CoP Welcomes Weah‘s Proposed Dialogue

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The Council of Patriots' response to President Weah's speech was signed by Henry Costa (left) and Darius Dillon (middle).

-But not without preconditions

The Council of Patriots CoP, the political pressure group that organized the June 7 protest, which brought the nation to a standstill—bringing thousands of Liberians unto the streets to voice their displeasure about the manner in which the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government is handling the state, have accepted President Weah’s call for dialogue on strengthening the country’s bleak economy.

But CoP’s acceptance of the president’s pronouncement did not come without some daring preconditions. Key among these being the dismissal of Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, also heads of the Economic Management Team, and Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Governor Nathaniel Patray.

These top government officials, the CoP said, have proven to be inept, corrupt and incapable of offering a solid economic blueprint that will resuscitate the ailing economy, and alleviate the “hardships faced by our people.”

This action, when taken, the group believes, will restore confidence for Liberians to embrace the called dialogue. CoP is assuring Liberians that there are smart measures and viable solutions in reviving the broken economy, but there must exist a political will and commitment from the President and his government to put such measures into action.

CoP has meanwhile pledged to offer a helping hand to Weah and his government, if and only if it operates in good faith. “We are open to dialogue and will work on our terms and conditions, as well as the agenda for any engagement, while we await the government,” the group said.

President Weah, two days ago, offered to engage in a national dialogue or announced a call to various sectors of the society to engage in a round-table discussion with national stakeholders.

In response to President Weah’s prerecorded nationwide address, CoP added: “Thankfully, the president now agrees with us that the economy has worsened, but there are smart measures and viable solutions to address this situation if there is political will to do so.”

The statement was signed by CoP’s spokespersons, Abraham Darius Dillon and Henry Pedro Costa.

“Tweah and Patray have proven to be inept, corrupt and incapable of offering a solid economic blueprint that will resuscitate our ailing economy and alleviate the hardships faced by our people,” the statement read.

It added, “These actions do not require a national dialogue, but the political will, which we believe is lacking in this President.”

The CoP may not be a political party or one of the renowned civil society organizations (CSO) in the country, but is now being hailed as a key advocate for good governance and the voice of the Liberian people. Headed by opposition characters with a support base that appears to transcend the political divide, the CoP appears to have won the admiration of many in the public. The group now echoes the voices of a distressed Liberian population, if the June 7 protest is anything to go by.

The President’s call for a national dialogue came barely four days after the mammoth display of national discontent over how the affairs of our nation are being managed.

Though details of the proposed dialogue remain unknown, CoP noted that the Liberian people have won a major milestone by knocking on the doors of a “recalcitrant government” that has resisted all attempts to dialogue.

“This is a welcome development as a victory for the Liberian People. The CoP will offer a hand to the government, if and only if it operates in good faith,” the group said.

Meanwhile, CoP has frowned on the government for shutting down the Internet, harassed and threatened citizens and some civil servants who were desirous of forming a part of the protest — a move the group believes undermines freedom of speech and of assembly.

“The government engaged in tactics to undermine the freedom of assembly, and freedom of movement on June 7, 2019. It illegally interrupted access to the Internet, intimidated and harassed citizens, threatened civil servants and other public sector employees, and even ordered that schools and businesses be opened,” the statement said.

It added, “The people disobeyed, and this form of civil disobedience exposed the weakness of the government.”

“There are confirmed reports that some individuals are being dismissed, and or being threatened at work places in government, and some of our colleagues and innocent citizens are still behind bars on trumped-up charges. All attempts to follow the law are being undermined by draconian tactics being deployed by state prosecutors.”

The group also added that the decision to charge and arrest Representative Yekeh Kolubah, a sitting lawmaker must be revoked.

“The Liberian people will no longer sit by and watch hopelessly the reckless self-enrichment and ostentatious display of ill-gotten wealth by the president, and the inner circle of his administration. Liberians will no longer sit by and hopelessly perish without any solution in sight after more than 14 months of this administration,” CoP statement noted.

14 COMMENTS

  1. The bungling of the Liberian economy by Samuel Tweah and associates, proves the point that whatever the wisdom behind consolidating two very important ministries (Finance and Planning) into one, was a huge blunder. Wouldn’t it have been better were this level of ineptitude hampering our progress in just one area, even as regrettable as that would be, than virtually in the two lifeline-ministries of the country? Samuel Tweah has proven to us indeed that talk is cheap, but matching those loose talks with deeds can be very tricky and challenging. He could make a very good general secretary for that “grassroots party,”-CDC, since we hear he writes well. Just looking for a way out for you, Mr. President.

  2. These clowns in the Senate should by now have open hearings on the economy like they do in the US Congress. Invite economic experts to explain to them what needs to be done to fix the economy but they sit there as if they’re paralyzed and dazed by the magnitude of the problem. Why are they leaving everything to the executive branch, when they know Weah and his officials don’t have the capacity to solve the problems on their own. Don’t they watch TV and see how the US Congress operate? What a bunch of incompetent people running the country. The Liberian people need to tighten their belts because this economic pain isn’t going away anytime soon.

  3. COP allegations against Mr. Tweah and Mr. Patray should be back by prove beyond all reasonable doubts and not just mere envy and hatred for the two officials for which they are demanding their dismissal by President Weah. From what i read on the GAC audit report on the $25 millions mop up exercise , there were no financial loss to the state caused by the two officials. The $17 millions that was reported infused in the economy by the CBL , it equivalent of the Liberian dollars which is $2.6 billions LD was accounted for in the CBL vault. The only irregularities discovered was some entities that were listed don’t received money and some weren’t existence. But it is the dubious acts of some of staff of CBL who received the United state dollars themselves and exchanged for Liberian dollars.That is unethical and is why the president is requesting LACC to determine whether there is criminal liability.Liberia current economy challenges is the failure of the Unity Party of former president Sirleaf after the civil war when the international partners pumped in billions of united states to the government that would have wisely been invested in the agriculture or tourism sectors to bring returns. But former president Sirleaf and her government choose to offered fabulous salaries for officials of government that wouldn’t be sustain in the absence of huge donors support to the Liberia government.
    I think COP should not ride on the flexibility of the Weah led government to continue to make unreasonable demands. Let COP take advantage of the President”s invitation for an economy dialogue and bring their expertise on the table that will help to solve the current state of the economy.As the law of logic says : Before you criticized an object , you must be an expert of that object. If i said 2+2= 3 and you say i’m wrong than you should be able to offer the correct answer which is 4. We cannot continue to look at these four defeated political parties ( UP , ANC , ALP and LP ) who pushing their own personal interest to hold the country in hostage. Under the laws of Liberia , a lawmaker is not above the laws but cannot be arrested for opinions in session and when performing his legislative duties. If is proven that Hon Kolubah break the laws , he must face the due process of laws to exonerate himself from the charges before a competent court of jurisdiction in the Land.
    We have to safe guide our peace and democratic ten-dents in a mature and orderly manner for the development and prosperity of our beloved nation.

  4. Phil,
    From my recollection, your post seems to be the harshest you’ve unleashed on the Liberian Senate. I sense your frustration. Up to a point, you’re right. The COP’s demands are aimed at the Executive branch. Somehow, the Legislative and Judicial branches that are co-equal with the Executive branch are mysteriously left out of the equation by the COP. This is an enigma.

    The lawmakers earn over $120,000.00 per year. As a consequence of the lawmakers’ salaries, school teachers, university professors, medical doctors and lower-level civil servant employees do not get properly paid. In reality, the economy is drained severely by paying $120,000.00 to each lawmaker. The silence of the lawmakers is appalling. Probably they are mum because if they talk, the “ax” of the COP will be aimed at them too. That could create a major conundrum.

    Whatever the situation, we need total involvement. That’s what president Tolbert would like to see done by the three branches of government.

  5. Agreeing to dialogue is a welcomed move, however, setting preconditions undercuts good faith negotiations. Finance Minister Tweah and CBL Governor Patray shouldn’t be fired without a prima facie case against them; arbitrary dismissals stoke apprehensions about job security. In the case of Rep. Kolubah, it would seem the COP’s spokespersons have – ironically – forgotten that rule of law is there rallying cry. Let those charged have their day in court.

  6. Brother Smith, I don’t think it is just mere hate and envy, as you put it, that exist for Mr. Tweh and Patray. Mr. Tweh, by his own admission, disbursed the US twenty five million dollars in a fashion that leaves much to be desired. The scanty records that was produced for the various transactions he undertook, is laughable. He himself knows that he is lying to his teeth. He is surrounded by too much controversy. I would have resign, but that is just me.

    These are trying times for our beloved Liberia, and it will take the collective effort of us all to bring our country back from the brink of disaster.

  7. S.G. Moses,
    I agree. If Tweah and Patray are presumed guilty, the courts should decide their fate.

    Just because the opposition feels that Tweah and Patray are responsible for economic crimes against the Liberian Republic does not mean they should be terminated without a court hearing. Neither does it mean that Weah should kow-tow to the opposition’s demands because the opposition has a better grip and understanding on all of Liberia’s political and economic issues.

    Democracy works well when people process their strategies in a civilized manner. The recent June 7 protest march went well. The protesters were adequately informed. The law enforcement officials were restrained. The protest may occur again. The protesters have a God-given right as well as a political right to plan and organize non-violently. We’ll get there someday.

  8. Bro. Hney, I agreed with you that the Protesters and the law enforcement officials were tested by history. When the curve of history rose, they, too, rose to meet it. i congratulate them wholeheartedly.

  9. Thanks very much comrade Joe,
    I was scared before the march on June 7. I went to DC, on the 7th, stayed in the car and drove on 16th street and then eventually on Colorado. The Liberian embassy is situated in that area, 16th and Colorado, NW.

    The few Liberians I saw, were behaved. Most of them wore white T-Shirts. I drove off when it became clear that no disorderly conduct was intended. The fact that violence did not occur should not be construed as an anomaly. As I said earlier, we are getting there democratically.

    Liberia is listed as the world’s 4th poorest country. That poor status of ours came about as a consequence of the nasty war that took so many innocent lives. We are building from scratch. Ghana and other West African countries are better off not because we Liberians are stupid. Of course in some situations we are. But as we fought for 14 years amongst ourselves, some neighboring countries were at peace. The point that I am trying to expose is that those in the opposition must proceed with maximum caution always. The opposition has a right to question whatever.
    Liberians do not want a violent overthrow. It will set us back if violent force is used to accomplish an end.

    Peace

  10. Sorry, but the CoP must know that Weah and his entire cabal (Tweah and Patray included) are much too corrupt and incompetent to do the right thing for Liberia. Left to their own devises, these clowns will simply ignore the people’s grand petition of June 7 and continue stealing whatever they can while destroying the economy. It would make more sense to call for the immediate peaceful resignation of the Weah government, to enable the Liberian people carefully identify and elect more competent, honest, and patriotic fellow citizens to run the country.

    No “band aid” remedy can cure the cancer now devouring our nation’s body, mind, and soul. Real good medicine is needed. An inept and corrupt woman wasted twelve valuable years only indulging in self-aggrandizement; Liberians cannot afford to waste another twelve like that; they would altogether lose their beloved, but beleaguered, country if they did not wake up and do the right thing – but, of course, only with love and nonviolence.

  11. I don’t mean to suggest that Liberians are dishonest. Sadly, I don’t know too many of them. Forgive me. Maybe you are one of the most honest. That’s positive! You write like a coolheaded educated guy. If you throw your hat in the ring during the upcoming presidential elections, I might have a change of heart.

    I could be wrong. But I don’t think Weah and his government will stand down without a bloody fight. The line was drawn in the sand in 2017 for Weah to serve for a 6-year term. He will do his 6 years. Like Johnson-Sirleaf, I am 100% certain that Weah will contest the 2023 presidential elections. (My predictions are usually off the charts. I could be wrong again.

    It hurts. I am not naive or insensitive. People are complaining because of the difficult times in our country. I am forever hearing pitiful stories from my family. They say, “big brother, can you help me pay my rent”? I am sure you receive similar calls. Forgive me if I am wrong.

    Hypothetically, if Weah steps down, who replaces him? Jewel-Taylor? Is Jewel-Taylor an honest individual? Is she competent? Again, let’s assume for a second that Jewel-Taylor is honest and competent. The question is why isn’t she putting forth her best economic and political ideas on the table at this time? What is she waiting for? Is she a part time VP?

    Okay. Using the same scenario, if VP Jewel-Taylor does not replace Weah, who replaces him? Do the opposition political parties have the constitutional right to put forth an honest Liberian politician who could serve out the remaining 4 years? Or will the constitution be abrogated or amended?

  12. Weah has no interest in dialogue. This is just false public pretense intended to fool the international community. Watch my words. Weah’s interest is to use force and intimidation and even kill opponents of his criminal regime. This is why he has employed the services of former war generals to do his dirty job. Weah and his CDC criminal gangsters do not have any interest in a peaceful dialogue because he and his officials are involved in the stealing of the people’s money. He will not arrest or prosecute Tweah, Patrey or any person or persons connected with the missing 25m and Liberian 18b. What Liberians voted for in Liberia is a complete criminal empire, not a responsible government. Take this comment to the bank.

  13. It is written, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The word “all” is applicable to every God-created human being. There’re nihilists who may not agree with me. But that’s understandable since I am aware of the fact that every human being is entitled to his or her opinions.

    Weah is not perfect. Like all of us, Weah has his ingrained frailties. Secondly, throughout this discourse, I have not said that our economy is good. The Liberian economy needs to be fixed. Jobs are needed. Roads must be built and maintained. People who work must be paid. I agree 100% that we need to move forward. We’ve sat in the third world for a very long time. It’s about time we had become aggressive. We are not spackers.

    In December of 2017, Liberians wanted a change. The Liberian people went to the polls and voted democratically. The Liberian people did not vote for a criminal, but rather a human being named George Weah. Because of his frailties, he may have appointed some dishonest Liberians in his government.
    Like you, and every unhappy Liberian, I hope and pray that as we move forward, Weah will make improvements. I hope that he’ll make changes not because he’s being forced by outside forces. He should do it because it’s the right thing to be done for the country. Please, let’s give him a break!

    Weah’s critics need to understand that it takes time in order for any nation’s economy to turn around. Let’s be judicious. Weah inherited a weak economy from his predecessor, Johnson-Sirleaf. The weakness of an inherited economy in conjunction to “some dishonest” Liberians who may have been appointed are responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. I am not making excuses for Weah. He’s the president. But I am stating the truth that’s often forgotten by Weah’s critics.

    America is undoubtedly a developed country. Sometimes, the economy of the US loses its full steam despite the fact that the US is developed. Example, in 2009 when Obama became president, the US economy was in the tank. The inherited weak US economy spilled over for two more years. In other words, it took 4 years (2007-11) before the US economy showed positive signs of growth.

    So what’s about Liberia? An inherited weak economy from Johnson-Sirleaf has been and continues to be a stumbling block for Weah. The other point is that if it took 4 years (2007-11) in order for the US economy to show positive signs of growth, it may take us a few years. I personally hope not.

    Finally, I have my share of critics. My critics think that I am a status quo person. They think that I defend Weah because of my own selfish interest. That’s far from the truth. I identify with the preoles. I don’t support dishonesty at all. Our situation will be enhanced if we proceed democratically. Let’s walk with Weah. Let’s put forth our best proposals for national development.

    Peace.

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