Inner-circle aides to President Weah have often discussed how the President has often had beefs with personal security guards who would deny his requests to act ordinarily rather than VIP because he has always wanted to nurse his nostalgia for the ordinary world—at times wanting to disembark from official convoy to talk to familiar people, shake hands or simply stroll. But last Friday was not one of those light moments. It is something that threatened the very security of the country’s First Citizen. Presidential convoy carrying the President, his advisors and other members of Cabinet, was held up involuntarily. Monrovia’s vehicular traffic was at its craziest level, though as security pundits say, it could have been avoided if the President’s security operatives, principally the Executive Security Service Agents, had carried out their functions properly. Many are now pointing to a variety of reasons for the highly risky and threatening incident on the President in particular and the national security in general. The Analyst reports.
Presidential motorcades the world over optimize the ability of the President to move smoothly from one location to another, often minimizing potential attacks from enemies. Comprising a variety of cars including the route and pilot cars, the sweepers, the lead car, the presidential couch, down to the rear guard, the motorcade is a normal routine of every president’s convoy. The protective details of the Secret Service are masters of what they do, and they know how to optimize their capabilities against a potential enemy’s weaknesses and strengths.
The situation on Friday, November 13, 2020 which left President Weah’s convoy stuck in the SKD Boulevard traffic, has made many to ponder as to the effectiveness of the presidential detail in ably managing the movement of the Liberian presidency.
According to eyewitness accounts, the movement of President Weah was halted in a very huge traffic last Friday in the suburb of Paynesville, a situation that exposed cracks in the President’s security detail.
The seriousness of such a life-threatening situation on the security of the President has elicited tons of reaction from the public, with many wondering why there was no early warning of the movement of the presidential convoy prior to the movement of the President.
“Whoever created the situation leading to the Liberian President being stuck in traffic tonight needs to answer some serious questions. This should never have happened to the Liberian leader,” a concerned Liberian remarked minutes after the security snafu.
Pundits say it is quite unthinkable for the leader of an African country that places a premium on the security of the presidency to have been exposed to such a high level security threat, given the rising wave of crime and unexplained deaths of citizens.
An executive of a leading private security firm who confided in this paper on condition of anonymity questioned the professionalism of President Weah’s security detail that left him exposed and stuck in such a heavy traffic.
“This should not only claim the attention of the presidency, but the National Security and Defense Committees of the Legislature. A huge amount of taxpayers’ money goes directly to protecting the President of the Republic of Liberia. The Liberian people deserve answers as to who is really responsible for exposing the President to such a dangerous situation; but moreover, those found culpable should be punished,” the security executive cautioned.
Others blamed the condition on the lack of road development in the country, saying these are the same roads motorists have been using since 1979, with no expansion while the population has grown more than 10 times.
“Our leaders in Liberia, past and present, need to put on their thinking caps and understand the suffering of the common people. The fact that they can easily pass through the traffic using the opposite lanes doesn’t reflect good leadership at all. So tonight, there were no opposite lanes because the traffic was so huge. The main cause of Friday’s traffic is because everyone during late evening hours is heading for home after work and entertainment centers or bars.
Due to the mass standoff of vehicles, riders of some of the stuck vehicles had to get out of their respective vehicles to walk to their locations, while the president’s convoy was still at a standstill.