Liberia: Eschew Mere Rhetoric in Anti-Corruption Fight

Despite claims and counter-claims over the actual status of corruption vis-à-vis efforts to contain the pandemic, only strangers to this country will believe it is time to celebrate. The trail of willful theft, plunder and pillage is too long and overwhelming for this country and its people to bask in the tranquilizing euphoria of complacency and contentment. We hope, therefore, that as the nation joins its compatriots around the globe to observe the United Nations declared International Anti-Corruption Day, Liberians should do so realizing that victory is farfetched and that corruption still remains our chief foe.

When President Sirleaf summoned her young cabinet in 2006 to rise up against “public enemy number one”—her characterization of corruption—Liberians were hopeful that public thieves, scoundrels and kleptocrafts were about to face the toughest times in their protracted debilitating schemes against the people of this country. Many had hoped that lip-service and pretences, which historically underpin political will in the fight against corruption, were on their deathbeds. Not too many people knew that the belligerent rhetoric President Sirleaf used to rally supporters and officials of Government against corruption were a mere posturing.

Today, some seven years ago, it remains clear that economic pirates and fiscal hoodlums are still having a field day. They are plowing the public treasury with their unmerciful dagger. Hardly a day passes by with one media organ or another not reporting graft, corruption and loot of public resources. And, ironically, these reports don’t seem to appeal to the consciences of those charged with the responsibility to fight corruption. Determined and robust handling of culprits and suspects has given way to excuses and compromises.