Monday, March 28, 2011

Who is this Jeffersonian John Morlu?

By: ralph geeplay

By the time this commentary is up John Morlu will deny that he wrote a despicable letter to the President of the Republic of Liberia

“The Letter,” as it is now being referred to in many circles is probably the most interesting piece of blue notes I have read these past two years. What motivated John Morlu to write that letter says a lot about what is wrong with Liberia, where tolerance and civility are vices that will continue to hold back our country.

However, if there is one lesson that Liberians have learned over the years, it is that there is a need for a civilized public discourse where arguments and disagreements exist, and where they must go hand in hand while counting the responsibilities and costs. An example was Tiawon Gongloe’s disagreement few months ago with President Sirleaf and her government, when he refused to re-join her government after he and his colleagues were dismissed by the president. It is this paradigm of courteousness that Liberia needs in the halls of its civic dialogue

Who says politics is not dirty, or that individuals are not bound to attack their opponents in the most colorful of language reserved for their anger? But the fashion in which this self-described Jeffersonian, John Morlu chose to address the president of the republic have me still scratching my head.

I will give Mr. Morlu credit for building an impeccable institution in the name of the General Auditing Commission (GAC). “He led the GAC, at a time when public financial management in the country needed a push and a brush to sweep the dirt that had gathered on the carpet for so long, as Liberia had just emerged from over a decade and half of civil strife, electing in the process a democratic government,” says a Liberian news web based editor. He continued, “Morlu, was probably the most powerful man in Liberia until the president, last week said no to re-nominating him." Sirleaf, in refusing to have him again in her government said, ‘while there must be differences in the way we practice politics and disagree,’ she intended to uphold "the integrity of the office" of the presidency by denying Morlu a second chance at the position of AG.

Public opinion has been against Morlue since his sordid letter arrived on the scene. “His fans are literate enough and are the most surprised,” says James Troll a Liberian following the scenario currently unfolding, “but Morlu,” he concedes “still has a certain political capital, but has a thin skin for being criticized.”

Everyone knows that the post of the Auditor General of Liberia (AG) was a mere facade until it was advertised in 150 countries upon President Sirleaf assuming office in 2005. Morlu won hands down with many including the EU, describing him as brilliant. He brought a can-do managerial fighting spirit to the office, and in the process made a name for himself. He was unafraid to lead and tackle the age-old problem of corruption, ineptitude, and graft that helped to destroy the country.
The former AG positioned himself as a frontline commander against graft, and at times a little overzealous when he charged that “the Sirleaf government was three times more corrupt than its predecessor” even before commissioning his very first audit.

Morlue was rude to the president. His letter was distasteful and repugnant, especially when he called the president’s associates "dogs." Even the wayward in WestPoint would know better. Even his idol, Thomas Jefferson would be ashamed. While Jefferson was well accomplished and sought to enshrine liberty in the American psyche as most of the founding fathers of the American Revolution were, persistently advocating for an absolute government built on the separation of powers, he also understood that the importance of civility as far as public discourse and policy are concern.

So what is this Jeffersonian doctrine that inspires Morlue? I am baffled because while Jefferson was a wise man, he was the most contradictory of sort as far as the equality of blacks were concerned. He owned slaves but yet penned the declaration of independence positing, "All men were created equal..." It is hard to even imagine he would have written a disrespectful letter to his superiors when he served as ambassador to France in 1789 over major policy disagreements, or to President George Washington whom he served as Secretary of State for four years; beginning the same year he was posted to Paris.

Morlu my man, let the streets do the talking; sit back and nurse the juice. That's the way it is done, brother! Yes, you have supporters, and I was one of your fans until that sordid letter...what in the hell was that gloat? I am chuckling, fighting to hold myself back here... gees! Moving forward, Morlu must handle himself with sass if he wants a political future. For the record, we must all thank John Morlu for speaking truth to power while serving in the very government of which he was a part.