Deepening the ties: the case of Pres. Weah’s presence at the US-Africa Leader’s Summit – By: Sylvester Korvawu Pewee, Executive Director Neo-Progressive Movement of Liberia
An aura of warmth and appreciation filled the room when His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah seized the singular opportunity of addressing scores of African leaders, as well as, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and the government of the United States of America.
Eight years after the initial one was held, this year’s US-Africa Leader’s Summit witnessed an excellent presentation from the Liberian leader when he rallied the collective endorsement of his African counterparts to prioritize the utilization of the reservoir of talents and expertise of African descendants and immigrants in the diaspora which is pivotal to the growth and development of the African Continent.
Not only that President Weah solicited his counterparts’ collective endorsement of tapping on their diaspora citizens’ abilities to develop the continent, he went further to demonstrate the practical steps he and Liberia have taken to create the thoroughfare for such to happen. He informed the summit that in July of this year, he mustered the courage to sign into law an Act authorizing dual citizenship, as well as, allowing women to pass citizenship to their children.
His counterparts could not help but embrace this move with a disposition of acceptance which speaks volume that Liberia, as the oldest independent African nation, is making formidable, if not giant leaps, in removing the legal hurdles that had prevented natural-born Liberians from resuming citizenship of their native land, some of whom where only entangled with circumstances beyond their control.
I must quicken to mention that one of several things that President Weah sought to achieve at the summit was to send a message to his counterparts that inclusive governance sets the basis for stronger patriotism which is a linchpin to the development of the African continent.
Research shows that about US$95.6 Billion is remitted to Africa yearly by Africans living in the diaspora. This figure is projected to multiply should diaspora Africans increase their stake in the development drive of the continent and I am positing here that dual citizenship is one of key indicators that drive said stake.
I am aware that the granting of dual citizenship has been greeted with huge embrace by Liberians living in the diaspora, and certainly their confidence to invest back home has heightened.
Unfortunately, it is this stubborn reality that has stirred the stinking desire of some political disruptors to begin to tenor the unnecessary calls for protest as a way of discouraging the increasing development appetite of our patriots in the diaspora for the Motherland. But as the saying goes, evil only triumphs when good men do nothing; therefore, we will not sit idly by and allow vestiges dooms and from the heydays of the terrible past to derail the progress we continue to make as a nation and people.
My dear countrymen, what was even more captivating was when His Excellency President Weah heralded the call to allow peace to reign on the African continent. He demonstrated leadership par excellence when he mobilized his counterparts’ efforts to join in building a New Africa where peace, unity, democracy, and reconciliation will be the cornerstone and foundation for the future of Africa.
This was a conscious call, a call to duty that was heavily embraced by his colleagues and other leaders of the United States democracy, after which ours is being tailored. That is to say it increased the rating of our foreign engagement as taking the lead in the mobilization of peace and the upholding of the rule of law across the continent.
What is of equal significance is President Weah’s selection amongst six (6) African leaders, including DR Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, to hold a closed door meeting with the United States President, Joseph R. Biden on upcoming elections on the continent, as well as, United States support for free, fair and credible polls in Africa.
The US President’s call was not only necessary for sustaining continental peace, but also reemphasized President Weah’s earlier call for African leaders to keep the peace as a way of building the New Africa.
But more so, it speaks strongly to the long and historic relationship that has subsisted between Liberia and the United States of America which has witnessed the possibility of both countries sharing common positions on issues of democracy, human rights, global peace and security.
It is with no gainsaying that President Weah upped his game and projected the country’s image in an upward direction, thereby allowing for stronger diplomatic relations with counterpart nations on the continent and particularly the United States of America. He even further predicted that such engagements like the US-Africa Leader’s Summit will improve and strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships, foster peace and security on the African continent.
And it goes without saying that these are major gains that the political disruptors back home cannot stomach but oppose – they oppose every good thing that happens to the Motherland in their Sisyphean desperation for political power. This counterproductive attitude, deliberately directed at the people of Liberia got to STOP.
But as rightly intimated by US President Biden, the most that is required of us, which President Weah is already doing, is to keep the peace; so, if any political desperado wants to make-believe that he/she can instigate the disruption of Liberia’s peace is mistaking; for the quest to keep the continent peaceful is not isolated, but an expressed desire of the global community.
That is why I like to, as much as possible, remind President Weah every time I have the boulevard to do so, to continue on his massive development agenda ongoing in the country and not to get distracted by the flimsy propaganda being spewed by residues of past regimes that distributed mayhem to the people of Liberia.
Already, I am confident and certain that the President’s special meeting with President Biden, particularly on the issue of US support to Liberia’s elections, will yield favorable results and will set the basis for determining Liberia’s progress with democracy and governance.
And to say the least, the President’s representation of the country in Washington has set the stage for renewed partnership that will foster stronger cooperation amongst African nations and strengthen relations with our traditional ally, the United States of America.
About the Author:
Sylvester K. Pewee is a Global Leadership Specialist and Political Analyst with elongated years of Public sector and Civil Society experience working in and out of Liberia. He is former Assistant Minister for Public Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia and currently resides in the U.S providing consultancies, while running his CSO, the Neo-Progressive Movement of Liberia.