Weah Lubricates Local Governance -30 Pickups. 150 Bikes. 15 Ambulances -Meets County-Tour Promise to Chiefs

MONROVIA: The premises of the Samuel K. Doe Sports Stadium came alive yesterday, January 25, 2022, when chiefs and other provincial leaders representing the 15 counties lavished praises on President George Manneh Weah who had flooded the grounds of the sports pitch with a plethora of critical logistics ideal for boosting local governance. There was a lineup of 30 pickup trucks, two for each county, and 150 bikes, 10 for each county. There were also 15 ambulances for use by county health officers. The Chiefs, some claiming being in government service for over fifty years, said they had never seen nor heard of a president in their lifetime making such a huge, all-encompassing one-strike donation of that kind. Intoxicated with joy, the local officials poured praises and blessings upon the President and pleaded for his lifelong presidency. As The Analyst reports, the donations were in fulfilment of promises he had made while visiting with the rural chiefs during his nationwide tour.

President George Manneh Weah yesterday, Tuesday, January 25, 2022, received unending streams of praises and the invocation of blessings from Chiefs and other traditional leaders from the 15 political subdivisions of the country.

From one traditional speaker to another, the chiefs and local leaders described as an “unprecedented intervention” President Weah’s donation of 30 pickup trucks, 150 motorbikes and 15 ambulances.

The presidential intervention which is intended to improve local governance by increasing the mobility of the traditional leaders and spread government policies to every nook and corner follow repeated requests by the chiefs for logistics to enhance their work.

The lack of logistics to move around their areas of control was a refrain amongst the tribal chiefs as there were request from administrators of health facilities for ambulances during the President’s county tours.

While delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, January 24, President Weah broke the news about the procurement of the vehicles, motorbikes and ambulances for the mobility of the traditional chiefs and the use of the health facilities in the various counties. He also announced that the logistics would be unveiled and turned over to their target users—the chiefs and health facilities.

And so as early as 6 am yesterday, massive preparation was already taking place for the hosting of the event. The procured items were arranged by counties at different locations with bold inscriptions on large posters, “Promise Kept” littering around the vicinity of the SKD Sports Stadium.

In her welcome remarks, Paynesville City Mayoress Madam E Pam Belcher-Taylor said she was happy to receive the President, his entourage comprising of government officials as well as chiefs who had travelled from various destinations across the country and other visitors to the city and wished them fruitful stay.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, under whose office the program was coordinated and planned, said in a brief statement that the program was meant for the President to honor the promise he had made to the traditional leaders across the country during the maiden edition of the President’s national county tour in response to the litany of requests made by them to ease the burden of mobility they were facing in the areas.

He described the gesture from the President as indicative of the essence of one of the pillars of the Pro Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity (PADP), which is power to the people.

He noted that the President has always devoted his concentration on empowering the citizens through interventions that impact their lives and that the vehicles and motorbikes would definitely and positively impact on the welfare of the traditional leaders who have been the messengers of peace from the President.

Minster Sirelaf broke words that the package was the donation of 30 pickup trucks and 150 motorbikes for the use of the traditional rulers and an ambulance each to the 15 counties in the country.

For her part, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah thanked the President for the ambulances and said the effort will go a long way in narrowing the gap of the required number of ambulance needed in the country.

She said the total number of ambulances needed in the country is 130 and at present, there are 60 in use and with the additional 15 bring the number to 75 with a gap of 60 still hanging.

She however said she was optimistic that in the future the challenges will be overcome through government support and those of the international development partners.

Once the package was unveiled, the 14 paramount chiefs comprising of 3 females and 11 males, who represented their colleagues from the counties, took the podium one after the other to shower praises on the President, thereby turning the event into a campaign mood to the extent of not only committing themselves to pushing for his re-election in 2023, but to seek for the amendment of the constitution to enable the President to contest in subsequent elections and winning them as well.

Paramount Chief Peter Barnyou of Margibi County who kick-started the encomiums and elevated them by calling for the possible amendment of the constitution to enable President to contest subsequent elections beyond the stipulated two terms of six years each, said he was excited that in his life time, a government will remember the chiefs and give them means of mobility and as such, the President, if left with him should remain President for life.

“The book people put in the constitution for two terms, but if it is left with me, we need to change it so the President will be there for life. He has done what no other president has done in this country,” he said.

Paramount Chief Lewis Gbofue of River Gee, who said he has been in the saddle of his position since 1987, and who spoke through an interpreter said that all his life he has lived, or served as Paramount Chief, there had not been any effort by successive governments to give vehicles or motorbikes to traditional rulers for their comfort and mobility and that President Weah deserves to be awarded with the Presidency just as the late President Tubman served until his death in 1971.

“Mr. President I have a special message from the people of Nimba County. We are always united behind one thing and when we say we are for you, we are for you. So for 2023, I can tell you go lay down and sleep, we are for you,” excited Paramount Robert Sehneah said.

He requested for a meeting between the President and the chiefs of Nimba and also asked President Weah to include chiefs on foreign trips undertaken by the President just as was in the case of former Presidents Tubman and William R. Tolbert Jr.

One of the female Paramount Chiefs at the occasion, Mama Tomah of Lofa County said she was excited when the Superintendent told her that she was going to represent the other chiefs in the county to meet with the President in Monrovia.

She said the President Weah was truly a listening President who cares for his people especially the chiefs who are parents of the country. “If you care for your parents, then God has blessings for you and Mr. President God will bless you and we are with you to develop this country”, she said through an interpreter.

Chief Zanzan Karwar, Chairman of the Traditional Council of Liberia, under whose leadership a request was made to the President to solve the mobility challenge of the chiefs, told the gathering that President Weah has demonstrated true leadership and respect for the country’s traditional institutions through the chiefs.

“Mr. President, on behalf of my chiefs, I want to thank you for what you have done today. No other president has done it and you are a man of your words,” the Chief of Chiefs said. “You promised us and you fulfilled it. We can assure you that we are with you in your efforts for this country to be developed.”

Superintendent Janjay Baipeh of Grand Bassa County, who spoke on behalf of what he called the National Council for Superintendents of Liberia thanked the President for the donation which he said represents the resolve of the President to listen to the plight of the people and timely respond to requests.

He said with the speedy execution of projects and other development initiatives undertaken in the country, the course will be clear for him in 2023.

The Bassa Superintendent asserted: “Mr. President on behalf of the National Council of Superintendents of Liberia, I want to assure you that come 2023, your re-election is assured. We want to publicly endorse you and will be in the forefront of the campaign.  We are going to work with the chiefs who are leaders of the people to make this happen.”

President Weah who spoke briefly before handling the items over said he was doing it as his own way of appreciating them because when he went to them for election in 2017 for their votes, no one asked him for anything and that they voted for him with the believe that he will do better for the country.

He said during the county tour, for everywhere he went, the request was mobility for the chiefs and as such he was compelled to listen to their request and decided to honor the promises he made.

He then led the officials gathered there to the vicinity where the items were parked and he generously turned them over to each county one after the other.

The paramount chiefs present were Bob Kofi Zah-Rivercess, Robert Sehneah-Nimba,  Haji Sombai- Cape Mount, Rhoda Gamou- Grand Gedeh, Mary Larteh-Bong, Lewis Gbofueh- River Gee, Stephen Goba- Montserrado, Edward Garma- Bassa, Matthew Tweh-Grand Kru, Emmanuel S. Wesseh- Sinoe, Peter W. Barnyou-Margibi, Jackson Konneh-Bomi, Koisee Gahn-Gbarpolu and Mama Tormah-Lofa.

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