As reactions continue to trail the recent State of the Nation Address delivered by President George Manneh Weah during the week, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), a left wing radical political movement, has given damning verdict on what it said fell short of what Liberians should be hearing from their leader at this time, describing the State of the Nation address by the President as “a well-structured lie”.
“Before going any further, we want to consider this fourth annual message as a well-structured lie with no basis for truth to tell the people of Liberia”, the EFFL started with the breakdown of the analysis that followed.
In a press release made public under the signatures of Messrs. Olushola Kim Ekunode, Deputy Secretary for Press and Ansumariam Dukuly, National Chairman, EFFL said instead of looking at only the SONA, it decided to do a complete analysis of the three years President Weah has been in the saddle of power, the period which it described as a betrayal of what was expected of the President by the Liberian people who overwhelmingly voted him into power.
The EFFL which has perfected plans to transition to a full fledge political party said that what endeared the Presidential bid of Mr. Weah was the rampant corruption under the Unity Party-led government where international advocate groups such as the Global Witness reported that the once heralded sixty-three (63) concessions signed by the government then were all bogus, meaning that Weah inherited a nation in the throes of huge credibility crisis and that he needed to take immediate action to correct the negative perception hanging on the image of the country.
According to the release, unfortunately the President and his government have even aggravated the tales of corruption, citing the much talked about missing $LD16 billion, the unaccounted for $25 million meant for mopping up of excess liquidity from the market and the appointment of Cllr Ndubuisi Nwabudike, the controversial Nigerian national whose citizenship is being challenged as well as the refusal of government officials to declare their assets in accordance with the existing laws of the land.
The EFFL condemned the way and manner President Weah has handled the issue of reconciliation and the fight against impunity by refusing to implement the TRC report and bringing to book all those who perpetrated heinous crimes against humanity; but instead the President has gone to forge bonds with former war Lords and others with acute human rights records, appointing them in government and providing shield from justice for others.
The release said it was a huge disappointment for some of them who saw Weah as a non- partisan in our brutal war and whom they so much believe in to be the one to pursue justice will do a U turn to frustrate all efforts to implement the TRC report.
On the state of the economy, EFFL chided the government and wondered why it will take the same route of shifting blames by the past leadership under the Unity Party when there are realistic approaches that can be adopted to put the economy on the right path.
The group said for instance the agriculture sector which is being seen as the vehicle to reinvent the economy and create jobs for millions of our citizens, receives little or no attention under President Weah’s leadership.
“Interestingly, the economic management team that should be the driving force in search for solutions to our economic crisis is busy celebrating the IMF’s growth projections of about 3 percent that are not based on any scientific data but rather on mere perception. Where is the investment to support the IMF’s growth projections”, EFFL wondered.
The EFFL also criticized the government for the deplorable health sector which it said can be attributed to insufficient budget allocation, poor administration and rampant corruption. The release said despite the mounting challenges facing the health sector, only $80,340,072 was allotted in the 2019/2020 fiscal budget and it was decreased by $13,417,703 in the 2020/21 fiscal year, the action which EFFL considers a lack of priority for the health sector
To solve most of the problems facing the country, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia among others, recommended that the President Weah remove from office Cllr Ndubuisi Nwabudike as Chairman of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, that the government should immediately provide long term loans to rubber producers through the banking system, and government should build regional rubber processing plants to encourage local rubber producers who cannot compete with Firestone due to the lack of processing plants in the country.
The group also recommended that the government focus on capital provision to Liberian own businesses through the local banking system, implement the TRC Reports as a means to end the entire impunity and establish the Anti- Corruption court in Liberia. The government, the EFFL added, should prioritize health facilities throughout the country by increasing direct budget support to improve their delivery capacity, and that the education sector be reorganized through increased budgetary support to improve learning facilities, training, etc.
The EFFL release did not only critique everything the President said, but it also found room to praise the President for the proposed amendment of the Sexual and Gender based violence ACT to provide more protection for victims as well as for the proposed ACT to create an anti- corruption court and to give the LACC the power to prosecute.