“Do not let these people spoil your government for you with ill advice,” — Rev. Simeon L. Dunbar
President George Weah has been warned to be careful of advice from people around him if he cares about his government.
The warning, which was contained in Rev. Dr. Simeon L. Dunbar’s National Independence Day oration yesterday, implored the President to not be overly concerned about people outside, rather people in his inner circle, some of who may be his real enemies.
“Be careful of who you allow in your inner court. Be open up to ideas from wise technocrats who are well experienced and possess some measure of the fear of God. Be courageous and strong as our captain and lead this team to its noble destination,” he said.
Rev. Dunbar, who served as National Orator for Liberia’s 173rd Independence Day, told the Liberian leader in front of his most trusted officials to be mindful of secret enemies who parade as friends around him.
“Mr. President, while it is true that you are faced with a very difficult task of leading a mysterious nation like ours; do not let these people spoil your government for you with ill advice. Don’t be overly concerned about your opposition, but rather your social contract with the people and be concerned about your secret enemies who parade as friends around you.
Rev. Dunbar, whose bluntness comes as a surprise to many, especially when many religious leaders appear less prone to call out vices in the government, wonders why the President should allow his people to get on the street and protest before he takes action.
“Your Excellency, the people who elected you as their Commander-In-Chief of this great nation do not have to get on the street and protest before you take an action,” Rev. Dunbar reminded the President.
Rev. Dunbar further added that government’s relationship with its people needs to be mutual; if the people respect the government,” the government also needs to respect the people.”
“No man or woman is above the law. If we seek to advance as a nation, lawmakers need to cease from being lawbreakers. The issue of police brutality against lawful citizens needs to stop. Our security sector should learn to adhere to the rules that govern this land and not abuse them. Press freedom also needs to be respected at all levels,” Rev. Dunbar said.
Rev. Dunbar’s warning to the president comes as reports of police violence and intimidation of the press continue to take place under watch with little action being taken. One these existences happened in early April when scores of citizens were beaten and serious injury during the imposition of the country’s first state of emergency to combat the coronavirus.
‘Revisit our organic laws’
Adding, Rev Dunbar said Liberia is poor because of impunity, and that there is little or no punishment for evildoers and corruption has fast become a way of life. Such condition, he noted, has eaten deep into the fabric of the society, which also includes the church and other religious organizations
“We need to revisit our organic laws and change what ought to be changed, repeal those that need to be repealed and implement those that need to be implemented, but do not tamper with our core values as a God-fearing nation and the vision of our founding fathers: foundation matters,” Rev. Dunbar said.
‘Redefine National Agenda’
As for the development of Liberia, Rev. Dunbar called on the President to redefine the nation’s national agenda, with clear-cut vision, a statement, which strikes another blow to the President’s pro-poor development agenda, which is similar to the Poverty Reduction Strategy of the erstwhile Sirleaf Administration, much of which remains unachieved.
“Let us redefine our national agenda, with clear-cut vision, achievable, both in the long and short term. Make people-oriented policies that will redirect funds to the agricultural and production sector, thereby creating jobs throughout rural Liberia,” the Clergyman said.
Rev. Dunbar further criticized the government dependence on foreign aid, a situation which has kept it captive to donors.
“We claim to be independent and still depend on foreign aid and imports of our staple food and basic commodities to boost our economy,” Rev. Dunbar said. “Anyone who feeds you will control you. The decisions that run our government should not be made in other capitals around the world.”
However, Rev. Dunbar said such state of affairs can come to an end if the government began to empower local farmers and promote large scale food production while reducing the subsidies on the importation of our staple foods and gradually ending it.
“The government needs to re-evaluate the decentralization policy that will empower rural Liberians to be more productive. All of Liberia is farm-ready and eager for production.
“[It also needs to] reintroduce the work culture amongst our people and let everyone earn their honest living through merit and dedication,” he said. “Understand that government is about continuity; we must stop wasting resources on starting new projects without completing old ones.”
‘Take Action against rape’
Meanwhile, Rev. Dunbar has pleaded with the President to take serious action against rape, as many continue to cry for justice for innocent Liberian girls.
“The issue of Rape needs to cease from being an everyday song on the lips of our people. We cannot continue to hear the cries for justice of our innocent girls,” Rev. Dunbar warned.
He described it as “beyond sickening that, while the country is battling COVID-19, it has to deal with reoccurring cases of rape of teenagers and babies who haven’t even learned to talk.”
“Rape perpetrated by inhumane men who claim to be citizens of this God-fearing nation. It Is Sad And It Needs To Stop. If that means introducing the death penalty on these evil perpetrators, so let it be,” he said.
Drawing inspiration from the late U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Rev. Dunbar quoted: “‘Those who deny freedom of others deserve it not for themselves.’ These men shouldn’t rape today and be allowed to walk free tomorrow.”