Weah Breaks Political Barriers
-Meets Political Opponents On Round Table
-Discussion Centers On Liberia’s Forward March
It is rare in Africa for seating presidents to bring opposition leaders together on a round table to discuss the destiny of their countries.
But As The Public Agenda Reports, Liberia’s President, George Manneh Weah in less than eight months in office despite deep-rooted criticism from political opponents, has demonstrated courage to invite opposition leaders in a round table discussion focusing on the future of the country; a move many considered as his determination to promote unity, reconciliation and political open-mindedness. On August 16, 2018 Pres. Weah met with opposition leaders and asked for their inputs in the governance process of the state for sustainable national development and cohesion.
The one-day forum with the country’s opposition leaders is a long step towards ‘busting the myth,’ of hostility and leading by example, one political activist said.
It helped to shed light on the President’s desire for a united, peaceful, reconciled and developed Liberia.
The Thursday meeting was prompted by an invitation from the Liberian leader to talk together and brainstorm on how they could collaborate in the interest of the country.
In his welcome remarks, the President stated: “We had a peaceful election in 2017 and it is that elections result that has brought us here today; it is overdue because, we were engaged. We are happy to have this opportunity in which we all can better share ideas, as we want to receive suggestions from opposition political leaders on how we can move our country forward”.
“This meeting is a frank discussion; I want everyone to freely express themselves on issues and to provide suggestions that would help us in working together in the interest of our country, Liberia”.
Apparently, another president would have sought different means or chosen not to even consider talking with opposition leaders, with less than a year in office, but some of the opposition political leaders cherished the President’s decision to reach out as early as possible.
They availed themselves to hear from their leader and to offer their thoughts as well in the interest of the country.
Although the one-day forum might not be enough a time to put all of the issues at stake into context and reach a workable consensus, it elucidates the President’s call for “all hands on deck” approach to solving the country’s decadent social, political and economic imbroglios.
It also elucidates his plea that “Liberians should all strive to put aside their differences and join hands in the task of nation building.” “We must learn how to celebrate our diversity without drawing lines of divisions in our new Liberia. We belong to Liberia first before we belong to our inherited tribes, or chosen counties,” the President once said.
In his innovatory inaugural address on January 22, 2018, he urged and said,“Liberians should all strive to put aside our differences and join hands in the task of nation building,” and that “we must learn how to celebrate our diversity without drawing lines of divisions in our new Liberia. We belong to Liberia first before we belong to our inherited tribes, or chosen counties.”
“We must not allow political loyalties prevent us from collaborating in the national interest. We must respect each other and act as neighbors, regardless of religious, social and economic differences.”
It is only leaders with humble and open hearts that seek unfettered collaboration with opposition leaders, one of which President Weah has shown to be.
Ultimately, the President has set the stage for good leadership which the forum is a “better late than never” scenario which serves as a precursor to other genial openings between the government and the opposition, an integral part of the country’s political chemistry.