-Critics’ Perception Of Early Statue Erection
Since the erection of a statue of President George M. Weah whose leadership soon to cloak one year, although lumbered with multiple problems reflective of a badly ailing and unresponsive economy; spiraling abject poverty; uncontrollable high rate of unemployment; a weakened courage and zeal to battle corruption head-on coupled with an uphill fray to ensure the availability and decentralization of the most needed national goods and social services, many critics have raised their voices against and registered their qualm towards the early erection of such statue and dubbed it as ‘democratic accident’.
Statue in Clara Town, Monrovia Youth Activist, Martin Kollie
In the same vein, a youth and student activist, a columnist and an emerging economist, Mr. Martin K. N. Kollie adding his voice to the early statue erection of President Weah unleashed several points which depict reason for delay if it had to be that way with specific emphasis on the body language of those seeing upholding the statue including the arrangement of attending features and the placement of the national ensign.
According to Kollie, the statue is a true representation of modern slavery and suppression under a domineering presidency and it further denotes the suffering of the masses as they painfully struggle to lift up this ‘Black Country Giant’ high above themselves.
The Statue resembles an all powerful black giant who often exalts himself above the nation whose foremost interest is allegedly embellished in self-gratification and massive greed.
Kollie also alleged that the masses are wearing torn cloths while the ‘Black Giant’ is wearing a well-designed and expensive white linen suit.
He also continues that a woman is being seen lifting up this ‘Black Giant’ under a very strenuous circumstance, alleging that this amounts to labor abuse and human indignation.
“Instead of uplifting the masses from their miserable condition, the masses are uplifting him – someone they once perceived as a redeemer”, Kollie intoned in his release.
Again, he observes that the ‘Black Giant’ stands high above the flag (our national symbol) and even stands on it, while the masses are surrounded by chains and a concrete fence as they ignorantly deify this ‘super Country Giant’ that should actually be a servant of the people.
Arguing further, Kollie pointed out that no President has had a statue in less than a year, yet a statue has been built for a President who has already lost the war against poverty and corruption; and despite of the prevailing harsh conditions plaguing the nation and vast majority of the population, he (Black Giant) likes to be falsely adored and acclaimed. “Any leader who loves himself more than the people is a pseudo-patriot and micro-nationalist, in spite of the declaration by him and his diehard supporters and admirers that he is the only person who has the country at heart and loves his people profoundly.
He alleged that instead, the Black Giant is consolidating power on the back and sweat of an ignorant, illiterate, and unemployed population that is deeply intoned to sycophancy, cowardice and worshippers as being demonstrated in his close to a year Pro-Poor regime.
He noted that the stars that should actually shine above/across the nation are below the feet of the President as the masses stagger in uncertainty and misery.
“I have not seen a Statue of any President where the people are struggling to lift that President high in the sky while they remain down on the ground. Even Tolbert does not have a Statue with all of what he did for Liberia in a relatively short period”, the activist maintains.
At the same time, Kollie noted that while L$16 billion and US$25 million cannot be accounted for under this Black Giant, a statue has been built for a President who is more interested in celebrating food aid and constructing giant-sized private estates. This is only intended to deceive the International Community and Liberians in the diaspora.
“The statue represents an ‘all-powerful image’ that lacks the vision to improve the livelihood of the ordinary people and guarantee human dignity and the Rule of Law. His predominant interest is to endlessly be worshipped while the people are relegated to nothingness”, he alleges.
“Though the motto of the NPP, one of the ruling and collaborating parties, is “Above all else, the People”, but this statue is in direct contrast to said motto. The statue depicts “Above all else, the President”. Either it is Weah or no one else; Charles Taylor who was even a rebel President didn’t have such a statue”, the columnist further alleged.
He portrays that the motto of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is an unarguable reflection of the statue. “Behold our time is now” says it all about the statue. Truly, it is their time to steal and suppress the poor people, alleged Kollie. He then recommends in view of such, the Guinness Book of Records must take note of the Country Giant.
Meanwhile, Kollie reiterated that up to now, there is no rational justification for constructing such statue when Liberia has been named the World’s poorest Country under President Weah by Wall Street/USA Today Journal, November 29, 2018.
“The Statue is situated between two of Liberia’s biggest slum communities (Clara Town and Doe Community). Though this President hails from Clara Town but over 98 percent of the inhabitants in Clara Town as well as Doe Community live in acute poverty and zinc shacks with not even safe drinking water which is a nightmare, adding, that isn’t this a contradiction of this statue?
However, most supporters of Dr. Weah rubbished Kollie’s claim and termed him as being shortsighted and insincere to the numerous development projects undertaken by the Liberian leader in a relatively short period of time since his ascendancy to the Presidency as compared to any Liberian leaders.
They also responded that the detractors, critics including Kollie do not have to look too far to see the volume of development taking shape in the country and while they would not admit the vivid reality unfolding, the progressive engagement of feeder roads in several communities, that 75 percent of the construction of the military hospital is well on course, fees for 12th grade students coupled with the intervention in easing the school fees payment crunch that parents whose children are in the various public universities and colleges were shouldering; the digital registration scheme at the University of Liberia as well as the several million United States dollars allotted to empower local Liberian business people through the LBDI; productive and progressively crafted policy to lift Liberians out of poverty; the support of press freedom and freedom of expression coupled with the maintenance of peace in the country, are just a tip of the iceberg of some of the great tasks and achievements of the government in so short a time.