Is AMK Biting More than He Can Chew? -As His post-election Statements Provoke UP Stalwarts, Partisans
MONROVIA: Gbarpolu County Senator-elect Amara M. Konneh should by now be cruising on Victory Highway, enjoying the euphoria that comes with navigating the odds that attended the just-ended runoff presidential election which made George Weah a one-term president, and former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai the winner of a contest that bookmakers had hedged heavily in favor of incumbent Weah. With his announcement as the Rescue Mission Campaign Coordinator after the narrowly-tied October polls, former Finance Minister Konneh took charge of the Unity Party Alliance Situation Room and spearheaded the campaign’s polling activities, a feat that led to the Unity Party’s ouster of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government on November 14, 2023. But as The Analyst reports, it seems as if Senator-elect Amara M. Konneh (AMK) is overstepping his bounds by issuing statements outside of his pay grade, for which this paper is credibly informed, some UP partisans and stalwarts are waxing mad.
AMK’s Statement after the November 21 Unity Party Headquarter Road Rage Incident
It can be recalled how following an intense investigation, the Liberia National Police on Monday, November 27, 2023 charged one Lawrence K. Williams with multiple crimes, ranging from murder to aggravated assault and recklessly endangering the lives of Unity Party partisans who were celebrating former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s presidential victory on November 20 at their Unity Party Headquarters on Broad Street.
The police said the accused “criminally, purposely, and intentionally” caused the death of Peter Gray, Mariama Kromah, and Varney Sulieman by allegedly ramming a vehicle through the victims.
The Police further established that defendant Williams is a staunch supporter of the ruling CDC and a member of the Militant Brigade of the CDC for the past two years.
The investigators’ report contained in the court document claimed that the crime was motivated by monetary benefits from an unknown source, and that Willams would later flee the crime scene through the help of a motorcycle rider identified as Adolphus Cooper, a student of the AME University. Cooper would also claim that Williams tried to bribe him with US$280.00 to keep the location of his residence secret.
It can also be recalled that Gbarpolu County Senator-elect Amara Konneh on November 21 issued a social media post clearly stating that the Unity Party Headquarter Road incident was an accident. Many believe that Konneh’s statement, which had been released prior to any police investigation, was meant to jeopardize police investigations into the matter.
“Greg Coleman, AB Kromah, and Sam Gaye interviewed the suspect, his wife, and the motorcyclist who took him to safety to avoid mod justice and later turned him in. This was an accident! Let’s pray for the victims.
“Let’s not rush to a conclusion about the incident at the UP HQ last night. It might have been an honest accident. We should be worried about a no-show by the LNP. It was the UP security that arrested the driver and turned him to the LNP. Please stay calm!” Konneh stated.
The remarks from Mr. Konneh sparked a flurry of reactions from the Unity Party, as some well-known stalwarts readily spoke their mind on what many had come to describe as “loose talk” from Amara Konneh.
“Something tells me the person arrested was not the actual driver of the car. I am not going with any “accident” narrative. Our names are “listed”. Tomorrow, they could say the same,” remarked veteran broadcast media practitioner Patrick Honnah.
“This is so wrong. Mr. Konneh has no business to say it was an accident. Is he working with the Liberia National Police? Why should Gregory Coleman and Abe Kromah have even interviewed the suspect?” wondered James Burphy, a partisan of UP.
20 Scholarships for UP Alliance Situation Room workers
Without a doubt, there is a wide consensus regarding public perception on how Amara Konneh leveraged his IT background to bring new dynamism into the Unity Party Alliance Situation Room, which helped in many ways to project the runoff election results with very little margin of error. Minutes before the National Elections Commission (NEC) had announced its results, Amara was on his way to President-elect Joe Boakai Rehab Residence armed with sufficient online data that projected Boakai was the ultimate winner of the November 14 runoff election.
But hardly had images of a joyously weeping Amara Konneh completed making the rounds on social media, did he issue what critics have come to term as an “egotistical showoff commentary”, when he stated that a 20 graduate studies scholarships had been granted by a donor for young professional members of the UP Alliance Situation Room ONLY to study abroad.
“Quality education matters in preparing principled leaders and building a credible state!” Amara had boasted.
However, as with Mr. Konneh’s haphazard statement regarding the November 20, 2023 Road rage incident that left three UP partisans death and scores of partisans critically wounded, many have come to view the Gbarpolu County Senator-elect’s scholarship statement as deeply divisive, meant to ignore the commitment and diligence deployed by all Unity Party partisans in ensuring victory for President-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai and his Vice President-elect Jeremiah Kpan Koung.
“What is worrying about this post is that scholarships should be open to all Liberians based on merit, not based on partisan politics,” remarked Clarence Pearson from the USA.
Borbor Koryon also disagrees with how the scholarship was awarded. “This opportunity is clearly for only those who staunchly supported the Unity Party and worked in the Situation Room as well. It’s not a good start. As long as this isn’t Amara’s personal money, such opportunity should be provided to all qualified Liberians, regardless of their political affiliation.”
As for Theola Gibson, a staunch supporter of the UP, the scheme smacked of how the CDC government ran its policy actions. “It’s just like CDC saying only CDCIANS can work in their government,” Madam Gibson fumed.
However, others disagreed with the reactions from the Unity Party partisans and sided with Amara Konneh. “The poster was specific and clear it would have been an issue if the scholarship was funded by taxpayer money. This is a political institution private initiative geared at developing its loyal partisans’ capacity. Remember, the UP is still an opposition political party. Do you expect the Unity Party to train 20 CDCians with its privately-sought-after funds?” wondered Theresa D. Bright, a diehard partisan of UP.
The “managing expectations” straw breaker
The third straw that seemed to have broken the public’s patience with former Minister Konneh’s perceived “loose talks” came from a recent post, urging Liberians to manage their expectations as a new government takes over.
“The total overdue and pending debt payments is US$29.79 million. US$26.48 million is due in December. External debt is US$17.58 million and domestic debt is US$12.21 million. Tough road for the new administration. Manage your expectations!” AMK cautioned Liberians on November 25.
But taking to social media to address Mr. Konneh’s admonition, political activist Martin KN Kollie said the message is not right for a transition period, especially when a comprehensive audit or inventory has not been done.
“We said it’s too soon to start telling Liberians to manage their expectations when a comprehensive audit and/or inventory of the system hasn’t taken place to know what we are inheriting as a government. Debt numbers are not enough to infer such a grim outlook. It is too soon to do that. Allow our people to celebrate their victory. Let’s articulate the right messages during this transition. We must continue to inspire hope and optimism; and not pessimism,” Martin Kollie stated in a social media post.
Former Auditor General John Sembe Morlu for his part totally agrees with Martin Kollie, noting that managing expectations should not be an option for the new government.
“We are obligated to meet the expectations set by the Liberian people. Managing these expectations is not an option; it is our duty. We made promises that Joe Boakai would actively combat corruption, ensure accountability, conduct a thorough audit of the Weah administration, investigate instances of corruption, recover unlawfully acquired assets, establish an efficient government, generate employment opportunities, end drug trafficking, and make substantial investments in the well-being of Liberians.
“It is imperative that we not only articulate these commitments but actively work towards fulfilling them. Living up to these expectations is not just a political necessity; it is a commitment to the welfare and progress of the Liberian nation,” former AG Morlu stated emphatically in a social media post.