“Govermtality” is a political terminology that sprung up from the combination of two words: Government and Rationality.
It is a phrase that emphasizes the sensitivity and conduct of a government or ruling establishment relative to how it deals with the citizenry from a sociopolitical and economic point of view.
French philosopher Michel Foucault formulated and pontificated the terminology in his brilliant and incredible work on the function, responsibilities, duties, and moral sensitivity of government.
The two powerful and imposing words to be drawn from Foucault’s stellar teaching of governmentality are SENSITIVITY and RATIONALITY. Foucault sagaciously argues, which I find compelling and instructive, that in all its decisions, actions, and inactions the government must be Sensitive and Rational essentially with the view of ensuring that it doesn’t injure its people by any means possible.
He persuasively postulated further that the fundamental responsibility and foremost objective of any government are to transform and better the lives of its citizenry, not to subject them to the pit of socio-economic devastation and misery. A government that doesn’t prioritize the upliftment and dignity of its people but instead plunges them into the abyss of despondency and perpetual trauma is not only UNFIT to govern, but irresponsible, insensitive, unresponsive, absurd, incorrigible, and callous.
Could this be the state of governance in Liberia? You be the judge. The economic hardship in Liberia has certainly reached a crisis proportion. The cost of living in Liberia has plateaued off the roof. The masses are currently battered by the worst economic hardship in 10 years. Economic devastation has taken its toll on the poor masses. The Economic hardship plaguing the people is unbearable. Having a daily meal is a big accomplishment in today’s Liberia (imagine food that should be available and affordable for all). Parents cannot afford to feed their kids least to mention paying school fees. The number of beggars in Liberia is rising by the day, an indication that the country is bloody hard (extreme poverty). A few days ago, petroleum prices were dreadfully raised by the government citing global market trends as a justification— even though fair options are available to absolve the citizenry from this blistering pinch if only the regime was Sensitive and rational to the plight of its people.
While Liberians are being submerged by whopping commodity prices primarily caused by the sudden increment in the prices of gas and fuel oil, the regime has announced through the Ministry of Transport that it will begin vehicle inspection on Monday 14 March 2022. This, as we know, will cause horrifying traffic congestion across Monrovia and environs at the disadvantage of struggling motorists who are driving on one or two gallons of gas and/or fuel…just to honor the daily hustle and bustle. More than that, how can a government find solace in subjecting its people to scorching economic hardship rather than finding ways and means to relieve them from the pinch? In a country without jobs and no purchasing power for the majority of the citizenry, where does the government expect struggling Liberians to get money from to meet or service all these outrageous costs of living? Civil Servants’ salary has been bitterly slashed under a grotesque and unrealistic scheme called “Harmonization” thus making life enormously difficult for them at a time prices are spiraling in the skies.
Foucault’s hypothesis of Governmentality (Government=Sensitivity +Rationality) comes to the fold and asks more forcefully and instructively. Where is the regime’s sense of judgment as it fumbles guilty of this idiosyncratic faux pas? I defer judgment to you, fellow Liberians.
It is not Uhuru yet! Shalom.
Writes Robert Moncio Kpadeh