My Government Is A Listening Administration -Pres. Weah Raps UNGA, Boasting of No Political Prisoners
The United Nations General Assembly is a revered platform that brings together all independent nations and member countries, big and small, despite religious, political and social assimilation. And each nation, represented by its head, often seizes the moment to make its own case that reflects the intrinsic state of affairs at home and abroad. While others, particularly international power players, take up time in their speeches to badmouth or verbally settle scores, others sell the social, economic and political and social profiles in the hope of attracting new friends to their national development affairs. In his second appearance at the UNGA, during its 74th Session, Liberia’s Chief Executive, Dr. George Manneh Weah, took the latter position. He was once again at his best, hypnotizing the hundreds of delegates in the UNGA Hall and millions beyond with tangible achievements he has made since one year and nine months of his ascendency. As The Analyst reports.
The Liberian leader amongst other things bragged about the traditionally rare fact that his government holds no political prisoners and that he runs a Government that listens to his people.
The President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, has bragged—and right so—about his democratic credential which includes the hard fact that his regime has not jailed any activist, politician, journalist and agitators.
The President told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Wednesday, September 25, 2019, that he presides over a political administration that extremely tolerates dissent, protests and other forms of agitations against him and his government.
“Our Government is a listening Administration, and we have been paying keen attention to the voices of our people,” President Weah said, noting that he has discerned from the cries of the people of Liberia on the need for war crimes court and other issues germane to peace and stability.
“It is important to bring closure to the wounds from the 14 years of Liberia’s brutal civil war, and that we need to agree on a mechanism that would guarantee the sustenance of peace, stability, justice, and reconciliation, as well as enhance our prospects for economic recovery,” the Liberian Leader said.
No Political Prisoners
In real time, it is rare in the Liberian governance landscape for there be no political prisoners—whether they are journalists or opposition politicians or civil society actors.
In his one year and nine months, the situation seems a far cry from the past, with no single political prisoners.
That was a source of pride for President Weah and reason to update the world community about this welcoming development at home.
“The political environment remains vibrant, with political actors and parties freely exercising their franchise and participating in various elections,” the Chief Executive said. “I am delighted to report that there are no political prisoners in Liberia, and existing laws that hindered or threatened press freedom have been de-criminalized.”
The President further reported that several protests have taken place from time to time in Liberia but all of them ended peacefully because he and his government welcomed them as a positive manifestation of our democratic maturity.
“This is the democracy for which our country has yearned; this is the freedom for which our people have struggled and suffered; and this is the emancipation for which many of our citizens have paid the ultimate price,” the President emphasized.
Having exalted the enabling and freer political space under his leadership, President Weah used the UNGA speech to report that “we are beginning to witness the emergence of a creeping threat to our democratic space, and to our hard-won peace and stability. Some individuals, within and out of our country, particularly those who have lost democratically-held elections, have resorted to incitement, threats of violence, misuse of social media, and hate speech, with the aim and objective of achieving power through undemocratic means.”
He said his is unacceptable, and called on the UN and international community and those wishing Liberia well to discourage the destabilizers.
President Weah said for democracy to thrive, all Liberians, including both the ruling parties and the opposition parties, must respect the rule of law, and abide by the procedures and regulations prescribed therein.
“As the leading opposition party in Liberia during the past 12 years, our Party, the Congress for Democratic Change, accepted the disputed results of the two previous Presidential Elections, in 2005 and 2011, in the interest of peace,” President Weah reflected on his days in opposition.
He added that despite obvious cheat and provocation from the ruling administration spanning for 12 years, “we continued to engage the government of the day in a constructive manner, even accepting to serve as Peace Ambassador when called upon to assist them to maintain the peace under their regime.”
He added: “We must all learn to respect the mandates of the electorates, even when that mandate is not in our favor, and not be selective in our support for democracy only when we win.”
The Liberian leader then called on Liberians, both at home and abroad, to appreciate the fact that without peace, there can be no progress or development.
“All Liberians, therefore, have a responsibility to maintain the peace that we now enjoy, especially those of you who desire to be future leader of Liberia; remember, it was the love of liberty that established us as a country. It was our unity that made us the First Independent African Republic, and it will take our joint efforts to sustain the peace, develop and reconcile our nation and gain economic stability.”
Liberia is UN Success Story
The President appreciated the world community for its support to the people of Liberian during the 14 years of conflict, stating that Liberia is a UN success story.
After being devastated by a brutal civil conflict that lasted for 14 years, peace was restored and maintained by what was then the largest peace-keeping force in the history of this organization. Under the auspices of the UNMIL peace-keepers, Liberians enjoyed sixteen (16) years of unbroken peace, he asserted.
He said Liberians remain grateful for the efforts and sacrifices made by the world community, particularly the United Nations, in securing Liberia’s peace.
“When the peace-keeping force was withdrawn two years ago, the responsibility for maintaining peace in Liberia was passed on to the Liberian Government,” said the Liberian Chief Executive.
“This is a responsibility to which I attach the greatest importance, because without peace, our world will be difficult. We are all aware of the terrible destruction of lives and properties caused by civil war,” the President said.