As men and women in arms observe the 63rd Armed Forces Day, President George M. Weah has for the third time toured the 14th Military Hospital even though it is yet to be fully completed and equipped with medical facilities and the requisite manpower. The hospital which sits on 5 of 75 acres was inspected again by the Commander-in-Chief on Monday, February 10, 2020. This project appears to be the biggest achievement of the CDC-led government after 2 years in power.
But pro-CDC fanatics and pro-Weah publicists are getting this wrong altogether. The biggest achievement of this government in my opinion is Weah’s monstrous complex on the RIA Highway. The “military hospital” is far less in terms of worth than president Weah’s private complex of over 40 exotic duplexes. These are 10 reasons why we cannot clap even for a minute in recognition of this tiny “military hospital”:
- The cost of this 14th Military Hospital that is being built under President GMW with financial assistance from the Indian Government is just US$3 million;
- The cost of President George M. Weah's Private Complex of over 40 exotic duplexes with a mini stadium, a church, and a theatre is over US$10 million. The complex is located opposite the Baptist Seminary Junction, RIA Highway.
- The President is also constructing his private skyscraper on 9th Street, Sinkor which extends in the Atlantic Ocean. It is alleged that this condominium has an underground channel running straight into the Sea.
- The President has also built a mega lounge for him and his family which was named after the Country of his wife. It is called the Jamaica Lounge on RIA Highway.
- President George M. Weah used public money to give his Rehab Residence a first-class facelift or a classic form of refurbishment. He now lives like a King in a modern Palace. The President has asphalt pavements leading to almost all his private properties.
- The wife of President George M. Weah, First Lady Clar M. Weah, is constructing a complex on 15 acres of land in Marshall, Margibi County. It is called "The City of Hope Project" which is under her private foundation "The Clar Hope Foundation". She too has said it is her private investment or property even though she has received over US$2 million of our taxes through annual budgetary appropriations in just 24 months.
- The two largest referral hospitals in Liberia (JFK and JFD) are lacking financial support. They risk closure, like most health facilities, due to funding constraints. Just 2 months ago, public health workers across Liberia were on strike in demand of salaries and better incentives. There is no money for personnel and operational costs at most facilities. Subsidies to private health facilities were cut off since 2018/2019 Fiscal Year. Some health facilities have to even rally resources from local residents and/or increase medical charges in order to survive. Our health sector is underfunded and understaffed.
- A few questions to ponder over:
- Why build a new hospital when existing ones are even struggling to survive?
- How do you operate and maintain this new facility when there is no money to run existing health facilities?
- Do you have the requisite manpower to manage this new hospital and are you willing/ready to meet up with their financial demand(s)?
Why did ex-Soccer Star George Weah even name this military hospital after his retired jersey (#14) when he didn't spend a dime of his own money to build it? Isn't this a form of mockery? Former Chelsea Striker Didier Drogba built an advanced hospital with US$4.5 million of his own money (from Pepsi Deal) for his people in Ivory Coast but he didn't name this hospital after his name or his jersey's number. Why didn't Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf name Tappita Hospital after her own name especially when Tappita Hospital is far more advanced than this tiny Military Hospital?
The government cannot be bragging about an L-shaped military hospital that is the least in this region in terms of infrastructure, artistic design, and standard. Can you even compare this hospital with the Tapitta Hospital that was built by EJS? This L-shaped military hospital looks like a chicken poultry in my opinion.
What did President GMW say he is building? A Military Hospital or a Military Clinic? The latter would suffice as a reality considering what a military looks like in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Country, Nigeria, and other nations in Africa.
Is this even a military hospital or a military clinic? No military hospital looks like this. Though commendable but we cannot continue to clap all day when President George Weah along with his confidants has built and is building more private properties that are far more valuable than this tiny “military hospital”.
It would be unjust to our collective conscience if we even clap for 1 minute. So, I've chosen not to be a victim of such collective guilt. That's why I think we cannot and must not clap for even a minute.
We are sorry, Mr. President. Please spare us this gimmick. Yes, I said, please spare us this gimmick because touring this small "military hospital" 3 times in less than 2 years does not in any way address the harsh prevailing crises such as but not limited to: Petroleum Crisis – the Unemployment Crisis – the Economic Crisis – the Liquidity Crisis – the Transportation Crisis – the Education Crisis – the Health, Water, and Sanitation Crisis – the Electricity Crisis – the Food Crisis – and the Leadership Crisis currently confronting Liberia.
No Mr. President, it doesn't! Sorry to say that it is too late to buy time and shift the public’s attention from the real issues. Please spare us this gimmick. There is no genuine solution in populist rhetoric and political pageantry. Such mere publicity stunt injures more than it heals. We've had enough of this since January 22, 2018.
Does President GMW understand "The Politics of Rice and Gas" and its corresponding consequences? April 14, 1979 Riot was provoked by RICE and GAS. The President along with his idol worshipers needs to read dialectics. The high demand for gas due to its prolonged shortage is sharply increasing the prices of basic goods and services under this regime. The "Change for Hope" slogan has become another mere fiasco and a promise betrayed.
About The Author: Martin K. N. Kollie is a Liberian activist, columnist, and economist. He is a former student leader and a proponent for social democracy and economic freedom. Martin currently lives in exile and can be reached via [email protected]