A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

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The attention of the Daily Observer is drawn to a story carried in its May 3, 2019 edition headlined, “We’ll Not Guarantee Rep. Kolubah Security in Ganta”. According to Daily Observer reporter, Ishmael F. Menkor, Ganta City Mayor, Amos Suah, speaking on a local radio talk-show on May 2, 2019, declared that he cannot guarantee the security of Representative Yekeh Kolubah in Ganta because according to the Mayor, his office had not been officially apprised of his planned visit.

The Mayor’s utterances which, in the opinion of this newspaper, are troubling, have again highlighted public concern about the many voices through which Government is speaking. This creates confusion in the minds of the public and is leaving wide room for speculation.

It can be recalled that recently a group of ex-rebel generals at a press conference publicly declared Representative Yekeh Kolubah a wanted man who would be arrested should he fail to turn himself over to them to answer questions about his disposition to President Weah. Theirs was preceded by that of the Montserrado County Attorney, who had summoned Yekeh to his office.

These developments left the public wondering just where the was the Justice Minister in all this and more importantly who was or is the leader of the country’s security apparatus. Again, more recently, the Mayor of Ganta has publicly issued a caveat to the Representative declaring outrightly that his safety will not be guaranteed in Ganta.

Fortunately, the Justice Minister has pledged to investigate the Mayor’s utterances. Yet, like the Government’s pledge to investigate the conduct of the US$25 million mop-up exercise, which from all indications, has fallen into coma, it remains to be seen what will become of the Ganta Mayor in the coming days or weeks.

That a lowly ranked unelected public official would threaten the security of a sitting legislator and yet receives practically no reprimand from his superiors, raises even more questions about GOL’s commitment to and respect for the rule of law. This is particularly troubling in view of the tensions being raised by the mere spectre of a what organizers say will be a mass popular demonstration against a government that came to power with the backing of the very masses now being called to protest it.

The Daily Observer, being fully cognizant of the implications, has repeatedly called on President Weah to tread carefully and remain constructively engaged with the opposition. Politics in LIBERIA should not be treated as a zero-sum game, which it has historically been, for it has proved divisive with devastating impact on the social fabric of the country.

President Weah, in all fairness, inherited a broken economy which had been propped up by international support especially with resource inflows to maintain what was arguably one of the largest peacekeeping forces in the world. But this is the challenge he accepted, having previously served in the Senate, from which vantage point he could see as well as participate in the inner workings of government. He knew what most Liberians did not know about government and was certainly no hanger-around the corridors of power.

This suggests that he should understand that all the current WAHALA has to do with his management of the economy which is in real dire straits with no sign of any upturn soon. And lest he be mistaken, he ought to be reminded that it is the difficult and biting economic situation, worsened by the runaway corruption in this government, evidenced by the profligacy and ostentatious display of suddenly acquired wealth, is what will be driving people into the streets to protest.

And he would do the country and himself well by restraining the behavior of his officials especially his chairman whose poisonous rants are serving only to harden the resolve of the people to go into the streets on June 7. Jailed former President Charles would recall later that the NPFL’s march on Monrovia could have been stopped dead in its tracks with only one word from the Americans.

Similarly, all it will require to maintain peace and calm in the nation is just one word from President Weah to his supporters ordering restraint. But whether he can do that remains to be seen. Above all, he should remember that he does not have the luxury of time as a “stitch in time saves nine”.

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