All Hands Needed on Deck -Pres. Weah Proposes National Dialogue on Economy

Once again, the President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, has provided another opportunity for opposition politicians and critics of his government to contribute their skills and expertise to solving national issues that matter to the nation and its people. Since taking over as the 24th President and particularly during the last few months when some citizens were planning to protest, the Liberian leader continued to plead for dialogue as a way out to the country’s vexing economic and political problems. Concurrently, there have been little signs that his agitators and critics would come to the discussion table, but that has not been diminishing the President’s resolve to send out clarion calls for all citizens to lend an idea to prevailing national debacles. Will they heed the calls this time? The Analyst reports.

President George Manneh Weah has sent out yet another challenge to Liberians, particularly opposition political opponents and civil society actors to bring their ideas and knowhow to the dialogue table to fix the ailing Liberian economy.

Delivering a short nationwide message Tuesday, June 11, the Liberian leader called for collective effort of all Liberians to achieve the desired objective of reviving the economy and placing our country on a path of sustainable development and transformation.

“We will have to come together to devise and support new measures which are necessary to address the structural defects and imbalances in our economy,” the President said, acknowledging that every citizen has a vested interest in the peace and economic development of our country.

“My Government recognizes that the alternative views of all citizens are equally vital in finding a way forward,” he said, adding: “It is because of this fact that I now take the opportunity to again invite the leaders of political parties, civil society groups, elders, religious leaders, our traditional leaders, student leaders and the business community to a round-table discussion to afford them the opportunity to present their alternative views or their suggestions on the economy.”

He called on Liberians to sit and dialogue on the way forward for economic revival in Liberia.

“Bring your ideas to the table, and I assure you that they will be given my most careful consideration,” the Liberian President asserted.

The President used the nationwide address , which followed the much-talk-about June 7 Protest, to assure Liberians once again that his government would protect the constitutional rights of Liberians irrespective of political views, tribal backgrounds and social status.

“Let me assure you that, under my leadership, this government will continue to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Liberians – irrespective of their political affiliation, tribe and religion,” the President said Tuesday during a live radio address to the nation.

He acknowledged that on Friday, June 7 “some of our citizens exercised their constitutional right to publicly assemble with the objective to petition their government.”

The Liberian leader commended the protesters for the peaceful and orderly manner in which they exercised that right.

He also extended similar commendation to non-protesting Liberians who chose to go about their normal business on that day in a peaceful and orderly manner. The President said he was pleased that both sides—protesting and non-protesting Liberians–demonstrated tolerance and respect for the rights of the other in keeping with the rule of law.

President Weah also thanked not only the national security apparatus of the country for their professionalism in protecting lives and property and ensuring public safety but also commended “our international partners for their continued support in assisting the Government and people of Liberia to consolidate the democratic gains that we have made over the years.”

He extolled the local and international media for their coverage in keeping with their professional responsibilities.

Speaking of the economy which most Liberians are concerned about, the President said he had told the nation while assuming the presidency that “we had inherited a broken economy and pledged to you that I would exert every effort to fix the economy and improve the lives and livelihood of our people.”

But while efforts to fix the economy are sustained and ongoing, he said, “We are still facing challenging times.”

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