didn’t we all say the political cartel failed Liberia? Didn’t we all agree that common sense and radical governance tactics would suffice over intellectualism and academism? Aren’t we all decrying the reincarnation and the recycling of the old order? If President Weah were to focus more on “experienced” and “overly educated” Liberians in his appointment regime, wouldn’t he be compelled to revert to the decadent human resource pool that dominated politics and bureaucracy since the days of True Whig Party?
In a society where the governance system lacks opportunities for youth development, including cadetship, how do we let young people get their first experience in governance? Don’t we risk dumping the whole generation of young Liberians in the dungeon of nothingless and nobodies and “perpetual inexperience” if we kept ignoring the need to break the glass ceiling by appointing young people in public office and if we kept bringing in the same old hands and faces with experience?
After all, what is there to learn and benefit from in preference for the old hands in the business of public bureaucracy of the ages? Is it the massive corruption, the lack of innovation, complacency on the job and the allergy to evolving technological culture that stands to be learned? In other words, what value or what good is associated with the corrupt and failed Liberian bureaucracy so much that experience with it is made a standard for employment and appointment in the new dispensation?
Indeed, nothing is more revolutionary than President Weah inundating his government with young people or better still with Liberians having little or no experience with a decadent bureaucracy. If I were President Weah, I would not take a single person with much experience with such a debauched system that gives Liberia nothing but misery, poverty, backwardness and the very “inexperienced” and “unqualified” young people that are today a subject of hate, contempt and rejection. Revolutionary action dictates that a new breed of thinkers become the sole prosecutors of the Masses’ Revolution so that the mix of new and old oils don’t crack the engine of the revolution and so that the corps of new minds carry with them adequate moral and professional ground that permits and allows fresh air of transparency, accountability to blow the national psyche and to grow the national wealth towards unfettered development.
Former Auditor General John S. Morlu experimented successfully with this revolutionary mode of assembling a young cadets of human resource when he recruited predominantly inexperienced college students and even high school graduates whom he welded so well with ideological clarity and professional pedigree that dynamited the decadent Liberian bureaucracy, kept scoundrels and kleptocrats at bay and made public service accountability a household name in the country. Today, the GAC is a first class reservoir of recruits for public as well as private sector employment.
The criticism against President Weah for placing young people in respectable public offices, however inexperienced, is a vicious reactionary scheme to dampen the CDC’s change agenda, reincarnate and perpetuate the old order and bring the revolution to stagnation. All those claiming be experienced and qualified were once inexperienced and unqualified until they were tested and proven. If they were so qualified and experienced, then why did fail to deliver? Then why was the “Change for Hope” message send out the tornado that crushed the “experienced” and “qualified” and rejected all the “Methuselahs of the Liberian bureaucracy”? The bulk of those claiming to be qualified bureaucrats would not be today if the 1980 revolution did not break the back of the oligarchy that kept most Liberians inexperienced and unqualified and if that revolutionaries of those days did not catapult them into respectable offices at the time. After all this is another revolution. It is breeding its own kind by breaking away from the old, using its “pro-poor” chestnut to remain committed to its ideals, written or abstract.
At the end of the day, the wind of the revolution would sifter the wheat from the chaff, the struggle will end, and the victors will be the masses shepherded by young inexperienced generation that is finding its way into a long quarantined public service; courtesy of the radical and revolutionary actions of the President and Leader, George Manneh Weah.