Pres. Weah Tells World Community
President George Weah, who a huge number of delegation to this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), dubbed the 74th edition, has raised his political credential before the august body, announcing that despite sporadic street protests and agitations against his administration in Monrovia, “there are no political prisoners in the country.”
Weah spoke of developments at home on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, on the Liberian state of affairs in his speech at the UNGA. He said that several protests have taken place from time to time in the country, “but all of them have ended peacefully.”
He said his Government welcomed the protests, something he said is “a positive manifestation of our democratic maturity.”
President Weah said he remains committed and focused to upholding the constitutional mandate, including ensuring all democratic rights of the citizenry, and guaranteed the protection of all.
“I will do all within my powers to ensure that peace prevails in Liberia; a charge I kept for almost two years of my presidency,” he said.
Weah added, “Our country is today a beacon of democracy in Africa, where freedom of the press, of expression, of association, and other political and democratic rights are respected, under the rule of law.”
He continued: “The political environment remains vibrant, with political actors and parties freely exercising their franchise, and participating in various elections. I am delighted to report that there are no political prisoners in Liberia, and existing laws that hindered or threatened press freedom have been de-criminalized.”
In spite of all these, President Weah said the Country is beginning to witness the emergence of a creeping threat to the democratic space, and to the hard-won peace and stability.
Without calling any name, the President then frowned on “unacceptable action” claiming by some individuals, within and out of the country, particularly those, who have lost democratically-held elections, and have resorted to incitement, threats of violence, misuse of social media, and hate speech, with the aim and objective of achieving power through undemocratic means.
“For democracy to thrive,” Weah said “all Liberians, including the ruling and the opposition parties, must respect the rule of law, and abide by the procedures, and regulations prescribed therein.”
“We must all learn to respect the mandates of the electorates, even when that mandate is not in our favor, and not be selective in our support for democracy only when we win,” President warned people, he said bent on “divisive and anti-democratic behaviors.”
He further stressed that in the midst of uncertainty, and heightened tension in global politics, security, and trade while at the same time, the global economy is also under undue stress, security tension is on the rise in many parts of the world.
This, Weah said, calls for all hands to come on deck for the good and development of the Country.
President Weah called on the UNGA and partners alike to lend support and sustain democracy, something he said is cardinal to maintaining peace and security, economic recovery and development in totality, saying, “trade protectionism and climate change are having unintended consequences, especially on developing countries including Liberia.”
“We strongly believe in the ability of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security, foster friendly relations among nations, and promote social progress, better living standards, and human rights. We continue to have faith and confidence in the United Nations as the best universal institution to guide the nations of the world in peaceful and harmonious interactions,” he said.
While reflecting on the theme of the 74th General Assembly, “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion,” President Weah said it reminded him about the responsibility to focus on achieving the purpose of the United Nations in principle and practice, saying, “My Government has developed, and is implementing a national development plan, which supports the theme.”
“Our Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) is intended to serve as our compass for reconstruction, development, and modernization.
While it gives priority to poverty reduction, it is also intended to support the efforts of middle- and upper-income Liberians to grow and prosper,” President Weah said.
As of his rally for support from Liberians and the UNGA, Pres. Weah said the PAPD equally centered on infrastructure development, road construction and connectivity, and agriculture, as well as emphasizing women and youth empowerment; qualitative education and good healthcare delivery.”
He said the PAPD is beginning to face significant implementation challenges, due to the continued decline in prices of the country’s major exports, revenue shortfalls, and structural imbalances.
Increasing inflation and currency depreciation, he said tend to reduce the purchasing power of many Liberians, thus placing further burdens on their standard of living.
President Weah said his government is cognizant of the challenges and committed to finding practical solutions to resolve them, but require the collective ideas of all Liberians.
“Fellow Liberians, both at home and abroad, let me say that without peace, there can be no progress or development. All Liberians, therefore, have a responsibility to maintain the peace that we now enjoy, especially those of you who desire to be future leader of Liberia; remember, it was the love of liberty that established us as a country. It was our unity that made us the First Independent African Republic, and it will take our joint efforts to sustain the peace, develop and reconcile our nation and gain economic stability,” he said.