Home Editorial Looking Into Boakai-Koung’s Inherit Burdens

Looking Into Boakai-Koung’s Inherit Burdens

by newsmanager

It is a concluding fact that Unity Party (UP’s) Standard-bearer, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, and his Vice Standard-bearer, Jeremiah Koung, will take the mantle of state power as President and Vice President of the Republic of Liberia on 22, January, 2024.

The former Vice President, now President-elect is expected to assume the Nation’s Presidency following a tense Presidential runoff election involving him and incumbent President George Manneh Weah of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

Boakai defeated incumbent President Weah with little over 50%, or about 28, 000 votes margin.

However, President Weah Administration, by all accounts, seems to be leaving behind ‘some unfinished businesses’ which full implementations, that we think are vital as it relates to strengthening and enhancing national development and progress.

Topping the list of the unfinished businesses, in our candid view, are CORRUPTION, LAW AND ORDER, NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, YOUTH-AT-RISKS AND WAR AGAINST ILLICIT DRUGS IMPORTASTION AND PROLIFERSATION, SANITATION, SECURITY, COMMERCE AND TRADE, EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, just to name a few.

Considering the graphic picture of Liberia’s corruption index, spanning decades, a number of both local and international anti-graft institutions consistently expressed disdain (scorn) and disappointments in previous Liberian administrations, and with the current regime being of no exception as far as the country’s war against corruption is concerned.

In other words, corruption in Liberia has become not only ‘public enemy number one, and a vampire’ but also unbridled and systemic, thus serving as a major stumbling block to the development and progress of the country and its people.

On the issue of law and order, it is clear that lawlessness has taken over the nation, mainly its Capital, Monrovia, and its environs.

Motorcycles and tricycles riders deliberately abused the law on a daily basis.

For instance, most, if not all commercial drivers have blatantly refused to lawfully acquire the requisite permits and other relevant documents to operate, yet, they are permitted to ply the streets of Monrovia and other parts of the country without vehicle license plates, allegedly at the behest of/ or acquiesces of some corrupt transport or police authorities.

Such an ugly situation, many observers believe, impacts severely the government’s revenue generation, and subsequently affects or undermines the provision of basic social services for the vast majority of the citizenry.

Indeed, such lawless behaviors have the potential to drive away potential investors from Liberia if nothing concrete is done by the appropriate Liberian authorities to find remedy to the situation.

Moreover, the growing problem of ‘Mob Violence or Mob Justice’ through which people, mainly young people, take the law into their own hands is more than troubling.

For instance, when a motorbike rider hits any vehicle along the principal streets or in local community, nobody will be reprimanded, but if a vehicle mistakenly hits a motorbike, more than a battalion of visibly angry commercial bike riders would assemble immediately at the accident scene and sometimes set ablaze the car which the riders may detect to be in the wrong.

This ugly practice should be drastically discouraged as President-elect Boakai and his Vice President-elect, Koung prepare to take the gavel of state power next month, or January, 2024.

Indeed, both Boakai and Koung along with their Team need to roll off their sleeves to serve the Liberian people as much is expected of them. Indeed, past campaign rhetoric must be actualized in the coming era.

Reports say there are over 200,000 commercial motorcyclists nationwide.

It is therefore important for the incoming Boakai administration to peacefully engage the leadership of commercial motorbike riders across the country aimed at working out the necessary modalities to enhance public safety, enhance uninterrupted traffic movement, protection of precious human lives and to serve the best interest of motorcyclists themselves.

Frankly, it will not serve bike riders and passengers well when an atmosphere of chaos, anarchy and /or violence is created along the principal streets and in various local communities where motorcyclists operate.

It is also interesting to note that at the moment, gang of foreign nationals are operating in many parts of Liberia’s forests, illegally exploiting its natural resources including gold, diamond, timber, etc.

Others are involved in unbridled draining of the country’s waterways and sea, taking away valuable national species including lobsters.

In 2021, over US$80 million worth of lobsters were smuggled out of Liberian sea to Asia with impunity.

Also, some Asians who were said to be involved in illegal business here reportedly looted Liberia’s Carbon credit, valued US$40 Million.

A British Court, according to reports gathered, ruled against the concerned Asian nationals, but some Liberian authorities are yet to enforce the British High Court’s ruling in favor of the Liberian Nation for reasons yet to be made public.

In other words, illicit trading in natural resources in Liberia has become ‘rampant’ and almost ‘uncontrollable’ and at the detriment of the vast majority of the citizenry.

Another major concern relating to national security threat is ‘at-risks youths, referred to as ‘Zogos’(males) of zogees (females).

The Zogos, many of whom are homeless live in grave sites and abandoned public and private buildings in Monrovia and its near communities.

They are in the habit of terrorizing peaceful people in various residential communities mostly at night hours, as they often brandish dangerous weapons.

Increasing reports suggest that members of this group have now stepped-up criminal attacks even during the day hours.

Just as this Editorial was being inked, three teenagers whose ages reportedly ranged from 12 -15 years were reportedly caught stealing several quantities of fish from a fishpond in the Bardnersville area.

They were later taken to a nearby police station based on the recommendation of several community residents for thorough security probe and appropriate corrective actions.

In other words, criminals moved around with deadly weapons including knifes to harass, intimidate and hijack community residents with little or nothing being done to halt such acts of criminality and illegality.

The situation has become widespread and troubling, especially as the Christmas and New Year seasons fast approach.

Liberia is a nation once considered to be one of cleanest countries in Africa. The late Presidents William V.S. Tubman and Richard R. Tolbert administrations had Monrovia and its immediate surroundings very cleaned on a daily basis.

There was regular insecticide works done in Monrovia, especially during the festival seasons. The streets of Monrovia were also beautified and painted with various colors. But today, Liberia in this 21st Century is effectively saddled with huge tons of garbage in various commercial districts.

Central Monrovia, Paynesville, Bushrod Island, Freeway, Sinkor and Presidential Enclave of Rehab are now engulfed with stockpiles of garbage and other human wastes.

Besides, drainages in Central Monrovia are severely damaged with feces scattered in many residential and commercial areas such as Benson, Gurley, Carey, Buchanan, Water, Newport, and Micheline Streets. Even Jallah’s Town back-route areas near third Street in Sinkor are oozing out offense smells that have the potential to cause health hazard.

The main motor road from Vai Town to the Freeport of Monrovia, has now been effectively reduced to what many passengers and pedestrians called ‘death Trap’, as passengers of vehicles and motorcycles often risk their lives in the use of the Vai Town-to- Freeport Road.

In another development, the common way to define National Security is that “it is the security and defense of a sovereign state including its citizens, economy and institutions. This initiative is also regarded as a duty of the central government.

“It is an appropriate and aggressive blend of political resilience and maturity, human resources, economic structure and capacity,” one scholar said.

However, in today’s Liberia, the issue of National Security is fast becoming everyone’s business and concern as the crime rate surges daily.

Zogos and zogees, bike riders and high-core criminals gang controlled the night hours as the Liberian National Police (LNP), cries out profusely for both logistical and financial support and empowerment.

It is our understanding that the lead of state security, the Police lacks the capacity to do 24/7 Police Patrol in Monrovia and its environs.

Critics of the LNP lament that its current force does not have the necessary logistical capacity to effectively ensure law and order as some of Liberia’s international development partners have slow down their support to the LNP for reasons not made public.

A former Police commander who prefer anonymity for this Editorial hinted that during the days of the late Joe B. Tate at the LNP, the force had three shifts: day, evening and late night.

He said the defunct Special Operations Division (SOD), was responsible for the late-night hours which began from 10pm to 6am.

For now, the current Liberian Police runs two shifts with limited logistics.

It is also gathered that if the LNP which is considered as the ‘First Line of Defense’ is in crisis, the country’s national security would be in trouble.

This is why some experts are suggesting that it would be prudent for the new administration of JNB to salvage the LNP operational crisis, strengthen and enhance the operations of the LNP.

In other words, LNP needs to operate 24-hour shift to maximize its efficiency and productivity.

As the Commerce of Liberia currently stands, it is more beneficiary to importers than the general public, comprising mainly poor citizens.

From all indications, the Ministry of Commerce has lost its power to effectively regulate the importation of goods and other major commodities, as the commerce of Liberia has been awash by substandard and outdated goods ranging from foodstuffs to construction, electrical and other essential products.

The Commence Ministry seems to be playing blind eyes on goods being imported without marks, indicating, among others country of origin or national language (English) or expire dates on commodities.

It is an open secret here that many unscrupulous importers or shoppers changed prices at will.

For instance, leading sector like stationery is always into ‘crossfire’ with customers and shoppers.

The shoppers regularly hike the prices of papers, computers, etc in less than twenty-four without fear of punishment from the state or Ministry of Commerce.

In one situation, a shopper sharply increased the price of the commodity three times within a month at the brazen loss of customers.

More than that, lots of the leading Supermarkets/stores don’t tag their goods.

We, at THE INDEPENDENT newspaper therefore see these challenging concerns as National Security threats, and they partly represent the main burdens being inherited by the incoming Administration, headed by veteran Liberian Politician, Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

The Boakai-Koung Administration needs to have the best professional, technical, administrative and other brains and strategize to work effectively, and salvage (rescue) the suffering citizens from these biting socio-economic and security maladies (disorders).

And so as we conclude with This EDITORIAL, may we repeat a somewhat salient question asked by a young man for a response by the Boakai-Koung incoming administration recently: “What do you do with such Commerce where importers are more powerful than the state authorities?”

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