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.