Defying Odds, Pres. Weah, Rep. Kolubah Meet

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Pres. Weah (left) in a handshake with Rep. Kolubah shortly after their Monday meeting.

…calm public fears of outbreak of violence

Despite an earlier pronouncement by Minister of State for Presidential Affairs that Montserrado County District #10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah would never have audience with President George Weah, the two men, in an apparent attempt to defuse heightened tension and allay public fears of a repeat of April 6, 1996, met on Monday, April 22, along with a group of legislators at Weah’s residence in Paynesville.

The meeting which was held in a spirit of mutual respect was intended to reassure the public of government’s commitment to peace, security and the rule of law. It was also intended to bridge the division between Representative Kolubah and President Weah which had developed since Representative Kolubah began publicly criticizing and attacking his policies.

During their engagement President Weah inquired from Rep. Kolubah if he (President Weah) had done anything personal to him that provoked him into throwing what he described as insults against him but, the Representative replied in the negative.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of State Nathaniel McGill, Information Lenn Eugene Nagbe, National Security Advisor Jefferson Kanmoh, and Deputy Press Secretary Smith Toby. The entire leadership of the ILC arranged the meeting and accompanied Rep. Kolubah.

Although the city was abuzz with rumors of apologies tendered to President Weah during the meeting, Rep. Kolubah, however told reporters that he did not apologize to the President, but admitted that the meeting was cordial and that he and the President had no prior personal disagreement.

He said his anger was about what he called the mischievous management of the House of Representatives by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, who he referred to as the President’s “remote control.” He asked the President to schedule another meeting after the burial of their mutual friend, the late Representative Adolf A. Lawrence, “so I can give you details”; the President agreed.

The President said he was happy to learn that he had not offended the lawmaker at any time. He called on lawmakers not to engage in transferring their aggressions to innocent people other than those who offend them. The meeting between the pair is the first and comes as preface to a planned June 7 protest aimed at pressurizing President Weah to clamp down on widespread corruption in his administration.

The development comes as Ambassador, Babatunde Ajisomo, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and other partners, have been engaging the government, as well as the opposition to promote dialogue aimed at easing brewing political tension.

“We are telling government to open the political space, because we had a meeting with President George Weah on Monday, April 15, 2019, and we met with all the collaborating political parties on the need for peaceful dialogue.

What Liberia needs now is dialogue. That is, all hands should be on deck,” Amb. Ajisomo told the Liberia News Agency recently. Amb. Ajisomo is meanwhile urging citizens to protect the key elements that bind them, including the rule of law, democracy, and respect of other people’s opinions. He also urged citizens to engage in “constructive criticism” of the government with a view to preserve the country’s peace and stability, “even amid political and economic issues.”

In a related development Representative Kolubah, who spoke to reporters at his district headquarters following the meeting with Justice Minister Musa Dean said, although his communication was denied by Speaker Bhofal Chambers, he will do everything to ensure it is placed on the House’s floor upon that body’s return from its Easter break.

However, it can be recalled that Representative Kolubah has in the past accused President Weah of violating the laws of the country and urged that he should be impeached as in the case of Former Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.

Meanwhile the District#10 Lawmaker, following the meeting with President Weah, has also promised to refrain from making comments that could undermine the country’s peace.

Rep. Kolubah however promised to remain critical of the CDC led government.
Additionally, he said his meeting at the Ministry of Justice on Monday went better than expected, but said the discussions were centered more on peace than charges and arrest.

Kolubah reiterated that he is not a violent man, but is interested in the maintenance of peace and stability in the country. It can be recalled that the lawmaker was summoned by Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean last week to appear at the Justice Ministry to clarify a recent statement attributed to the lawmaker regarding the “removal of the President.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. When I was a student at St. Patrick’s Elementary School (now Cathedral High School) in the early 60’s, I first heard this saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

    This wise saying followed me throughout my professional life until my retirement. I noticed that in present day Liberia, there are too many idle minds wandering the streets while “do-nothing”, “over-paid”, law makers and government officials are trading insults instead of coming together to brainstorm and find workable solutions to Liberia’s massive economic problems.

    During President Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign against then sitting president the late George H. W. Bush, the American economy was going south and Bill Clinton was smart enough to seize on the American people economic frustration by coming up with a catchy slogan for the late President Bush, “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.”

    Bill Clinton message resonated. It was strictly based on revitalizing America’s weak economy that led to him winning the Presidency by defeating the late George W. H. Bush in 1992.

    Similarly, I don’t believe President Weah realizes the magnitude of the economic crises he inherited from his predecessor. The enormity of Liberia’s economic, social, political, legal and structural problems are overwhelming to the extent that President Weah took it for granted during his first year in office until the economy when into a downward spiral.

    Any leader who inherits a broken country like Liberia with a severely weak economy will be very extremely mindful and cognizant in the early part of his administration not to focus on achieving his personal aggrandizement: because it gives the wrong impression (bad antics) by immediately developing personal properties when the masses elected this president and the CDC government as a testament to help alleviate their hardships and bring some economic relief into their lives.

    I do not agree with the all the militancy, disrespect and rudeness going in congress; on college campuses and the general public. These tactics are too revolutionary (not economically viable), and they have the propensity to destabilize the fragile peace. Like the Ambassador, stated, “Promoting dialogue should be paramount in easing political tension.”

    Rep. Kolubah may disagree with Speaker Chambers’ leadership and the President’s extravagant travelling but Rep. Kolubah should remember, he is a Rep. and a government official. There are protocols and ethical norms to follow when conducting oneself as a legislator.

    It was an honorable thing for President Weah to take the higher ground and invite Rep. Kolubah for a peaceful dialogue as the wise Ambassador stated…It’s through dialogue that we can preserve the peace.

    N.B.. I urge President Weah to emulate President John Magufuli of Tanzania. The Tanzanian President is very frugal with his country’s money. To cut cost on unnecessary travel expenses, since the Tanzanian President came to power in 2015, he will be making his first trip out of the country to neighboring Malawi to settle land dispute b/w the two counties. He cut costs on foreign travels by delegating his ministers for foreign trips at a cheaper rate.

    A wise person once said, “Leadership is all about the people. Elected leaders who forget how they got there won’t get there the next time.”

    • Alpha – You made some very good points. I wonder how President Weah could convince himself that it was a good idea to put his self-interest before the interest of the people by building his mansions and his commercial real-estate given such bad economic conditions. That was a very unwise thing to do. And Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill is no help to Weah because he is giving Weah bad advice. He thinks by intimidating people will make the problem go away but it doesn’t. President Weah is not leading and Liberians are losing confidence in him. So many bad things are going on in the country and Weah is silent. He needs to lead. And he needs to be humble and show the people that he feels their pain. A leader can’t live lavishly and ask the people to “hold their hearts.” That just won’t work in today’s Liberia. The government doesn’t have a comprehensive plan to fix the economy so things will only get worse.

  2. Alpha Corneh, you make these copious writings which are usually senseless and lopsided. You Alpha Corneh, you are a big fool to believe a president or government who inherited a destroyed economy would fix the economy overnight. If you do not have anything sound to say or write, you better sit down and keep quiet!

    If President Weah according to your stupid thinking “did not realize the magnitude of the economic crises he inherited from his predecessor”, THEN WHY WOULD HE IN THE VERY FIRST HOURS OF HIS PRESIDENCY GO AROUND POWERFUL CAPITALS AND EVEN PRIVATE FIRMS SEEKING SOLUTIONS TO THE COUNTRY´S ECOMOMIC CRISES? For example why would he engage the China Swab? Why would he go to the UAE, with the UAE TELLING HIM TO NAME HIS PRIORITIES AND THEY WILL BE DONE?

    You are very stupid, Alpha Corneh. If you do not have something sensible to write, just sit your backside down and read! You can remain the copycat you are. But President Weah is very much his own man of substance and has proven that in his stardom (becoming Liberia´s best, Africa´s best, Europe Best, and THE WORLD BEST).

    He has also demonstrated that he is an originality and cannot be a copycat By demonstrating thet he is a gifted administrator, stateman, and political leader By establishing and managing the first ever grassroots political party and political coalition with the largest polöitical following ever in the history of Liberia and the entire continent.

    Again, if President Weah “did not realize the magnitude of the economic crises he inherited from his predecessor”, WHY WOULD HE IN THE VERY FIRST HOURS OF HIS PRESIDENCY, GO AROUND POWERFUL CAPITALS AND EVEN PRIVATE FIRMS SEEKING SOLUTIONS TO THE COUNTRY´S ECOMOMIC CRISES? For example why would he engage the China Swab? Why would he go to the UAE, with the UAE TELLING HIM TO NAME HIS PRIORITIES AND THEY WILL BE DONE?

    Your reasoning capability is subhuman.

    • Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah – Civilized people don’t debate by calling someone a subhuman. Your comments are deplorable. Alpha made some very concrete points about Weah’s leadership and you should have addressed those concerns. We need dialogue, not insults.

  3. President Weah being conferred with the Peace Ambassadorial position for the United Nations UNICEF then, was never mistake, he has proven to be a peace hero and a humble servant of our country. After all the insults by Rep. Kolubah against the office of the President yet, the President calls him for a meeting, this shows extra ordinary leadership of our President. For those who think that President Weah can’t reconcile our Country should rethink. I call him the King Solomon of Liberia. There are those who think that the people around the President are ill advising him are all dead wrong, the decision to bring Rep. Kolubah to the table to have conversation is a great and laudable one. We condemn before hear, which is very wrong.

  4. Way to go King George. Better co-option than coercion as your “our-way or the hard-way” one dimensional supporters always prefer. At least we can all breathe some sigh of relief now, while those firebrand zealots pretending to love you figure out how to embrace this tactful diplomatic gesture. And you better start checking such “advisors” with more of this kind of personal attribute, if you know what I mean. Hint to the wise.

  5. I am very exhilarated because of the Weah-Kolubah head to head detente.

    Some of Weah’s unrepentant critics have asked, “with all of the trouble that’s being caused, where is Weah”? As if that’s not enough, there are some critics of Weah who unashamedly ask, ” why can’t Weah show leadership”?

    Well, there it is. By calling Kolubah to meet at a private location in order to dialogue sincerely, Weah shows that he is not a publicity hound. Secondly, the head to head detente means that Weah has a unique leadership potential. A meeting such as the above is not the first time that Weah had done something like that. Shortly after he defeated VP Boakai in 2017, Weah paid a visit to Boakai in order to “put aside” whatever confusion that may have been caused. A hand shake between the two men showed gentility after the meeting. Given the foregoing scenario, Weah proves that he’s peaceful, cooperative and open-minded.

    The flipside of the coin is Rep. Kolubah, the tough-talking former rebel fighter who came to the table of compromise. it’s been said that Kolubah showed restraint and did not shout profanities at the meeting. Surprisingly, it’s been said that Kolubah did not accuse Weah of any wrongdoing, but rather mentioned Speaker Chambers as his existential source of frustration. Okay, let’s give credit to where credit is due.

    I will say this, “Kudos, Kolubah! Keep it up. Show your constituents that you’re up to your job. Don’t rant or shout like an arm-chair manager or a buffoon. Show the Liberian people that you’re a reformed individual and not a jerk”! If you abstain from your old ways of scaring people, you will win the respect of your countrymen and women. Get on the road of progress. Don’t allow your enemies to think that you’re inadequate. You can do it. All we need is a peaceful Liberia. You have your civil liberties. Yeah, express yourself, but approach your issues with maximum care. Peace!

  6. Well and good. But Hon. Kolubah must resist the temptation to accept any portion of the L$16 billion, the US $25 million or any other looted monies, under the guise of peacemaking. He must continue to champion the cause of the poor people and insist that the regime fully account for all the stolen money. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve real peace and stability in the country while rampant corruption remains in force.

  7. Amen to Conteh’s veiw! Let me admit, I am new on this page but the rebutle to conteh’s observations should at least give him some credits. (Not a sermon, just a thought) ELDER B.

  8. It’s a good gesture demonstrated by President Weah to trek the moral high ground by extending an invitation to Hon. Yekeh Kolubah to carve a proper path for peace and tranquility befitting the nation, something which Hon. Yekeh and his former boss Charles Taylor could not achieve but rather they overthrew a sitting president and killed over half of the people. I urge president Weah to continue to dialog with every branch of the government to work in close collaboration in reviving the poor economy he inherited from the previous government. It’s a good thing for Liberian to advocate for the improvement in the economy and every other factors like equality and social justice, but such advocacy should be conducted in a civilized and congenial manner, rather than extreme provocation through insults as Hon. Yeleh Kolubah has been doing. What continues to remain puzzling hear is the query, “IS HON. YEKEH REALLY HONEST ABOUT HIS STANCE ON CORRUPTION OR HE’S JUST SPEWING WORDS TO APPEASE HIS CONSTITUENT TO MAKE THEM BELIEVE HE’S WORKING IN THEIR INTEREST”. Hon. Yekeh is now complaining about the suffrage of the Liberian people when he, serving as a ruthless rebel general helped to destroy the lives and properties of the very people he’s representing today. He still calls Taylor his current boss and repose great pride in his boss, though serving the Hague for the destruction of Sierra Leone. How sincere can this man be regarding misuse of government’s funds when his former boss Taylor seized the government’s coffer by banking the government’s funds in his private vault at his home in white flower. That was the money he took to Carbala, Nigeria and to this day, that money has been unaccounted for. Has he ever expressed dismay or apologize to folks for the evil he did when he served as a rebel general, NO, but all he’s been doing to is boast of serving Taylor’s regime plagued with killing and looting. I’m not in any way supporting any form of misappropriation on the part of the Weah government, I do agree with the advocacy that financial accountability is paramount, but it is very deceptive for a former rebel made District Representative to be spewing words that seem to be critical against corruption when all his life, he’s been looting and murdering innocent people. The extreme hypocrisy is to see a HIGH CLASS KILLER AND LOOTER like Hon. Yekeh Kolubah, accuse President George Weah who has been known to make honest money from playing sport. Imagine folks are now looking up to Hon. Yekeh Kolubah to speak up on their interest regarding corruption and human suffrage when he’s the purveyor of the very thing he’s pretending to to speaking against. People of District #10, if that was the only choice you could make regarding political representation in the House of Representative, be warned that ignorance is taking toll in that district.

  9. Hahahahahaha, the body language between both men says it all. The Chosen Son of the soil is looking away and seemed unable to face the guy who wants him impeached, and accusing him of all theft and violating the law of the land. On the other hand, the Rep while refusing to look the Anointed One straight up in his face as one who cannot be believed or politically trusted, while looking at the body of the Anointed One, the handshake says it all. The people who arranged the political event referred to in some quarters as a political face off between the two , really did a poor job . That is if the face off was meant to whether the political storm that is brewing and becoming politically toxic for the country , they failed to achieve that. There was no love in that handshake. Believing that both men will go in there respective political corners and come out fighting once again through their political surrogates. Those who are jumping up and down with the political excitements , the body language says it all.

  10. Ok got a call from a friend who believes the former rebel turned politician is looking at the Anointed One, but also believes that the former rebel is looking at the camera. Well don’t care too much about that . But the fact that the Chosen Son failed to stand his ground while extending his hand for a handshake and looking away for something on the floor, showed he was not adequately prepared for this face off , as to weather the storm. He is the President and he should had stood his ground, and then ask the question ” what’s up ” ? Ok , not that kind of question. Diplomacy does matters and how it is handled matters too .

  11. @James Davis your observation is very true and keen, but I would also want to add that the both gentlemen have been at a vehement political crossroads so the very first encounter would actually reflect the kind of body language shown in the photograph. I believe during the course of the dialog, they both made eye contact and most importantly, it’s the first of many other dialogues to follow between the president and others who may have diversifying views on policy issues. I’m very certain that to some extent, rapport was built with the anticipation of approaching a point of commonality reflecting those values of courtesy and interest needed to peacefully agree and disagree on policies to move the country forward, thus improving the lives of the people. We should add words of encouragement to such gestures. It’s about time that Liberians understand that our approach to change should not be so radical to stir up destruction but rather peaceful, patient and congenial so as to yield a better results for all Liberians.

  12. Honorable James Davis,
    The best that can be said is that Weah and Kolubah met in order to iron out their differences. The two gentlemen ought to be given a credit whether you like them or not. Let’s forget the issue of whether Kolubah and Weah looked at opposite directions during their photo shoot. Pictues can be misleading sometimes, if not always.

    • Mr. F. Hney, first your statement should have read: The two gentlemen ought to be given a credit whether one likes them or not . As there is no proof of my personal dislike for either men. The observation made actually put the Anointed One at a disadvantage to his political opponent. It was meant that in the future care must be taken, if the meeting was meant to be African brotherly setting or a political setting. This is the picture that the citizens see and will make their political decisions. Even the former rebel Rep can make the boastful claim that after calling the head of the regime and accusing of theft, the head of the regime could not look him in the eyes in his own house. This is not that kind of picture that we want to see. Whether there is a next meeting or not, let those who are responsible correct their shortcomings. As always , thanks for reading the post .

  13. Davis,
    I couldn’t disagree with you more. Remember, the statement was written by you and not by any unknown individual. I know when and how to substitute”one” for any individual. I chose to use the word “you” because you aren’t called upon to represent anyone or a body of people. Your views are entirely yours my friend.

    Also, when you say, “this is not that kind of picture that we want to see”, you’re once again assuming that Liberians and possibly non-Liberians do not prefer to see the Weah-Kolubah handshake in such a fashion. How do you know that we or “some, or all of us” do not want to see such a handshake? Why use the word “we” when you’re so opinionated. Without a shred of doubt, you’re entitled to your opinions. In my personal opinion, the two gentlemen deserve to be commended. I unapologetically applaud their stance in terms of averting an unstable situation that has an explosive potential.

  14. He’s learning. It’s a difficult job. The Liberian people knew they needed to have patience with him.

  15. Can you imagine “how scary the job is to him”? The part other than riding the car,waving, meeting people,locking up people & having girlfriends. No the scary part is formulating policies, having discussions with world leaders and making policy speeches

  16. The Whole World knows that George Oppong Weah is not an educated man but The Whole World also knows that George Oppong Weah is second, only, to the Brazilian; “King Pele” — when it comes to football.

    George Oppong Weah has a good heart and he also knows that he is not well-educated, so as president; he TRIED to surround himself with well-educated people.

    The biggest problem with George Oppong Weah’s administration is the educated people he has surrounded himself with.

    These educated people cannot defend their president without using vulgarity in the most childish and graphic expressions they can imagine.

    Maybe someone needs to tell them that no level of insult will resolve the economic crisis that is brewing in Liberia today and, they still have five more years to run a country that is currently heading in the wrong direction.

    In the name of constructive criticism … I suggest that these surrogates of George Oppong Weah shift their collective attention and focus on how to:

    1) Develop good Fiscal & Monetary Economic Policies that are certified by experts (i.e. professors of economics at accredited universities.

    2) Review, Revise, and Enforce the constitution and the laws of the land ( this will help to stamp out corruption, attract foreign investment, and reunite natural born Liberians who deserve dual citizenship). The 1972 law that barred dual Liberian citizenship was an experiment that has FAILED.

    3) Discuss and formulate a National Living Wage structure; and commit to the timely disbursement of servants’ salaries on a monthly basis.
    …etc, etc.

    But, very importantly — the educated people surrounding George Oppong Weah need to cease and desist from insulting The People. Leaders are servants of The People. A former U.S. president said “speak softly and carry a big stake”. I’ll say Listen Keenly and Speak Less.

    The People may criticize and speak vilely against your administration out of frustration, anger, and disappointment because they expected better when they voted for you. Respect their views and suck it up — Do Not Counter-punch.

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