The attention of the Daily Observer is drawn to concerns emanating from President Weah’s decision to axe Deputy Minister of Information Eugene Fahngon for preaching hate and disseminating divisive messages that may have the propensity to throw the country back into conflict.
For the past few weeks the Daily Observer has unrelentingly urged President Weah to take charge or else allow others to take charge and lead him to an untimely and unkind fate. At a point it was beginning to appear as though others were actually in charge and leading President Weah, rather than the other way around.
On one hand, Minister of State Nathaniel McGill had even declared himself the actual leader of the country while on the other hand, Finance Minister Samuel Tweh made sure to inform Liberians who was actually in charge when he declared that Information Minister Eugene Nagbe did not know what he was talking about when he (Nagbe) declared that money had gone missing.
Still yet, the public bore witness to the poisonous rants of CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu and the now axed Eugene Fahngon all of which tended to suggest that all of them were in charge but which in reality meant no one was in charge. Amid all this President Weah had maintained a stony silence casting a somehow distinct impression that he was out of touch and things were fast slipping out his grasp.
Even his official legal advisor, Justice Minister Musa Dean had appeared clueless, having clearly lost his footing by his laughable response to the request by the organizers of the proposed June 7 public protest. His slippage on the matter apparently served to rev Deputy Minister Fahngon into high gear as he took to the airwaves reading a false narrative of history and urging his followers, (country people as he called them) into action on June 8 with a counter protest demonstration.
Meanwhile this newspaper had all along been sounding the alarm about the build up of tension, strident rhetoric from both sides and what appeared to be a fixed determination by supporters of this government to resort to violence.
The open display by gun toting youths of the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU), in the opinion of this newspaper constituted a grave act of provocation and an open invitation to others to arm themselves likewise. In one editorial after the other, April 18, 19,24, 25, 26, 29, 30: May 3,6,7, the Daily Observer has unfailingly and consistently warned President Weah of the dangers posed to the security and stability of the state by the conduct some of his officials who appear bent on the pursuit of vindictive personal agendas.
Despite these repeated warnings neither President Weah nor his supporters appeared moved or shaken from their fixed position that the proposed demonstration was against the law. To be sure an Assistant Minister had placed a post on social media, warning would-be participants in the protest, that they should bid their families farewell when they leave their homes on June 7 to participate in the protest.
And it had appeared as though the engagements with former President Sirleaf, former Vice President Boakai and Representative Kolubah had no import on President Weah, especially as his Press Secretary Smith Toby had not retracted his statement accusing protest organizers of receiving a huge sum of money to pay participants, a matter which he declared President Weah was fully aware of.
As the tension rose further, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) announced its intention to intervene, although protest organizers had made it clear that such intervention was not going to change their decision to stage the protest on June 7.
Then came former Senator and elder statesman, Cletus Wortorson with an impassioned plea that the Senate plenary engage President with the view to act to calm the state, which he observed, was gripped with tension.
According to sources, President Weah did meet with the Senate although it appeared hush-hush. Not much was disclosed of its outcomes and the standoff continued taking a new twist with Deputy Minister Fahngon’s fiery and divisive rants on the airways — a virtual declaration of war between “Natives and Congos.”
But all of this was to change dramatically with a statement from the US Embassy decrying what it claimed is the hateful and divisive rants of Deputy Minister Fahngon, Senator Prince Johnson and Representative Yekeh Kolubah, which have the propensity to throw the nation back into conflict.
And as if by magic, President Weah immediately axed Fahngon and has since declared that people have the right to protest. That decision while welcome to the public, has raised a critical question about sovereignty and whether President Weah is indeed answerable to the US Embassy/government or to the Liberian people.
It has also raised questions in the public why the US Embassy did not act similarly in the case of the alleged missing billions and the US$25 million mop up exercise. Also, on the list of concerns is why has the US government through its embassy not brought war crime charges against the executioner of the five American Catholic nuns.
Or better still, why it has not pressed President Weah into a decision on the establishment of a war and economic crimes court for Liberia where accused war crimes suspects Prince Johnson, Alhaji Kromah and others can be made to account for their respective deals?
Truth be told, the US government appear to have failed the Liberian people in their quest for justice and accountability, never mind the fact that some war crimes suspects have been apprehended and brought to trial in the US.
It is now ten years since the TRC submitted its report which has since been shelved. The US has poured millions into the country for development but has consistently ignored the cries of the people for justice and an end to the culture of impunity.
Notwithstanding these observations, the Daily Observer welcomes the intervention of the US Embassy but with a curt reminder that this horse and rider relationship must end.