Boakai, Weah Meet Ahead of June 7 Protest

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Former VP Joseph N. Boakai (right) honored an invitation by President George M. Weah to meet and discuss the rising tension in the country

In the face of mounting political tension occasioned by announcements by several political parties and individuals of a planned mass public anti-government protest on June 7, 2019, President George Weah, at the urging of several concerned parties, met with former Vice President Joseph Boakai at his Foreign Ministry office on Tuesday, May 1.

Details of the meeting, said to have been held to defuse the political tension, have been scanty as neither party has divulged anything beyond what an official Executive Mansion Press release said were frank discussions held between both men, and a commitment to do all within their power to ensure respect for the constitution and laws of the country.

But the official hush-hush over details of the discussions has, according to analysts, left the public wondering whether such pledges of commitment to ensure respect for the rule of law meant in effect that that the planned protest will be called off at the insistence of President Weah.

It can however be recalled that recently, Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby, declared that President Weah was aware that large sums of money, in excess of US$350,000, had been made available to the organizers of the June 7 planned ‘peaceful protest’ to pay participants an amount of US$5 each, which according to a security official (name withheld), appeared to convey the impression that protest organizers have sinister motives and intent.

Toby’s statement came shortly after a brief, but mutually agreed encounter between President Weah and one of his fiercest critics in person of Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah, who is a leading proponent of the planned June 7 protest. The statement was followed by a string of scathing attacks on social media directed at all those individuals and political parties associated with the upcoming protest.

Although it remains unclear whether any deal was struck between the President and the former VP, public expectations remain high for a toning down of the harsh rhetoric coming from both sides of the divide as expressed by former Senator and Senate President Pro Tempore Cletus Wotorson, when he paid an impromptu visit to the Capitol on Tuesday, April 30.

While calling for dialogue and toning down of the associated rhetorics, the former President Pro Tempore informed members of the 54th Senate that too much confusion is going on in the country, specifically through the news media.

Additionally, the former senator urged his compatriots to request a meeting with the Executive, adding it is the moral responsibility of the Senate to do so. He however suggested that senators first hold a closed-door discussion amongst themselves to harmonize their approach to the discussions.

Meanwhile organizers of the June 7 protest have vowed to go ahead with their planned action irrespective of discussion held between President Weah and former Vice President Joseph Boakai. They disclosed this during a press conference held recently in Monrovia.

It can be noted however that there have been no change in official announcements warning against the protest march and warning also that organizers will be held liable should anything go wrong.

12 COMMENTS

  1. There are some Liberian individuals who maintain the view that Weah is afraid because he could be dethroned on or after the July 7 planned protest march. Those hardcore-wishful-thinking Liberians are laboring under an extreme illusion. People, don’t joke yourselves. In the name of Jesus, it won’t happen.

    First of all, the number”7″ is very important in God’s creation. The Bible tells us that on the 7th day, God looked over everything He created and took a break.

    And don’t count me out either! I’ve got two of God’s important numbers in my hands. I was born on March 7 or 3/7. We all know that the number”3″ represents the Trinity., In my specific situation, I am very equanimous. The translation is that I am not a troublemaker!

    But it seems that some Liberian political operatives are intentionally messing with the number”7″ for publicity purposes. Take a listen:

    1. What happened on April 7 years ago in Liberia? Chaos!

    2. Did the planners of the upcoming June 7 protest march take into consideration what could happen on that specific date?

    3. Was the number”7″ chosen by the planners in order to send out a message of intimidation?

    In ways that could be perceived as being weak by his critics, Weah has tried his utmost best to show leadership. Examples:
    * A couple of weeks ago, Weah and Rep. Kolubah met face to face in order to iron out their differences and more importantly, to do work of the Liberian people. Overall, the two-men detente went incredibly well. But, surprisingly, Weah’s critics became mute. No credit at all, but mild condemnation.

    * In today’s headline, once again, Weah and former VP Boakai have met in order to calm the fears of the Liberian people especially as it relates to the June 7 march.
    Question: Is the meeting between Weah and Boakai a sign of good leadership?

    I will not cast aspersions or condemn any of Weah’s critics. Of course, it’s not my style to be vindictive. But, I will wait and see what could be said about the Weah-Boakai detente. Maybe, some hardcore critics will have a change of heart.

    Peace

  2. The GOVERNMENT of the Republic of Liberia should NEVER VIOLATE the constitution by giving permission to this so called protest march or any protest march which is bound to cause chaos, violence, and destruction, considering the fact that supporters of this COALITION government can out- number these so called paid or hired protesters, and the supporters of this COALITION who are more sophisticated and highly verteran in such imbroģlio will not full their hands. Cut that protest talk of so called organizers of anticipated destructionand and protest by winning the ELECTION in few years, if you really have the people on your side.

  3. My friend, whether intimidated or not. Weah knows what to do. It is time that he try to do it before it is too late. I don’t support demonstration nor the people nor I have ever been in one all my life. I don’t want these guys to get in the street. But too many loses happening in a short time that even the prayer warriors and Bishops around weah sees, it is God that allow weah to get in power. If weah knows that and the people he is serving, he will do the right thing. Trust me weah is not afriad of the demonstrators, but afriad of himself and the people around him. If a man is afriad of his shadow, what do u think he will do. No one is a God for Liberia nor above the laws not even Weah himself. Power is an opportunity not a right. Nothing we brought to this world and non we shall take along to the dead. We live to impact and change not only our lives positively but that of others. No matter how much u have, you do, you will never be remember by yourself but by people who live with you or live after you.
    Weah is now the president, he knows what to do and he must do before God gets upset with him. All that he worked for, career, fame, name go down like others.
    My friend, Stop encouraging Weah, the suffering of our people is increasing day by day.
    If this continue, no one will be pay to go out and demonstrate or steal. If u don’t have food u will be force to find it for u and ur family. A hungry man is an angry man.
    Lastly, Weah knows what to do, he must do it now before it’s too last.
    A hint to the wise is enough.

  4. Another brother or friend KanKandajaba and F. Hney. let’s Stop encouraging hate and division. Weah is the leader for Liberia. There are too much going on that he is not doing anything about. Trust me, not even my son will do wrong and I support him or protect him in the name of family. If the bishops, Iman, prayer warriors, supporters of weah knows he is doing the right thing, let them go to God to make weah do the right thing. Too many people in the government speaking as president or God above Liberians. They are doing lot of things and weah can not stop them nor speak agianst, meaning he is aiding and supporting them. I pray the demonstration should not work but our people are suffering too much. A few people buying and eating more then they earn even the president himself. How do my family eat when no job for me to do? How Can a poor woman take her kid to hospital when there is no money nor medication at the hospital? How Can Kids go to school when the teachers are not pay nor school materials or food available? How can the people not speak out or get in the street when no food at home for them?
    Stop insulting your poor brothers, Stop telling them not to speak, thats their fundamental rights. We just pray it be peaceful if weah allow them to get in the street.
    Why will u punish your kid when they steal? It is not becuz u supported a man to get in power means u are the leader and can do or say anything and go unpunished. No! These guys have points and people need to listen to them and do something about them.
    Mark my word, I pray for nothing evil to occur, but if it do, and people hurt others, it not be becuz they are paid to do so. It will be their suffering and that of the mass has been really painful and they can’t be patient any more.
    McGill, Jefferson, mulbah, Samuel tweh, and others should stop speaking for weah. The voice of a leader is the voice of God, vice versa. Lastly, if weah was chosen to be the leader for Liberia this time, he will know what to do. If u support and love weah, ask him to do what he know to do and stop allowing other speak for him. Even if he speak and the English is not correct, God will make Liberians understand. God has the power to do so.
    So please don’t try to stop the people nor encourage hate, neither U nor I the leader for Liberia. When there is problem at home the family looks to the father. If Weah sit and do nothing, then so be it. Let the people do what they want. If there is a war, not everyone will die, nor will Liberia be remove from Africa. It will be over and peace shall return.
    Weah knows what to do and need to do it now. Just tell him. No one name nor title can save them but what they do. So weah knows what to do.

  5. Throughout the Ellen 12-yr presidency, her era was marred by demonstrations, and many of which were planned, financed, and executed under the careful watch and with the fullest support of Pesident Weah, then Seanator Weah. And today many observers can say that it was a miracle that she went through that era without being assassinated. She survived it.

    To get to the point: were those demonstrations wrong? I say unequivocally no. The protests, which were predominantly CDC-led, were not wrong because there are provisions within the Liberian constitutions which state that the citizens have the unbridled rights to assemble themselves to petition government on any issues that affect the nation when they see it fit.

    And so, many ordinary folks are absolutely flabbergasted and are wondering why President Weah has become so nervous and paranoid over the fact that ordinary citizens have decided to assemble themselves to simply ask the government for a redress of their grievances. What is even more appalling about this situation, is that it seems like the President is unable to see that their actions fall within the domain of their constitutional rights.

    One very noticeable correlation that I have observed since the announcement of the much talked about June 7 demonstrations, is that the more the president communicates threat, the more the issue gains momentum and the more it gains a groundswell of public opinion.

    Prominent among some of the questions that have now arisen among both outsiders and Liberians alike are: “What is the President hiding that is making him and his advisers to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown and is causing him to want to trample on the citizens’ rights?” “Or is the President nervous about some cynical scheme that is intended by his government to murder and silence more critics and therefore blame it on the peaceful marchers?”

    Why can’t this president see that the more he allows this issue to distract his attention, the more it increases public anxiety, and the more it sparks fear among investors and the local business environment?
    In fact, President Weah could rise and use this situation to his political advantage by using his bully pulpit and reaching out to the broader segments of the populace; and, thus calming their nerves; re-assuring them and re-enforcing his dreams and aspirations for the nation.

    I was not an Ellen supporter, but I will tell it like it is. She would often allow the Liberian National Police Force (LNPF) and other security forces to safeguard and protect the lives and properties of everyone including those of the marchers during her presidency because she understood that democracy and the tyranny of freedom of speech were mutually exclusive. You either have one or abandon the other; but you cannot have both together.

    So, please President Weah let the people exercise their fundamental rights unperturbed. The right to free speech is inalienable, and it cannot be bridled.

  6. If the planned June 7 demonstration is the aspiration, desire and idea meant to pressure our government in making changes for social justice and good governance, it is an excellent undertaking. however, the Liberian people have seen many Juan Guaidos (Venezuelan self declare leader), in the past.
    We cannot always be in the business of fighting another man’s WAR on our turf. the scars of such conflicts are visible on our lives.

  7. Mr. James McGill

    You’ve made some good points Mr. McGill. And the area where you drew my attention the most is when you mentioned that President Weah could turn the situation into a big political advantage for his base. I have been thinking along this same line also; but, unfortunately it appears like the president and his base has decided to crack down on dissenting voices. This latter choice is just not kosher for a fragile country like ours.

    I would imagine that President Weah is still a popular president and still has a lot of political capital. He is well loved by his base and core of supporters. And with such popularity, he could seize the moment and use his bully pulpit like you said to send a resounding message to the country that even though times have become tough, but he is still the president and is able to deliver on his promises.

    World History is replete with the records of many charismatic and popular leaders whose times in office were tumultuous as they faced challenges at home and abroad; and sometimes it nearly led their countries on a brink of war with other countries; but, however, those leaders used their political capital to divert the casus belli (provocation), and it won for them more love and admiration from their respective citizenries. One prime example was the event that occurred between Cuba and America during the administration of the late charismatic leader John F. Kennedy.

    The provocation with Russia and Cuba on one side and America on the other, nearly led to a major world crisis. But however, President Kennedy used his rhetorical and political astuteness to triumph above the situation. And Not one blood was shed.

    President Weah has it all to his advantage. He has the executive powers, and he commands almost an imperial control over the judiciary and legislative branches. Instead of his government waging a campaign of threat and blood bath against unarmed protesters, he could use his persuasive powers to turn the situation to his advantage.

    Caving in to fear mongering and hysteria whether from his party or the opposition, is very dangerous.

  8. Mr. K. Walker,
    If you think that I am a hatemonger, you’re dead wrong. By the way, you are kind of new in my neighborhood.

    People have a right to express themselves. I agree! A protest march is a form of expression. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt or fatally wounded on June 7.

    I am also saying that by conversing with Kolubah and former VP Boakai, Weah is doing the right thing. There’s no point of enmity on my part.

    The fair-minded people who live in my neighborhood or who operate on this blog, can vouch for me. Some of those fair-minded guys who could corroborate what I’ve said are:

    1. Mamadu S. Bah of Australia, a Liberian national who’s trying to become a cognoscenti and

    2. Mr. Right To Be Anonymous, a savant in his own right who happens to be a derivative of a renown family in the Republic of Liberia.

    No, I am not a promoter of strife or racial animus.

    Peace.

    • Thanks very much, Bah. I wish your family well.
      Once again, you’re right. Africa needs its sons and daughters who are tied up in the diaspora. And yes, while we fight amongst ourselves, they sit back and laugh.
      God bless.

  9. Mr. K Walker, let’s use this platform to educate our fellow Liberians not pointing fingers. Everybody has the right express his/her thought.
    I will tell you one think, when I started writing on this platform, many Liberians called me all sorts of names. Some labeled me foreigner, fundamentalist, etc ..That in September 2017. Mr. F.Hney was the one and only Liberian that came to my rescue.

    It is very shameful and misguiding that an entire group of “intellectual body” could go against the Constitution and called me a non citizen figure.
    If no one can defend Mr. F.Hney, I will. He is one of the distinct voice of reasoning on this platform. I can called him one of the deepest liberal mind.

    Mr. Walker, I don’t have illwill against you brother. I m half Fulani and half Marylander. I just recently visited Liberia, went to Cape Palmas to take my mother to Guinea, where she will be looked after by my sisters due to ill health.
    Take care ….sometimes by next January or Feb.I will be visiting Bowie, MD USA.
    I don’t know your age, but Africa is calling on us, the younger guys, to set a tone, to move Liberia and the continent forward.
    Let’s leave the small,small name calling, we have a bigger and gigantic undertaking. To educate others to move this continent from the yolk of imperialist and colonial mentality. As we fight, they sit and laugh at us.

  10. I want for this protest to hold because Liberian official don’t know their functions as law maker in the country

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