Liberia: A Time for Sober Reflection and Action

 President George Weah.

As President Weah and his cabinet gather in retreat in Ganta, Nimba County to review its performance over the last four years and chart a course for the remaining sixteen (16) months of his tenure, the Daily Observer wishes to give him this reminder from the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1 of the Holy Bible.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (New King James Version)
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.

We at the Daily Observer urge President Weah to take this retreat with the seriousness it deserves. This is because there is hardly sufficient time left on his tenure to turn things around for the better.

Too much is at stake and there are high expectations that something good will come out of this retreat. We hasten to remind President Weah and his cabinet that this retreat should not be just another talkfest as critics of this government suggest.

Neither should it be an opportunity for government officials to showboat and indulge in arrogant and lavish displays of extravagance and opulence. We say this because from experience this is just what many officials will certainly do. We recall, for example, that since this government came to power it has organized a number of fora to discuss issues of national concern especially matters of security and the economy. 

It is no secret that the economy is in dire straits and, despite promises and assurances of “better days” ahead, it remains unclear if those promised better days will materialize by or before the end of President Weah’s tenure of office comes to an end in 2023. But, as “hope springs eternal in the human breast,” the Liberian people continue to nurture hopes of a turn- around in fortunes. Rather, things appear to be going downhill with no signs of an upturn anytime soon.

However, “better late than never,” it is often said. With sixteen months left on President Weah’s tenure, there is much he can do in setting things right. There are a host of suggestions on what he could do before his tenure comes to an end. One of those things, to which he needs to pay serious attention, is the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Key members of his inner circle, in the eyes of the public, are over-playing their hands in the electoral body which, more than anything else, according to critics, is serving to build unnecessary tension and may serve to undermine President Weah’s second term quest.

This is because if left unchecked, it could possibly serve to unite the opposition, if not the broad spectrum of the population, into casting a vote against him at the 2023 polls. The second most important issue of current concern, which President Weah is urged to factor into his discourse at the retreat, is that of the current fuel/petroleum crisis. 

In its July 6, 2022, Editorial headlined, “Senate Probe into LPRC Operations Should be Far-Reaching and Overarching” the Daily Observer urged this government to launch an investigation into reports of illegal diversion of and trucking of petroleum products over the border into Guinea.

But apparently, no heed was paid to such admonition. Invariably, it has now turned out that Petro Trade has reported that 1.5 million gallons of fuel have gone missing from the LPRC Storage tanks without explanation, according to a July 1, FrontPage Africa report. Probably, had relevant officials taken note of the concerns raised in the Daily Observer’s July 6, editorial and acted accordingly, the current petroleum crisis could have been averted.

It is possible though, that President Weah may not have read the editorial, nor had his officials. Such would be inexcusable for top aides to the President to not monitor issues of public concern being raised in the media.

As to how long the fuel crisis will play out, remains unclear. What also remains unclear is whether all the relevant officials concerned are interested in solving the problem.  This is in view of reports suggesting that top officials of this government were alleged to be involved in the illegal diversion of fuel across the border into Guinea. 

Now, whether or not such and other key concerns will feature in the discourse at the ongoing retreat remains unclear. This newspaper will however urge President Weah and his cabinet to factor in some — if not all — key concerns during the ongoing retreat. 

As suggested earlier, this retreat should not be just another talkfest. It should be a time of sober reflection, following which ACTION should flow. As the Bible reminds us in Ecclesiastes, there is a time and season for everything. Now is the time for sober reflection and action.