President Weah at a recent cabinet meeting held in Kakata, Margibi County told his lieutenants that time was of essence and that time was not in their favor. “Time is not in our favor; therefore it is necessary that we double up to meet the growing demands of our people,” he said. He then admonished his cabinet to fast track efforts in the interest of the people.
An Executive Mansion release said the President convened the special session to “take stock of pending development initiatives and challenges as well as to explore methods and strategies that would hasten the delivery of critical government services to the much-expectant Liberian populace”.
Admitting to the difficult challenges being encountered by his government, President Weah said, “Our government was inaugurated just in January, and now we are talking about one year. The Pro-Poor Agenda needs to be achieved, and the only way to achieve this is to keep checking on the gains we have made and how we can overcome the challenges on the way.”
Judging from the President’s remarks, things have not fared as well as expected. As such, the Cabinet retreat became necessary in order to take stock of what has been achieved and what needs to be done in order to accelerate the pace of current development initiatives.
Moreover, according to Executive Mansion sources, it was intended to develop an effective framework and a common and coordinated approach, which should yield intended results.
But although President Weah may lack the finesse and wit of some of his trusted lieutenants, nevertheless President Weah’s remarks clearly show that his perception of what is going wrong is incisive and is a telling indictment of his officials whose incoherence on critical issues reflects a strong degree of cluelessness which could be contributing to the current malaise.
For example, on the issue of the infusion of US$25 million in the economy, conflicting accounts have been given by both the Finance Minister and the Governor of the Central Bank. On the one hand the Finance Minister told the public that the money was infused directly — not through the commercial banks — but through individuals believed to be holding large amounts of Liberian dollar banknotes.
On the other hand, the Governor of the Central Bank has also told the public that the money was infused not through the banking system but through public auction, although he did not disclose who the beneficiaries of this novel scheme were.
It can be recalled that President Weah, during the latest cabinet retreat in Kakata, stressed the importance of coordination and coherence which appears to suggest that for the most part implementation of government policy objectives have not been well coordinated neither have they been coherent.
His (President Weah’s) reminder to the cabinet that almost a year has elapsed since he ascended to office signals his recognition of the fleet-footedness of time which also confers upon him a sense of urgency to see things get done expeditiously.
Indeed there are many issues on the President’s plate which must be addressed within the nick of time. And one of such issues which should be addressed has to do with the setting up of an accountability mechanism to address issues of past human rights abuses.
Over the last weekend, Monrovia played host to a number of human rights and war crimes advocates who converged here to discuss and strategize on ways the process of accountability can be advanced, According to the Geneva based UN High Commission for Human Rights, Liberia has until 2020 to consummate the process of setting up a Court (War Crimes) to bring to justice those responsible for past human rights abuses.
This is a matter which, in the opinion of this newspaper, cannot afford to wait. President Weah should, rather than listen to many of his fair weather friends, “dribble” his way to the altar of accountability from which the question of the missing billions and the US$25 million infused in the economy can all be settled in an expeditious and transparent manner.
But lest we be remiss, we must urge President Weah to be mindful of the promises made to support accountability for perpetrators of war and economic crimes when he served as UNICEF Ambassador.
And without fear of contradiction, this newspaper can safely declare that there will likely be repercussions if the Weah led government does not follow through on this matter, just as there will likely be repercussions for not bringing officials to book for the missing billions. And such development will, more likely than not, undermine the achievement of the Pro-poor Agenda.
As the President himself has admitted, “The Pro-Poor Agenda needs to be achieved, and the only way to achieve this is to keep checking on the gains we have made and how we can overcome the challenges on the way.”