EFFL, others condemn CDC’s “Pro-poor Day” celebrations amidst excruciating economic hardship
“A government that merry makes while its people are experiencing extreme hardship is heartless, and unfortunately, this CDC government, which says it is for the masses, has demonstrated high level of carelessness,” The Commander in Chief (CIC) of the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), Emmanuel Gonquoi has said.
Gonquoi assertions were in reference to the George Weah led government recent celebration of what it termed as Pro poor Day at a time when the country’s economy appears to be teetering on the brink of collapse in the face of signs pointing to what growing hyperinflation with no solution from government insight.
“Our people are feeling the pinch of the economy so badly while our President and his surrogates are merry making at the other end. This is very unfortunate and it shows how insensitive our president and the government are to the plight of the masses,” Gonquoi said.
The EFFL made these comments over the weekend when the pressure group hoisted its flag at its headquarters in Paynesville.
The EFFL is a recently established radical and militant economic emancipation movement that brings together revolutionary elements, radicals, workers movements, community based organizations and lobby-groups united under the banner of the struggle for economic emancipation.
It has outstanding support among those considered as enlightened youth, a segment of the student’s community and the disillusioned masses of the people. With the Saturday’s event, observers say the EFFL confirmed its shrewd mobilization skills with the huge crowd it attracted to its program.
The EFFL is an affiliate of EFF of South Africa inspired by the zealous advocacy of young revolutionary Julius S. Malema formerly of the ANC. It now has branches in few countries including Zimbabwe, Namibia and others.
The EFFL day coincided with the CDC’s Pro Poor Day, which Gonquoi termed as colossal failure.
The “Pro-poor Day,” which began with President Weah and some senior officials gathered at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) soccer pitch, was, according to eyewitness accounts, a day of merry making characterized by the huge consumption of alcoholic beverages of all types, at the expense of masses who are experiencing the worst economic crisis experienced in recent time.
On a video recording of the celebrations, at the BTC pitch, the President and his supporters can be seen singing songs which many in the public have characterized as divisive and should not be sung at this moment. Many of the songs are reminiscent of the 2017 elections campaign period.
The EFFL CIC noted that the celebration was a total mockery of the true meaning of the phrase ‘pro poor.’
The CDC administration came to power on the back of what it termed as a Pro poor agenda—a concept and program intended to reduce poverty among the masses.
With such a celebration which observers and Gonquoi say is premature, many now appear inclined to believe the assertion by the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander B. Cummings, that the George Weah and his CDC seem not to understand the enormity of the tasks they have taken on.
“That assertion is clearly being manifested now. The country currently has no direction,” Gonquoi noted.
Also speaking at the occasion, youthful Liberian entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Steven Kolubah, at the occasion described Liberia as an airplane that took off in flight some 171 years ago but does not know where it is heading.
It is sad, he said, for Liberia as a country to be trekking backward in term of development.
Kolubah is not yet convinced about the ability of the CDC administration to appropriately govern the state. Noting that poverty is on the increase, Kolubah admonished members of the EFFL to remain unwavering in championing the cause of ordinary Liberians.
“This celebration by the President is not in the interest of the masses and we consider this as mockery,” Kerkula, who is the Secretary General of the UL based Students Unification Party (SUP) said
The poor turnout at the celebration, according to Alfred P. B. Kiadii, is manifestation of the masses refusal to endorse, by their presence, what they regard as a classic betrayal of their loyalty by the government.
Kiadii, who is a student of political science at UL, said by this, the masses have started unmasking what he called the charades of the Weah government.
“And this can be deduced by the snubbing of the regime’s pro poor celebrations and the booing of the presidential motorcade by disillusioned marketers of the populous Redlight Market,” he said in a commentary.
Opposition Politician, Darius Dillon said the country’s progress has degenerated under the CDC led government, and so far, no austerity measure has been instituted to stabilize the economic hardship. “But the President deems it prudent to be celebrating who his people wallop in hardship,” he said.
He declared that President Weah spends not less than eighty thousand United States dollars on every foreign travel—unlike president Sirleaf who paid for seats when traveling abroad, Weah uses chartered flights, thus causing financial burden for the country.
He however indicated that the poor turnout at the ‘Pro-poor Day’ is a demonstration of disappointment by citizens in the CDC led administration at such an early stage
Mr. Dillon said the turnout was very poor, suggesting that those who voted the CDC to power are frustrated over the running of the country.
A veteran media practitioner noted in a commentary that the term “pro poor” has two meanings in Liberia. One of the meanings applies to the officials of government and the other to the ordinary masses.
In the first month of his reign, President Weah simultaneously embarked on the construction of what observers say is his dream home and at the same time started to reconstruct his 9th Street property while construction works were also taking place at his Thinkers Village Jamaica Resort. The President has so far not declared his assets as required by law, even though proponents of the administration say that he has not violated any law.
It can be recalled the President had, during his inaugural address pledged to wage war against corruption as a way of ensuring accountability and transparency. But with six months gone into the administration, there are yet, no visible signs indicating a commitment to that cause. Observers maintain the President is yet to comply with asset declaration requirements and none of his lieutenants have yet done so.
At the pro poor celebrations President Weah did not present a speech to catalogue the successes of the administration as may have been intended by organizers of the event. Rather, the President instead indulged in a few games of Ludo.
According to our reporter, after playing a few Ludo games with top government officials, he entered the party’s building and remained there where he rema until his departure for his Rehab residence.