Pro-Poor Agenda Regime Remains Clean
SO FAR, THE ADMINISTRATION of Ambassador George Manneh Weah is keeping clean hands from some of the mess that were unavoidably inherited from the outgoing Unity Party (UP) led administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf despite the robust stance the regime took against corruption in the country.
IT IS HIGHLY EXPECTED that President Weah lives up to his promise of zero tolerance against corruption. It is equally expected of President Weah not to listen to the noise in the market, concerning the Jonathan Paye-Layeleh isolated episode. Some critics are creating the impression that President Weah is playing double standards by giving press freedom with one hand and taking it away with the other hand.IN ALL FAIRNESS, THE sincerity of President Weah so far is unquestionable. The point is that recently this government is striving to distance itself from some of the uncontrollable mess of the past such as the one that engulfed the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and oil-bloc deals with Exxon Mobil, Chevron among others. President Weah also wants to distance his administration from alleged malpractices that took place in the forestry sector that surfaced in a Global witness Report involving an alleged contract to an Indonesian company.
THE FACT IS THAT the President was only joking with BBC Monrovia based stringer Paye-Layeleh when he alluded to the difficult era of Liberia’s civil crisis. That was the time that Ex-President Charles Ghankay Taylor was stubbornly holding on to power in Gbarnga, Central Liberia. Even members of the international community can attest that under such war situations, everyone including journalists and prominent personalities feared for their lives. Many people can recall when President Samuel K. Doe told journalists that if you report that rebels are in such and such area and the report is false, you will not live to tell a story.
BUT ON THE INTERNATIONAL scene President George Weah as a football legend was flying the Liberia Flag high to the pride of many patriotic Liberians across factional lines. His frequent visits to Liberia alone, despite the risks involved, is a testimony that he was in favor of peace and cared for human rights to prevail in Liberia. He meaningfully helped with his own financial resources from his pocket Liberian refugees in the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Ghana, which is why long before being elected as Liberia’s 24th President, his name George OppongMannehWeah was already a household word in the West African sub-region especially in countries with a large presence of Liberian refugees.
WHAT MANY WELL-MEANING and patriotic Liberians are expecting, is not fire-side gossips and fictions, but that the pro-poor agenda policies remain on track as Liberia has so lagged behind in development over the years that almost every development initiative is a priority area. It is equally hoped that the administration remains focused in carrying out its promised mandate to increase and expand the freedoms that Liberians enjoy such as press freedom and individual liberties, job creation, agriculture, roads and infrastructural development.
CERTAINLY WITHOUT FEAR or favor, it is a must that the Freedom of Information (FOI) law, the Open Budget Initiative (OBI), the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI), the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) laws, the norms of good governance and other regulations that are meant to increase efficiency in government and reduce corruption are effectively implemented.
WE THEREFORE DEPLORE negative remarks against President Weah that cannot be proven with facts and evidence. President Weah’s presence in Liberia at that time of the Liberian crisis alone was a patriotic gesture, as it showed to warlords that Liberians can get into prominence or become millionaires through the exercise of their God-given talents rather than engaging in war. We are urging the press to remain vigilant and resilient in reporting facts and violations of laws and procedures.