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Deflated Popularity?

Political observers upon carefully tracking the performance of the Pro-Poor government under the leadership of President, Dr. George M. Weah for well over a year; an individual who rode wide and deep on his popularity emanated out of soccer glory are now emphatically reminding the once soccer legend turned politician that “popularity, like prestige fails when it can no longer resist the force placed on it”, while some put it bluntly as deflated popularity.

However, while others are radically diagnosing Weah’s performance politically, administratively and expeditiously with questionable observations and reservations regarding the governance style and system with underlined red ink; the President continues to dive deep into his showmanship as the unique and development-oriented Chief Executive as evidenced from his recent utterance that Liberia is far better now than a year ago.

Of late Dr. Weah noted: “I am not a politician; rather, I am a practical administrator who believes in promoting and catering to the needs of fellow mankind.”

At the same time, he pointed out: “Don’t listen to those you gave 0.1% of your vote. Listen to the one you gave 61.5% of your vote. My greatest preoccupation is to work for the Liberian people who have given me the responsibility to lead them. That’s exactly what I am doing”.

Moreover, the President bragged about what his government has been able to achieve in a short period of time. Dr. Weah said since the founding of Liberia in 1847, he is the first to begin actual work in line with his agenda before launching it.

Excerpts from one of his official; statements , Weah revealed that “And so it came to pass, as a result of this process, that I, George Manneh Weah, your humble servant, took the Oath of Office and was sworn in as the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia, in the presence of most – if not all – of you.   I swore that I would preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of Liberia.  And, in the process, I asked the Almighty God to help me to do so, to the best of my abilities.”

He furthered:”And this is exactly what I intend to do.  The Liberian Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the Republic, and with which I am intimately familiar, shall be my principal guide for leadership and governance throughout my tenure as President.  Without pretending to be a constitutional scholar, expert, or lawyer, I have found direction, as well as inspiration, from studying it.  I would humbly advise all of you Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen, and indeed – all Liberians — to study your Constitution well, for I find it to be the most useful and practical guide for those who would govern, and for those who are governed”.

Touching briefly on some provisions of Articles five, six and eight (5, 6 and 8) of the Constitution regarding the Republic; he maintained that the Republic shall: a) aim at strengthening the national integration and unity of the people of Liberia, regardless of ethnic, regional or other differences, into one body politic; and the Legislature shall enact laws promoting national unification, and the encouragement of all citizens to participate in government;

  1. b) preserve, protect and promote positive Liberian culture, ensuring that traditional values which are compatible with public policy and national progress are adopted and developed, as an integral part of the growing needs of the Liberian society;
  2. c) take steps, by appropriate legislation and executive orders, to eliminate sectionalism and tribalism, and such abuses of power as the misuse of government resources, nepotism and all other corrupt practices.

Article 6

The Republic shall, because of the vital role assigned to the individual citizen under this Constitution for the social, economic and political well being of Liberia, provide equal access to educational opportunities and facilities for all citizens to the extent of available resources.

Article 8

The Republic shall direct its policy towards ensuring for all citizens, without discrimination, opportunities for employment and livelihood under just and humane conditions, and towards promoting safety, health and welfare facilities in employment.

But conversely, opposition political parties, including Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress, former ruling Unity Party (UP) have termed as wasted time and deception the message delivered by President George M. Weah because his administration has produced tremendous hardships on the Liberian people as one of worst governments on the planet.

It can be recalled that President Weah delivered his annual message to the 54th Legislature as mandated by Article 58 of the 1986 Constitution. According to the four political parties, Weah, as expected, failed yet again to assure Liberians that he is committed to serving as president for all.

According to Chairman Wilmot Paye who read the parties’ statement, said on January 22, 2018, that President Weah pledged “to end corruption, to be president for all Liberians, and change the unacceptable trend of Liberians being spectators in their own economy, and noted “what Liberians have endured in the last year is contrary to the pledge made on January 22, 2018.”

He said from all indications, not only are Liberians spectators in their own economy but they are now also effectively bystanders in the affairs of their own country. The President, his cronies and a handful of foreigners are the main actors and participants in the Liberian economy, he said. “And even more appalling is that some of his foreign business partners have horrible criminal past in their countries,” he added, though he did not elaborate further.

Mr. Paye said public corruption has galloped out of control and noted that the governance is characterized by skullduggery, bigotry, hypocrisy, falsehood, abuse, and misuse of public office and power. Violation of the Constitution and laws of Liberia has become commonplace and is pervasive throughout the administration. The President and his officials are above reproach, violating laws and tearing down systems and procedures with impunity, Paye intoned, reports a local daily.

He said despite his declaration in early 2018 that he inherited an “empty” treasury, a claim later refuted by his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President Weah and his officials have only worsened Liberia’s woes.

Meanwhile, the President of the Iberia National Bar Association, Cllr. Tiawon  S. Gongloe has continued to remain unwavering in pointing,  exposing and chiding all those in high public offices who have found great pleasure in violating the laws and breaching the Constitution of Liberia.

Pundits also intoned that Weah is in no suitable way to hang onto inheriting a broke nation and a broken economy when in fact he has intentionally and reluctantly brushed off massive calls and public outcry to conduct a comprehensive and forensic audit of the previous administration of Madam Sirleaf wherein all will be thoroughly convinced and actually and credibly know where he started from; thereby granting free space for the establishment of accountability and transparency.

Equally, according to him (Paye), daylight robbery motivated by insatiable greed is on the rampage, stating “this has caused a total loss of confidence and trust in the governance system”, he alleged.

“Liberia is now a society balkanized into those “for” and “against” George Weah. Those perceived to be against Weah are viewed by senior members of the administration as “enemies of the state.” But in his message, the President ignored the deepening division that he has caused in the country. His message showed no indication that his administration is committed to reconciling Liberia. Nevertheless, the President tried to deceive the world that Liberia is either still the country it was when he assumed office more than one year ago,” he said.  TNR

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