Pres. Weah Dialogues to ‘Abort’ June 7 Protest

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“It is important we dialogue, because we know what happened… in 1979.” -Pres. Weah

President George Weah on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 held a five-hour-long meeting with Senators on Capitol Hill in an apparent bid to abort the planned June 7 “peaceful protest.” The meeting also considered issues of interest and concerns arising from the Council of Patriots, organizers of the June 7 protest.

Two of advisors to the Council of Patriots, Bomi County Senator Sando D. Johnson and Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel F. Naatehn, were among senators who met President Weah yesterday in the Senate new chambers, and discussed germane issues of interest, which they claimed are driving the planned June 7 protest.

Following the meeting, the President informed scores of journalists that he will not stop anyone from protesting or demonstrating, but that it is important to dialogue, because protest breeds unexpected fallouts, making reference to the April 14, 1979, “Rice Riot.”

President Weah, while en route to greet the leadership of the House of Representatives after a long meeting with the Senate, said: “We met the Senate and talked about the economy, the protest and other issues of importance to the State.”

He added, “It is important we dialogue, because we know what happened, for example, during the April 14, 1979 protest.”

In a related development, the Daily Observer has reliably learned that the President is expected to also hold another round of dialogue with the House of Representatives on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

It may be recalled that on April 14, 1979, the “Rice Riot” was the proverbial straw that unleashed 25 years of violence, mayhem, anarchy, death and destruction in Liberia. The riot was organized by the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), headed by then political activist, Gabriel Baccus Matthews (deceased), against the backdrop of a proposed increase in the price of a 100-pound bag of rice from US$22 to US$26.

A year later, 17 non-commissioned officers of the disbanded Armed Forces of Liberia staged a bloody coup that violently witnessed the overthrow of the Grand Old True Whig Party (TWP) of the then Liberian government, for which President William Richard Tolbert Jr., was killed on April 12, 1980.

Senate concerns and Interests

Also, the Senate President Pro Tempore, Albert T. Chie, told journalists that the Senate meeting with the President was in the spirit of the Liberian Constitution, which calls for coordination among the three branches of government.

“The cardinal purpose of the meeting was to exchange ideas on governance where the Senators presented to the President issues of national concern and interest, including justice and security; the economy, issues of the planned June 7 protest, status of the investigation report on the L$16 billion, and the US$25 million intended to mop up excess Liberian dollars from the market.

Sen. Chie said the discussion also captured the withdrawal of the Tenure Bill, Assessment of the performance of current government officials, including government of inclusion.

Additionally, he said the issues surrounding the United Nations letter regarding the management of funds, proposal for a national reconciliation conference and information dissemination from the government to its citizenry were also highlighted during the meeting.

“The President thanked the Senators for the meeting, which was held under the atmosphere of cordiality and mutual respect and he committed himself to the resolution of the issues raised in the interest of the Liberian people of which he is the head,” Pro Tempore Chie said. He added; “We believe the Executive Mansion will provide more details on the Tuesday’s meeting with the President.”

Senate’s Secret Dialogue

Chie made a startling disclosure to journalists that the Senate also had a discussion with two of three advisors of the Council of Patriots, which include Senators Sando Johnson, Daniel Naatehn and Oscar Cooper. According to the Senate President Pro Tempore, the two senators (unspecifed) stated reasons that have prompted the planned June 7 protest and that those issues which were raised were also discussed with the President.

12 COMMENTS

  1. President Weah, to dialogue is good but the oeganizers of the save the state protest minds are made up no manner of dialogue will change it. My attention is drawn to your Finance Minister, the head of the TET, who brought this mess on you by using non financial principles to infused 18 Million USD to money changers to control the USD against the LD. Honestly, the 60% of the 61% that voted you are not happy with this Minister decision that cause the the rate to escalate with twin of eyes. Just how you suspeded Fahngohn do the same to you finance Minister or the tension will continue to be on you and your leadership. This is no buddy and close confidant business this Finance Minister put this economy in a BIG MESS. It’s really tough I spend 2 months in Liberia it like hell for your people who voted you if not careful this will turn the people against you, though you are building roads but 18million USD is not a small money for a broke economy or country to throw away and think people will remain mute. Even our international partners are very skeptical about you leadership if nothing is done to the person responsible for this problem.

  2. The United States Dollars infused into the economy were exchanged for Liberian Dollars no matter how it was done. Who got the Liberian dollars in their possession as a result of this exercise is the point. The Liberian people are not interested in the U.S. Dollars already infused and back in the U.S.. It is the Liberian monies exhaled, the local market needs used to make profit. Officials prior to the infusion process who had more than the $25 million might have used American dollars from Government proceeds, loans or grants, to purchase the infused amount. Now that some were discovered from the last Central Banking system of 2017-2018, they might be still holding Liberian dollars needed in the economy just to stall a political outbreak as a counter act to their election deficits, citing ex-rebels(reboes) and oppositions to derail the peace with contaminated notes. If the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank have not as yet seen the lack of funds caused by billions lost in the last Liberian print, the Liberian Government should infuse more U.S. dollars or foreign currencies into and these financial local with holdings will sooner or later be revealed by forensic evidence; bringing the corrupted to justice and sanitizing the used notes by removal or resignation of the implicated officials now in office. Another alternative is to ask the legislature, if needed, to have the executive print the equivalent Liberian bank notes missing to distinguish the find. We, Liberians will no longer allow violence to suffer our people and derail the peace for resources we can always dig out with diggers standing by. You can say or protest all you want. No physical touching with intent to destroy life or property. Tell the Liberian people. Do not answer my box, Check the silent majority. Wait for your time to be elected. Not every Joseph is the son of David.
    Gone in silence for long.

  3. The Army got diggers at all three branches of Government. Ex-rebels will need to be inspected and all protesters will have to wash their hands and the 5 dollars sanitized before used. Based on the past war, you still trusting reboes? Well some of us do not.
    Gone too.

  4. Liberia is really in trouble when the Senate Pro Tempore, Albert T. Chie can’t speak proper English. I listened to his live comments in a video on FB and I was totally dismayed that the leader of the Liberian Senate is semi-illiterate. Folks, let’s not forget that Liberia is an English speaking country so we should be fluent in English, especially so for our leaders. The people who lead our country should be our best but that’s not what we have today. Liberian civilization is on the decline after EJS.

    • James Citizen
      Albert Chie is not semi literate. The man is a trained Geologist. He might not be a good public speaker but your description of him as semi literate is totally ridiculous.

  5. Despite strenuous efforts, author Leroy Sonpon 111 didn’t provide support for declaring in the headline that “President Weah Dialogues to ‘Abort’ June 7 Protest”. In as much as I’m a believer in Voltaire’s “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, probably, the media’s relentless misleading reporting has done more than anything or anyone to bring our country closer to the brink of commotion.

    Abort means ‘stop’, but GMW said citizens have right to protest and precluded meeting with organizers. Or is the author suggesting that as President he doesn’t have any business dialoguing with stakeholders, or alluding to another consequential protest? He did what expected of a leader by consulting first with Boakai and EJS and then meeting with legislators. Apparently, left alone with a partisan rabble-rousing press, Weah would never get fairness.

  6. Does June 7 have to be confrontational? Absolutely not. The demonstration might have the propensity of drawing multitudes of people, and this could be advantageous for the president.

    How? The president could use the gatherings as a platform to appeal to the nation and deliver some brief remarks to the marchers making his own compelling case on where he plans to take the nation from here on.

    Democracy is about ideas. And sometimes the ideas are conflictual, but yet they can be overcome through consensus. Demonstrations are good for a democracy because they do afford the president the opportunity to gauge the prevailing, political climate in the country.

    Tensions have built-up around the June 7 demonstrations because of the negative connotations that people have assigned to the impending events.

    And apparently President Weah’s disposition surrounding this issue has not been helping either. If from the onset of the June 7 announcement, he had not been caving in to rumors, he would have used his political capital and an assertive leadership approach to bring about balance and calm in this situation.

  7. Citizen,
    Say you, “Liberian civilization is on a decline after EJS.” Could you give your readers at least three examples of a decline of civilization in Liberia?

    Also, what did EJS do that upheld civilization?

    Finally, although English is predominately spoken in Liberia, every Liberian is not educated. During EJS’s tenure, there was illiteracy in Liberia. Are you suggesting that Liberians became illiterate when Weah became president?

  8. So one NO integrity criminal meeting a group of NO integrity criminals haha haha … our people continuously elects low character people then complain when they do what they do best… What a society

  9. the immaturity of Liberian leaders is overwhelming. Mayor Koijee’s international blunder, failure of ‘weah to address issues, threats of violence, ex rebels voicing out , Fahngon missteps. Missing monies. WHERE IS JERRY RAWLINGS

  10. “Liberian civilization is on a decline after EJS.” averred by Citizen. Even if your level of fanaticism for EJS pushes your ill-fated cynicism to the zenith, it’s no telling that such statement depicts the level or lack of civility, especially from one claiming to be literate. What really did Ellen do to improve the literacy position of the nation? Are you expatiating from a statistical perspective? From which universal set (number of literate people) do you derive such inference? Are you saying that immediately after EJS left power the literacy rate decline, if so how and by what percent?

    The problems of Liberia extend far beyond the executive branch of government, but also greatly rest with the bias yellow-journalistic press and intellectually bankrupt folks masquerading under the guise of being educated and civilized people having learned to pronounce relatively few words in English.

    It’s so sad that one will fumble over a simple analysis, even on the basis of non-parametric statistics.

    EJS established the NPFL that put guns into the hands of large number of youths, converting them into child soldiers, killer machines instead of scholars. Is that your definition of education to boost civility. The money EJS used to fund the NPFL could have been used to established schools.

    A lady like EJS that created child soldiers in Liberia, against the world order calling for the cessation of organizations indulged in truncating the future of young people by enlisting them in rebel armies, should now be hailed as a champion of civilization in Liberia due to her ascendance to power.

    Mr. Citizen, you need deliverance and psychiatric assistance.

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