Liberia: “Strange Bedfellows Micromanaging the President”
— Says CDC stalwart
A former official of President George Weah's administration has asserted that the President is being micromanaged by a few aides — making it difficult for him to make independent decisions.
Dr. Lester Tenny, who once worked in the Weah government as Vice President for Technical Services at the National Oil Company of Liberia, claimed in a widely circulated radio interview that the Liberian leader’s inability to make independent decisions has led to him frequently taking direction from aides.
Tenny, now a Dean at the University of Liberia, noted that since Weah is being micromanaged, he (Weah) appears to believe that the living condition of his people has improved, when in fact it is getting worse daily.
“President Weah needs to detach himself from the strange bedfellows if his chance of remaining the people’s choice for continuity is to be guaranteed. These (bedfellows) are the newcomers who chose to exclude the grass-rooters,” Tenny, Associate Professor of the Economics at the University of Liberia argued, during an appearance on Spoon TV on June 21. “They are micromanaging the President and the presidency and excluded CDCians from even meeting their political leader. They are CDCians, but they came in late.
“What the people voted for in 2017 is not what they have today, as suffering is even more in the country. The ordinary people stood with Weah not because he was best qualified or had the sophistication needed for the presidency, but because they believed his background of being part of the excluded class, a class of poor people, he could have been cognizant of the plight of his ordinary supporters and made the needed difference in transforming their lives.”
Tenny, who remains a member of Weah's ruling Coalition for Democratic Change said his affiliation with the party was on the basis of a change mantra, a change that will transform not a few, but the people in general to a different level “of understanding, to a different level of improvement, and to a different level of self-identity.”
He added that many, including himself, did not join the governing party on the basis that Weah was the best candidate but on the belief that he could have configured a team that would bring about changes and improves the lives of the people.
“We didn’t join the CDC because we were of the opinion that George Weah is the best candidate but we believed he could have configured a team that would lead a change. We compromised everything. People were insulting us. They felt that nobody in their right mind would want to identify with CDC as a party that has been perceived as a party of hooligans, thugs, and lawless people. But our presence brought some sense of balance and sanity. I am a party man,” Tenny said.
“I believe in the institution. About voting Weah in 2023, we decide to fix the internal problems now or disintegrate and go our separate ways. This is to prove that we have tolerated a lot, but there are still men who will put up a fight. I am one of such men. I am not going to join any other political party.
Meanwhile, Tenny, in his outburst, said that he joined Weah’s party on the basis of the president's philanthropic gesture and nothing else as he was a beneficiary of said gesture while a student at the University of Liberia.
“It was his scholarship program and his social interaction with just everybody. Those reasons compelled me to become a part of the movement he established,” he said.
“The ordinary people and I stood with Weah not because he was best qualified or had the sophistication needed for the Presidency, but because we counted on his past efforts then to unite the national soccer team and his poverty background as a yardstick for ascendancy to the Presidency.”
On June 19, Tenny posted a video on his Facebook page, claiming that key members of the Weah administration would be jailed if an opposition party wins the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
“Look, if the opposition wins in this country, it going to be dangerous for certain figures in the CDC government, people will go to jail; people will go to jail on perception; people will go to jail in reality; people will be prosecuted because the new government will not be able to solve the economic problems.”
“The people are aggrieved and we feel nothing is wrong. When we try to send out the signal that we need to hold together as a unit, we need to strategize, but they do not listen,” Tenny stated.
He added noted that his party is deeply divided and the only hope for president Weah’s second term victory is a splintered opposition. However, when he and others try to send out a signal that something is fundamentally wrong in the ruling party and that elections are just around the corner, their messages fall on deaf ears.
“Those who advocated for the party were marginalized. [You people] stop fooling George Weah, pretending like you get the masses. Don’t be thinking that you will have an easy ride, it’s you people who will go to jail when these people take power from you.”
Tenny said he was moved to publish his thoughts on Facebook live video after having observed the poor turnout at the CDC party headquarters during the 17th-anniversary celebration of the Congress for Democratic Change over the weekend.
The CDC party is one of the three political parties comprising the Coalition for Democratic Change, of which Tenny is a part.