The Daily Observer welcomes the action taken by President George Weah to sanction Deputy Minister Eugene Fahngon for inciting hate and promoting divisiveness. According to an Executive Mansion Press release, the President has with immediate effect suspended Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon.
Although the release did not state reasons for the suspension, the Press release however stressed President Weah’s commitment to a “one country, one people policy” with absolutely zero tolerance to what it referred to as divisive politicking or tribalism”.
Prior to the action taken by the President, the United States Embassy near Monrovia had issued a rather stern statement condemning what it called inciting unlawful acts through ill-considered rhetoric that could undermine the country’s peace and stability.
The Embassy in a rather out of the box commentary on the current political situation mentioned the names of Senator Prince Johnson Representative Yekeh Kolubah and Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon of inciting unlawful acts through hate messages on social media.
It can be recalled that the Daily Observer has repeatedly drawn attention to the strident rhetoric coming from both sides of the divide which is serving to build rising and palpable tension. And the Daily Observer, guided by experience, has expressed deep concern over reports of unauthorized individuals illegally carrying arms and making an open display of it. This was the main thrust of its April 30, 2019 editorial.
The Daily Observer is however in support of President Weah’s clamp down on purveyors of hate speech serving in his government. Aside from Representative Yekeh Kolubah whose tirades have been directed mainly at President Weah, there is also CDC chairman Mulbah Morlu whose poisonous rants rival those of Eugene Fahngon.
In its April 30, 2019 editorial the Daily Observer made reference to an official of the Liberia National Student Union (LINSU) who was pictured on social media openly displaying an illegally acquired pistol tucked in his belt but yet, drawing no response from the Police.
Further, in its May 6, 2019 editorial, headlined “ A Stich in Time” the Daily Observer noted that President Weah would do 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, the editorial noted that a single word from President Weah was it required to heel his errant officials into line but wondered whether the President could just that. Now President Weah has done just that with the suspension of Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon from office. The public expects that others will follow suit but whatever the case the message sent by Fahngon’s suspension should send a clear message.
The Daily Observer notes that this disciplinary measure will go a long way to defusing the palpable tension in the air and help to create a conducive climate for engaging the opposition particularly, the organizers of the June 7 protest demonstration. President Weah’s recent engagement with former President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Boakai was certainly a positive step although not much has publicly been disclosed about the encounters with both individuals.
The Council of Churches as well as the Inter-religious Council may be next in line for engagement with President Weah. These are certainly positive developments however; President Weah should not fall to sleep on his laurels. The proposed June 7 demonstrations, he should remember, are all about the economy and the direction in which it is heading particularly.
Accordingly, it would do President Weah well were he to consider the holding of a special summit in which all parties will be represented in meaningful discussions on the current political situation and in particular, the economy which is the most vexing problem currently confronting the people and which is being widely discussed.
According to insider sources, President Weah’s action against Minister Fahngon has sent a clear message to would-be hate messengers but without realizing it perhaps, his action has also served to a wedge between him and his officials and is sure to usher in a wave of sycophantic behavior amongst his officials.
And that he should be wary of because, drawing from experience, he could likely find himself in similar straits as President Tolbert once found himself. As his wife Victoria would recall in her memoirs, President Tolbert had friends pretending to be close but had the worst things to say about him in his absence and right there in the Executive Mansion of all places.
The Daily Observer however notes that the Eugene Fahngons, Mulbah Morlus and others of their ilk have virtually wreaked havoc across government and indeed the country by their behavior and utterances. Resultantly, he damage done to President Weah’s stature and image, conveying the perception that neither he nor his government can be trusted, may prove extremely difficult to change. In view of this it may probably become too late for this success story of the rise from poverty in the slums of Jiblata to success on football’s global stage and the presidency of Liberia to have a happy ending.
And truth be told, there will be consequences for his officials and those around him. Why? It is because they have already set in motion a number of things that may have unavoidable repercussions. One of such which has been set in motion is the imposition of the questionable Cargo Tracking Note which is leading to increased prices and rising costs of living. Is there any wonder why the proposed June 7 Protest demonstration appears to be gaining greater traction by by the day? Little Wonder Why!