It Is The Message, Not The Messenger!


Former PUL executives according to media reports have written US President Joe Biden a letter drawing his attention to what the former executives have described as the alarming state of bad governance in Liberia under the Weah administration.

The former executives also flagged rising levels of insecurity citing mysterious killings and disappearances as example and urged the US government to engage more constructively with this government in order to address such concerns.

But no sooner had their letter been made public, official spin doctors went into overdrive attacking the personalities of the former PUL executives rather than addressing themselves to the issues raised in the letter to US President Biden.

But the issues raised in the letter are by no means new as such concerns have been raised before by various civil society organizations. They were either conveniently ignored or treated with benign contempt.

But the US Ambassador to Liberia, speaking at a formal program marking the close of US assistance to Liberia under the framework of the Millennium Challenge Account, stressed that in order to qualify for an extension of the program, the Government of Liberia will have to take measures to address corruption, bad governance and related issues such as rising insecurity.

With a little less than three (3) years left to the end of his tenure, President Weah’s assurance to the US Ambassador that Liberia will do all it can to qualify for another compact is something more easily said than done.

This is because President Weah has on several occasions before spoken of his commitment to turn things around but they have amounted to nothing more than mere talk.

For example, despite overwhelming calls from the public for a cabinet reshuffle to rid himself of unproductive officials, that change or has never come for reasons that defy explanation.

During his ongoing county visits, he has not failed to make high sounding promises to the people, the realization of which may prove elusive.

In the face of the current economic downslide which appears unlikely to be reversed anytime soon, analysts are predicting that any failure on his part to deliver on the welter of promises being made could harm President Weah’s chances for a successful second-term bid.

Additionally, there are other factors to consider as well. Key amongst those issues is the fallout of the attack on an Ivorian military barracks in Abidjan by men described as Liberian mercenaries.

According to sources scores of Liberians living in that country, are being hounded by local people as well as by Ivorian security officers.

Quite clearly, according to reports received from that country, Liberians are living in daily fear of their lives as things unravel in that neighboring country.

So far President Weah’s response to developments in neighboring Ivory Coast has at best been ineffectual which should not be the case according to a retired diplomat.

This is because the spillover potential of such attacks cannot be ruled out or dismissed by the wave of a hand.

It can be recalled that recently several individuals identified as Liberians were arrested at a checkpoint after weapons were discovered on board their vehicles.

Their seven (7) vehicle convoy was set ablaze the weapons (AK-47) confiscated and several occupants arrested. 

They were linked to Ousmane Bamba, an Ivorian/Burkinabe national and business man,who is said to enjoy very close ties with President Weah.

Sources say he was a principal player in the fizzled-out and failed loan arrangements involving Eton finance and a Burkinabe company.

Sources also say that this recent affair has severely strained relations between Ivorian President Ouattara and President Weah and there is no telling where this road may lead.

In view of all the above, President Weah needs to reflect for a moment on the deeper implications of official misunderstanding between Liberia and her neighbors as well as his handling of the nation’s affairs.

The letter written to President Biden by former PUL officials should constitute a wake-up call for President Weah to act to turn things around. The hurling of invectives against the journalists by spin doctors and supporters of this government will not help its cause. After all it is the message and not the messenger that counts.


  1. The Daily Observer’s title for this piece says, “It is the message, not the messenger.”

    Nonetheless, the logic of this assertion is conversed within the Liberian setting. Liberians have a tendency especially during their political discourses to leave the essence of the message and begin to project their anger on the messenger, or the bearer of the message.

    So, being a journalist in Liberia is not always a smooth ride and for this reason, I would once again say thank you to all the stalwart journalists at the Daily Observer, Front Page Africa, and all the other prestigious news networks operated by individuals who are also risking their lives to bring both global and domestic news to the people.

    Why is speaking the truth to power risky in Liberia? It is risky because it hurts, and, thus it exposes the transgressors. These grand larcenists particularly the white collar ones, do not like being caught; they prefer to appear victimless. And consequently, in their cover-up schemes, they often use the state security apparatuses against the masses to impoverish and terrorize them.


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