Pres. Weah to invite opposition, religious Leaders
President George Weah has extended an open invitation to a host of leaders to dialogue, including the Council of Patriots (CoP) and religious leaders, in finding solution to the crumbling economy.
His statement came barely a week following the CoP’s June 7 protest, which brought the country to a standstill due to security concerns and their subsequent press conference through which the leadership finally released their much anticipated petition to the public, demanding action from the Weah Administration.
In his brief radio address to the nation on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, Weah said the country’s economic problems cannot be fixed overnight or by only the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government, but through the collective efforts of all Liberians.
“Fellow citizens, it will take the collective efforts of all Liberians to achieve the desired objective of reviving the economy and placing our country on the path of sustainable development and transformation,” he said.
Weah added that the poor state of the economy is not a secret because, since he assumed the presidency, he has been fair to the country by stating that the economy was indeed a broken one even before his government was inaugurated.
“Last year, when I assumed the presidency, I informed you that we have inherited a broken economy, and pledged to you that I will exert every effort to fix the economy, and improve the lives and livelihoods of our people,” he said.
He pointed out that while his administration is employing all efforts to fix the economy, and sustain the ongoing development programs, “we still face challenges; there is a need for all Liberians to put hands on deck to fix it.”
Weah continued: “We all have to come together to devise and support new measures, which are necessary to address the structural effects and imbalances in our economy.”
He said his arms will be opened to welcome the good ideas of all so as to get the country moving forward.
“Fellow citizens, let us sit and dialogue on the way forward for our economic revival. Bring your ideas to the table, and I assure you that they will be given my most careful consideration, he said.
Weah then commended the June 7 protesters as well as other Liberians, who did not protest for maintaining the peace and respecting the rule of law.
“We commend them for the peaceful and orderly manner in which they exercised their rights. Let me also commend the other Liberians, who chose to go about their normal businesses on that day, also in a peaceful and orderly manner,” he said.
It can be recalled that thousands of protesters under the banner of the CoP marched through the principal streets of Monrovia and its environs without any casualty or incident reported. They protested against the bad economy, poor healthcare system, and made demands in their chants and slogans for President Weah to dismiss Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah and the Central Bank Executive Governor, Nathaniel Patray, for “gross corruption” and for being disloyal to the country they served in their respective areas of work.
The protesters remained peaceful throughout the day, even though they did not present their petition to government due to government’s refusal to release several young men arrested by police and subsequently detained at the headquarters of Liberia National Police (LNP). The demand to release the young men was only brought to the attention of the government representatives at the time they showed up to receive the petition.
Commendation to the security apparatus
Following his appreciation of the protesters and others who did not protest, President Weah showered praises the joint security for ensuring that lives and properties were protected during the June 7 protest, and boasted that such demonstration is a clear manifestation of the fact that the country’s democracy is maturing.
“My appreciation goes to the national security apparatus for their professionalism in protecting lives and properties and ensuring public safety,” he said.
Weah also extended his government’s appreciation to the international partners, as well as the local and international media, for doing their work according to professional standards.
Although he did not elaborate on the essence of the hearts of his compatriots being united, the President reminded all Liberians of a line from the Liberian national anthem: “With our hearts united, we shout the freedom of a race benighted.”