EDITORIAL: Weah’s Unpleasant Outburst and the Intent of the Farmington River Declaration

ON TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2023, political leaders of virtually all the political parties in Liberia participated in the Farmington Hotel Declaration organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations (UN), an initiative that will commit the political leaders and their parties to a peaceful election in the ensuing general election.

ONE OF THE major highlights of the program which was well attended by high profile representations including the UN, the African Union (AU), ECOWAS, European Union (EU), members of the diplomatic corps, among others was the Keynote Address delivered by President George Manneh Weah where he spoke of his government’s commitment to holding a peaceful, free and fair election and respect the outcome from the process. The speech was highly applauded and had reassured the citizens and the international community why the government should be trusted on this very important promise.

AS WORTHY AS his speech was seen and heard by those who attended the historic occasion, the unpleasantly outburst from President Weah against Mr. Reginald Goodridge, the Political leader and Standard Bearer of the Rainbow Alliance (RA) who he derogatorily referred to as a rogue that once stole his car was a complete opposite of what the declaration hoped to achieve for which enormous resources, time and energy were exhausted in the process.

WE SEE THIS as a serious embarrassment to the country and the state of the ensuing election and hereby categorically condemn the President’s utterances against fellow citizens which were not germane towards the existence of a peaceful society. We believe no amount of provocation or offence committed by Mr. Goodridge whether in the past or present against President Weah was worth the way the president approached Goodridge right at the very venue meant to brace peace, especially in the presence of the international community.

WE JUST IMAGINE what would have happened if the situation had gone out of control and a security breach had occurred. What is so disheartening is for the President to choose that particular day meant for people to trigger serious confusion when he has had all the luxury of time over the years to have raised the issue with Goodridge or seek to resolve the perceived differences with him. Was the time ripe for such confrontation? Would there be no other time again for the President to see Goodridge and confront him or settle with him? We say absolutely no. Beyond that day and venue, there have been several opportunities available to the President to have used to get whatever justice he wanted and there are still more of such.

IT IS VERY important to add here that as President, Mr. Weah is the chief law enforcement or should be the custodian of rule of law in the country and must be the last person to abuse this. It sent a wrong signal that under his administration justice is not a necessity the citizens should enjoy because if he can attempt to take the law into his own hand by raining insults and threats on private citizens, then there should be serious concern about the absence of this inalienable right.

PRESIDENT WEAH HAS to move faster to amend the blunder exhibited by taking steps to correct the battered image he has presented outside there. And there we come again to urge him to come public and render an unreserved apology to the nation and perhaps to the international community who are well informed about the major distraction to the pursuit of the peaceful election we are all craving to have.

THE NATION AND its people are hurt and the President must summon the courage to speak out and give us a reassuring commitment that we need to believe him to deliver a peaceful, free and fair election.

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