Responding to President George Manneh Weah’s nationwide broadcast calling on all concerned Liberian stakeholders for a round-table discussion on the economy, the Council of Patriots, conveners of the June 7 “Save the State Protest,” the Council of Patriots (COP) said they will offer a hand to the government if and only if the Weah administration operates in good faith.
Although details of the President’s call remain unknown, the COP considered the statement by President Weah victory for the Liberian people, who the group said have won a major milestone by knocking on the doors of a recalcitrant government that has resisted all attempts to dialogue.
“This is a welcome development as a victory for the Liberian People. The COP will offer a hand to the government if and only if it operates in good faith,” the COP statement co-signed by Henry P. Costa and Abraham Darius Dillon said.
Titled “COP’s RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT GEORGE WEAH’S JUNE 11TH 2019 ADDRESS TO THE NATION JUNE 12 2019,” the statement said barely four days after the mammoth show of national discontent over how the affairs of our nation are being managed, President George Weah has offered to engage in a national dialogue or announced a call to various sectors of the society to engage in a roundtable discussion.
“President Weah did say that our democracy has been tried and tested but we beg to disagree that our democracy is “matured, resilient and strong”. And we are pleased that the President has apparently realized that the state needs to be saved by his use of our slogan, “Save the State”, in closing his speech yesterday,” the statement maintained.
According to the COP, the People of Liberia assembled peaceably keeping and upholding their duties and responsibilities as citizens. The group notwithstanding indicated that the government did not demonstrate maturity and commitment to our social contract when it engaged in tactics to undermine the freedom of assembly and freedom of movement on June 7, 2019.
“It illegally interrupted access to the internet, intimidated and harassed citizens, threatened civil servants and other public sector employees and even ordered that schools and businesses be open. The People disobeyed and this form of civil disobedience exposed the weakness of the government,” the group said in their statement.
The Council of Patriots indicated that there are confirmed reports that some individuals are being dismissed and or being threatened at work places in government and some of colleagues and innocent citizens are still behind bars on trumped-up charges. “All attempts to follow the law are being undermined by draconian tactics being deployed by State Prosecutors”, they said, accentuating that they find these developments troubling and reject the hypocrisy associated with the President’s address.
While they expressed appreciation for the government’s request to dialogue, they urged the government to release all 21 of their supporters that are currently being held at the Monrovia Central Prison.
“Attempts to secure a valid insurance bond were undermined due to alleged threats issued by some members of the Government to Insurance Companies and the file associated with the case was taken away by the County Attorney on June 10, 2019 when the matter was assigned,” the Council of Patriots reacted.
They said they deemed these developments as attempts to deny the detainees free and fair trial and the desire of this government to indulge in similar practices of the past; demanding that the decision to charge and arrest Mr. Yekeh Kolubah, a sitting Representative, must be revoked.
They COP also said it is thankfully that the president now agrees with them that the economy has worsened, but added that there are smart measures and viable solutions to address this situation if there is political will to do so.
“However, we believe that the current Economic Management Team headed by the Minister of Finance must be dismissed and replaced if any confidence is to be restored. They have proven to be inept, corrupt and incapable of offering a solid economic blueprint that will resuscitate our ailing economy and alleviate the hardships faced by our people,” the suggested, indicating that these actions do not require a national dialogue but the political will which they believe is lacking in this President.
“The Liberian people will longer sit by and watch hopelessly the reckless self-enrichment and ostentatious display of ill-gotten wealth by the President and the inner circle of his administration,” the furthered, stressing that Liberians will no longer sit by and hopelessly perish without any solutions in sight after more than 14 months of this administration.
The COP emphatically states that it is opened to dialogue and will work on their terms and conditions as well as the agenda for any engagement while they await the Government.