–President Weah Tells Critics
Shortly after returning to the country from the United Nations General Assembly in New York, President George Weah yesterday told his critics that “when the competent is not available, the non-competent becomes available,” referring to his critics who have claimed that he is not competent to run the affairs of the state.
Speaking at a brief Intercessory Service at the Dominion Christian Fellowship Center in Congo Town where thousands of his supporters and government officials assembled to give him a warm welcome back home, President Weah said “From 1847, Liberia had had all the scholars from Harvard University to rule the country but Liberia has reached nowhere in development. We need to have our pro-poor government to make sure that we fix all and connect Liberia to the rest of the countries in Africa.”
But contrary to President Weah’s claim that since 1847 all former Liberian presidents had been Harvard graduates, history informs us that only Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was educated at Harvard. The rest of Liberia’s 22 presidents, including William Tolbert (University of Liberia), President Samuel Kanyon Doe ( University of Liberia graduate), William V. S. Tubman (8th grade), were not Harvard graduates.
President Weah said if he will not achieve anything within the six years given by the Liberian people, he will achieve the building of roads across Liberia.
“We need to build this country, because after 171 years children cannot even go to good schools. Today, someone says we don’t know the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but would not find WAEC [fees] in the budget. We do not know the country’s GDP but we are able to find students’ WAEC fees because Liberia has an honest leadership now,” President Weah said.
President Weah said he will remain focus in connecting the country through building roads, despite the many challenges, including infrastructure, education, and healthcare. He said it was time for the Liberian people to work with him to utilize the resources provided by the international community to develop the country, as campaign time for elections was over.
He said people believe in Liberia and it was time for everyone to work together to give the country a positive image, especially internationally, and not to engage in things that send a negative image of Liberia. “Liberians need to change their attitude, including obeying the law, a situation that will help the nation or state to develop,” he stated.
Commenting on the “missing” L$16 billion, President Weah said at the time the decision was made, “I believed that campaign season that it was not necessary to print the money. I did not sign the document authorizing the Central Bank of Liberia to print the money and the records are there.”
Regarding those who took the money and have failed to bring it back, he said the law will take its course, adding: “We did not want to be the judge and told you to relax.”
“The government that was in power and had the authority to print the money, we don’t print money and you are calling on the international community to put sanction on us. Our government has caused nothing……if you know the GDP to your fingertip and for 12 years, you failed to develop your country. 12 years, Doe community road is not built and does not have electricity,” he said.
“We have L$17 billion, the entire money circulating in the country and you saying that someone took 16 billion; it means that there will be serious inflation now,” President Weah said.
“If you wish for me to fail, how does that help you, will that develop your life? I am from the school of thought that failure is a learning process for me,” President Weah said.
President Weah said it was unfortunate for the entire world to watch when some Liberians were protesting and calling on the world not to help the CDC-led government.
President Weah said journalists who unearthed that money was missing will be part of the investigation to provide some information on the money, “They will join our international partners. You will have to help the people.”
The senior pastor of the Dominion Christian Fellowship Center, Archbishop Isaac Winker, told President Weah to speedily investigate the “missing” L$16 billion and provide the report to the Liberian people.
“The first war in your leadership is the ‘missing’ L$16 billion, so you have to fight to bring the truth out because the people really want to know,” Archbishop Winker said.
Winker called on President Weah to ensure that the “missing” L$16 billion report of the investigation is not put under the carpet as some investigation reports have ended up.
Mr. Winker said the Liberian people have already declared that the system has failed and hoped that President Weah will revise it, indicating that “All the presidents ruling this country had their own policies and we hope that you have your own policies to study the policies well because some people want to do their own thing.”
“Again, leaders are builders. We can do all the talking and criticism but we must ensure that we ride on paved roads to the south, where pastors will go to the southeast to preach for the people and return on Monday morning to carry on their hustle,” Mr. Winker said.