MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND FELLOW LIBERIANS
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.
The details of this remain unknown, however, the Liberian people 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.
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 People of Liberia assembled peaceably keeping and upholding their duties and responsibilities as citizens. Our government did not demonstrate maturity and commitment to our social contract. 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.
There are confirmed reports that some individuals are being dismissed and or being threatened at work places in government and some of our 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.
We find these developments troubling and reject the hypocrisy associated with the President’s address.
While we appreciate the government’s request to dialogue, we note the following:
- We urge the government to release all 21 of our 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. We deem 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; the decision to charge and arrest Hon. Yekeh Kolubah, a sitting Representative, must be revoked.
- Thankfully, the president now agrees with us that the economy has worsened, but 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. These actions do not require a national dialogue but the political will which we 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. Liberians will no longer sit by and hopelessly perish without any solutions in sight after more than 14 months of this administration.
Finally, the COP must state that we are open to dialogue and will work on our terms and conditions as well as the agenda for any engagement while we await the Government.
Henry P. Costa
Abraham Darius Dillon