MONROVIA: With the clock ticking closer to the October 10 Elections D-Day, the people of Grand Bassa County have pulled off one of the biggest political stunts in recent times as the port city of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County became swarmed with human tsunami when citizens of the six electoral districts trooped in their thousands to overwhelmingly endorse President George Manneh Weah’s second term bid. During the jam-packed ceremony held on Saturday, July 15, 2023 in Buchanan, the citizens vowed to reelect President Weah, not because he is one of them as his mother hailed from the Bassa Belt, but because of he is the only president since 1847 to have brought massive development to Grand Bassa County and Liberia at large.
Reading the petition on behalf of the people of Bassa, including traditional leaders and elders, newly appointed Grand Bassa County Superintendent Levi Williams said Bassaolians have overwhelmingly decided to support President Weah’s second term bid because of what is doing for not only Bassa but the entire country.
“First of all, I want to thank and appreciate you for nominating me to serve as superintendent of Grand Bassa County. The people of Grand Bassa County, having recounted your numerous contributions and your drive to improve Liberia, taking us from bottom to the top, raising Liberia among the comity of nation to its highest peak, we are proud to present this to you, by and through the custodians of our land, our traditional leaders. The people of the 11 townships, the nine administrative districts, the five statutory districts, the four cities, and all Bassolians say please, as the custodians of the land, as the custodians of our tradition, we present this to their leader, their son, their president, Dr. George Manneh Weah,” Superintendent Williams said.
Accepting his petition, President Weah said he is not surprised by the magnanimity of the Bassa people because they are trustworthy.
“First of all, I say to you all, I accept this worthy document of endorsement. As I always stated, the people of Grand Bassa never shame me. In 2017, we came here, we had the same noise. Bassa for this person, Bassa for that person, Bassa for this one. And I said to you, people of Bassa, I am your son; I am one of you. You did not disappoint me. You voted overwhelmingly, and I know you will do it again.
“To our first-time voters, your parents started this movement in 2004. And 2005, we were mighty; today, we are still mighty. I want you to know, everyone that is giving themselves names; every election year, they get different names; the only person that has the same name that has never changed is Gbekugbeh Manneh Weah. One day, they are rescuers, another day, they are this person, that person. Since I came to you, I have never changed. I am still the same George Manneh Gbehkugbeh Weah.
“You see Grand Bassa, every time I come to you, I wish my mother was here. She made a lot of commitment to you, and we fulfilled that commitment; and we will do it again.
“My young friends, our generation, Liberia will be 176 years old on July 26. If you look around you in our country, 171 years have passed. In the five years, you can see unprecedented development. This never happened before. They told you that I know nothing, but I have done something. And because they said to you that I can’t do anything, what I have achieved today, they are angry. But we are not angry. This is our country. We are on the right trajectory to make Liberia a wonderful country.
“I will not come to you to say I will rescue you when I don’t have the intention. I said to you in 2017 that I want you to elect me so I can build your roads, I can connect your country to our neighboring countries. We did that. And what you see today with the road network, the development in the country that was my promise to you.
“Now, first-time voters, ask your parents, ask your brothers and sisters that have been in the vanguard for so long, I have never disappointed you. So today, you are not making a mistake. We are your government. You brought us to the task, and we will deliver.
“Going forward, we are a democratic government. In five years, there has been no political prisoner. This government believes in the democratic tenets. Everybody has their freedom. They protest when they want to. This is the Liberia we dreamed of; the Liberia that you the young people can question the government and the government can answer you. This is the Liberia we are talking about. It’s not the kind of Liberia where when you speak you are in jail. It’s not the kind of Liberia where when you speak to the government, in the night they are coming for you. This democratic Liberia in the 21st Century, this government that believes in the democratic processes, this is the government that you put in.
“Those that are trying to take us from power, those are the people that ran away from us. The people that said that it will never happen, it can never happen, if it happens let me die. But it happened. These are the people that want to take us from power. So, I say to you, my friends and family, nobody can rescue you besides the government. The only rescuer we know, and you gave that name. Today everybody is taking the name, it’s a shame. Every year they’ve got a new name. Rescue 1, Rescue 2, Rescue 3, Rescue 4, Rescue 5. What are you rescuing?
“You spent 12 years, you didn’t rescue anything, but when the country is on the right path, then you say you want to rescue?
“Young people, I want to say to all of you, congratulations. You went to register to vote, and that’s the right thing you did. We must applaud you for that. This is your era; this is your time; this is your century.
“What are they rescuing? Rescue 1 spent 60 years in government, he has never rescued his own house. Who will he rescue? Sixty years in government! I spent nine years in government, I have rescued you.
“Look, young people, this is our time. You see, I have got nothing against our elders, that is why I respect our elders. Look at our Elders Council. These people have been walking since 1847 from one point to another, toting hammocks and moving. It is in this government that they can relax in air condition and wave. Zanzan Kawah can tell you. Because when I say yes, I mean yes. I don’t disappoint people.
“Those people are not strong. Look at the new strategy they’re trying to use for you to believe they are strong. Do you know what they call goggles? This one I am wearing they call it glasses; I can see you; you can see my eyeballs. Even the small kids can say, look at George Weah’s eyeballs. But they’re giving their candidates goggles to wear because they can sleep.
“I said to you, every year, they come with the same story. Just the other day, someone said that when I was in the senate, I did not put my hands up. Yes, you are correct. You will not see my hand because every time I put it up, you are sleeping. But you forget to know that for the first time Albert Chie recognized me, the 29 men in that room said that the passport will be US$50. I, George Manneh Weah argued with them for three hours that it will never happen. Our parents go to the market, they can’t even make US$50, how can passports be sold for US$50? And somebody will come to say when I was in the senate, I never put my hands up. I just don’t talk. I was taught to say the right thing at the right time, so I can be successful in what I do. And today, your passport price is still the same. I was a senator at that time.
“I live in Rehab. I live with the former Vice President in that area. I lived there for a long time. I am the custodian of that place. Look at Rehab and even look at where he lives. We fixed it. And somebody calls themselves Fixer. You call yourself Fixer, what are you fixing?
“God brought this country back. This is your time. And all of you that registered to vote, in August they are going to announce the day that we are going to use the ‘vote’; and I want to caution you because we are government; we want to be respected, we want to respect the National Elections Commission, so everything that we say, we will not say ‘vote’.
“I listened to the song of the National Anthem, and I will advise you, as a President of this country, that National Anthem, please play it when they announce that we can say ‘vote’. It’s a beautiful song. We will use it once the time comes. But please keep it because we don’t want to break the election law. We want to be on par with the election law so we can go to the polling center and show our strength. We are a government. We are supposed to set an example. It’s a beautiful song. We will play it silently, but we’re not going to play it now until they announce that we can campaign. And that song will be our campaign national anthem.
“I will not come up on the podium to make mouth. My friends and family, Grand Bassa County and all of the 15 counties, when you were in refugee camps, the only person you saw in that refugee camp was George Manneh Weah. I want you to know, those people don’t know you.
“Someone said, why didn’t the man put roads in Grand Kru, why is he putting roads in Nimba and Lofa. But not because I am from Sasstown. Liberia is bigger than any county. Our main corridors are in Nimba, Lofa and Grand Gedeh. We have to fix our corridor so we can connect to Ghana, Guinea and other neighboring countries. Then we can come back and fix the road to Sasstown, my home town.
“Don’t mind them. They come to you and say free education is nothing, don’t mind them; free WAEC fee payment is nothing, don’t mind them. It is unprecedented. This is the only government and the president of all the presidents in this country that have built more hospitals than anyone; have built more roads than anyone.
“This is the president who decided that most of the huts in the villages will be demolished and built homes. What more can I say? Don’t mind them. When we were building the Military Hospital, they said this man doesn’t know anything. When we were building the Invincible Park, you were sleeping. So, I am saying to you the young people, you have your young leader. This is our time. We have to prove to these people that failed us.
“They have done nothing for this country for all the years. Compare my football days to this government, and check other people throughout their 60 years in government, what have they achieved? Nothing! They are neighbors. They come to me. I am the patron of all patrons in that place. When they have issues, they come to me. I don’t react because of politics. I do it because I am a humanitarian.
“Grand Bassa, you voted for me overwhelmingly. But I am taking this endorsement as a confirmation that we all will work together to develop this country. This is our time.,” President Weah said passionately.
Earlier, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers lauded the people of Grand Bassa County for turning out massively to endorse their own son who hasn’t failed them since he became president.
“We are very happy that the people of Bassa can be this patient and come here to celebrate their own. Weah symbolizes an executioner who does a good job with professional skills. We need that for Liberia because Liberia needs to grow and prosper. Now you have seen a leader who is selfless, peerless; a leader who comes down to his people and serves them. He is a servant leader. And because of who you are, it is why he came here. He is not a patrician, a noble man; he is just an ordinary citizen like you. So, in you is what he symbolizes. To come here is based on your conviction. You know that this gentleman can deliver. He is a perfect example of a real leader. So, Bassa has not made any mistake in producing a son. He is a son of Bassa. His imprints are indelible. When the time comes, you must do the needful,” Speaker Chambers averred.
For his part, Senate Pro Tempore Albert Chie said he was awestruck by the huge turnout of the citizens. “I see the crowd; the turnout is so impressive. It is important that all of us work very hard, because just saying one round is not enough. You must move from door to door to make a difference. As we will move from county to county, I am sure Grand Bassa has opened the competition. We will see which county can beat this record.”
The endorsement program, which was widely hailed as one of the biggest in recent times, was graced by the presence of First Lady Clar Marie Weah; House Speaker Chambers; Senate Pro Tempore Chie; the Dean and members of the cabinet; the Chairman and members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC); the Chairman and members of the National Traditional Council of Liberia; Local government authorities, as well as the Fourth Estate.
Also present were distinguished Liberian personalities including Mrs. Kadiayattu Darrah Findley; former Defense Minister Daniel Chea; Senior member of the CDC Governing Council Chief Cyril Allen, among others.