MONROVIA – In his desire to enlist the support of all stakeholders towards the successful holding of the 2023 general election, President George Manneh Weah has called on the Liberian media to play a meaningful role to inform and educate the citizenry on the importance of the democratic exercise just as the Assistant Pastor of the Forkay Kloh Jlaleh Family Fellowship Church, Reverend Jestina Miracle Diabe, told Liberians to put God first, trust God and pray for the nation, its leaders, and for peace and prosperity to “reign during the crucial period of the country”.
President Weah made the assertion on Sunday, July 8, 2023 at his Forkay Kloh Jlaleh Family Fellowship Church where he had invited a cross section of the media community to worship with him on what he called a “new year service’ to appreciate God for the preceding year and pray for success in the current year.
“I want to say this to the press that they have the voice, they are the voice of the people. We have listened to Pastor Diabe who said the truth is nothing but the truth.
“So, we hope through their expertise and editing and what have you, you should make sure that as we move towards 2023, the will of the people should prevail. They have the responsibility to keep the country peaceful because they communicate to our people and so I hope they have the strength to make sure our peace is guarded.
“Moving to the elections, we want peace during the election and that is what we chose and that is what we want into. So, we look towards the election. We will all go to vote on that day, come back, shake hands with each other and wait for the result. “These elections are not about me or you. They are about the nation”, President Weah said.
President Weah told his guests who thronged come from the various sectors of the media industry that the invitation extended to them was similar to the ones he did for members of the security apparatus of the country, the children of Liberia and other categories of people who regularly celebrated with him both on Christmas and New Year days, jovially adding that the worship event would be climaxed with a sporting event planned for the day.
“According to the program, the press is going to play volleyball and basketball with the President’s teams, and I don’t know how they are going to survive because sport is different from editing”, he said amid laughter and cheers from the congregation mainly comprising journalists.
The President also took time during his short remarks to respond in the French language to the goodwill message from a proxy of the Guinean Ambassador to Liberia who graced the service and had extolled the good relationship existing between Liberia and Guinea and thanked President Weah for the unhindered peace and security citizens from Guinea are enjoying in Liberia.
The special representative who spoke through an interpreter acknowledged the sporting prowess of President Weah during his playing days, hinting that the Liberian leader is someone he had always admired and appreciated for exhibiting such marvelous talents, stressing that his presence in the service afforded him the opportunity to come in close proximity to the President.
Earlier, during the service which also included soul-stirring renditions from the choir, in both the local language and English, the Assistant Pastor of the church, Reverend Jestina Miracle Diabe, who had the congregation spellbound with her sermon, called on all Liberians and residents to pray for the country, especially the leaders so that God will direct them how to lead the country properly as the nation goes through “this crucial period of our history”
Speaking on the theme, “Put God First, Trust God”, the powerful woman of God said it was important for Liberians to put God first and also trust Him as the only hope for peace and harmony in the country and not “depend on your secondary source for your strength and what you think is keeping you up where you are or what you have”.
“What is the source of your strength? In the days of the old, when the Kings were going to war, they depended on the huge army and horses that carried the soldiers to war. That was their strength. For this country to have peace and to succeed in this crucial time, we need to put God first and also trust him for He is the only hope for us. That is our strength.
“Do not depend on the sources that will fail you. Our government must depend on God and trust Him; likewise, we the citizen, and stop depending on those fake prophets who come up with fake prophecies to deceive us. Remember, the devil is also a “prophet” and can also prophesy but when they prophesy and you don’t know, ask God if those prophesies are from Him”, she said.
Reverend Diabe, who told the congregation that God can turn every dark situation to a brighter future, described her ascendency to the pastoral position as a manifestation of what God can do when there is no hope.
“At a time, I thought it was over for me. I went to school and had my Master’s degree in Divinity and other certificates from various studies in theology from overseas and kept all those documents in one bag. Then suddenly when I was about to come to Liberia, the whole bag got burnt and I was so pained that I had thought all was lost. But God told me I will lift you up and put you to a higher place without certificates.
“And behold here I am today, God lifted me up to this place to become the ‘People’s President Pastor’ when others have written me off”, she said and received thunderous cheers.
Immediately after the Church service, the media family moved to the Jamaica Resort, where the sporting events took place. In the encounters, both the basketball and volleyball teams from the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs defeated the media teams with wide margins, as President Weah scored more than 30 individual points, mainly shooting from the 3 points zone during the basketball encounter.
The media were also entertained with so much food and drinks in a serene environment where the President freely moved around, and at some points chatted with spectators during the basketball encounter whenever there was a break.
Pundits who followed the event spoke glowingly about the initiatives and said it will go a long way to ensure a cordial relationship between the government and the media fraternity which will further entrench the democratic process where both the government and media will work together as strategic partners.