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President Weah’s SONA Crumbles in Deceit, Empty Promises, and False Hope

Proponents of social justice and academic freedom, militant campaigners of popular power and genuine democracy,  sons and daughters of the disinherited and defenseless mass of our people, fighting cadres and courageous ideologues of Africa’s bulwark of consciousness, the indomitable Vanguard Student Unification Party, eminent statesmen and women, distinguished media practitioners , fellow Liberians: 

For twelve (12) years, the poor masses of West Point, Gibraltar, New Kru Town, Soniwein as well as those from the poor rural villages and hamlets lifted ex-Soccer Star George M. Weah from the pitch to the presidency. They saw this soccer star as a genuine option to end their appalling, miserable and hopeless condition. Sadly, the overly harsh realities today have proven them dead wrong! The nation now has a president who owns the most massive private estate in less than a year. It is an unchallenged fact that the CDC-led government has become a stronghold of petite crooks and economic pillagers/plunderers who consider TRANSPARENCY as a TABOO.

Today as this soccer star has turned one year old and presented his second State of the Nation Address as Head of State of the Republic of Liberia, what have the masses got in return for coronating this president who is gradually becoming a tyrannical dictator in all forms. Under Weah, there is an exponential increase in hardship and systemic thievery. While the citizens are entrapped in abject poverty, the president’s agenda is and has been to construct his mansions, estates, and resorts. The people were deceived by populist rhetoric to have elected the most incompetent Head of State who has got no real solution and idea to run the affairs of the State. The nation has been entrusted in the hands of political pupils and apprentices — what a SAD MOMENT in our Country’s history.

Rule of Law and adherence to its fundamental principles:

On January 22, 2018, President Weah took an oath to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of Liberia. Unfortunately for the State, in less than twenty-four hours after taking this oath of office, this president immediately became a constitutional deviant and had since continuously violated almost all of our laws in the Republic. Under the Weah-led government, the Constitution and fundamental tenets of the State are bleeding as he runs Liberia in a dictatorial style while at the same time dancing in the cesspool of gross incompetence and legal naivety.

This president came to power due to Constitutional adherence by his predecessor but could not conduct a simple By-election constitutionally as well as hold the National Housing and Population Census in line with THE LAW.  Additionally, under the Weah 1-year-old administration, we also observed the violation of the Act that established the Liberia Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative   (LEITI), a situation that led to the suspension of Liberia from EITI.  

The National Lottery Law of Liberia, the Maritime Law of Liberia, the refusal of the president and his officials to declare their assets as called for by the 2014 Code of Conduct Law and most recently; the unconstitutional appointment and commissioning of Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States of America are glaring violations of our organic Laws.  SUP wants to say that the Constitution and Basic Laws of the State were the most affected victims under the first-year regime of Pastoral President George M. Weah. Fellow Liberians, as a result of the continuous assault on the rule of law, investors have lost confidence in the country. We are in year two, and a single investor is yet to come to Liberia. Service businesses and investment companies including banks are running into insolvency.

The Economy:

Conscious students and patriotic Liberians, the poor-scripted, incoherent and jumbled State of the Nation Address delivered by President Weah were not only deceptive but an insult to the harsh prevailing economic condition that our people are faced with daily. The economy is in a downward spiral as the exchange rate is again at an all-time high (L$163 – US$1). Inflation has swallowed real wages while the wage bill of civil servants remains static even though the cost of essential commodities is rapidly increasing.

In Weah’s hegemony, youth unemployment is at an all-time high as partisan identification card remains the primary qualification of the country; thereby depriving qualified and competent Liberians the deserving opportunity to contribute to the growth of the State. In the midst of these, the president deliberately refused to inform the Liberian people about any meaningful and achievable plan to tackle the collapsing economy of the nation; this is a clear demonstration that the government of president Weah is running a private enterprise that is predominantly eclipsed by innovation scarcity.

President Weah promised to take Liberians from the Spectator seat of the economy to the position of full players/participants; sadly, Liberians have now become watchmen, and professional onlookers of their economy as the President and his cabal of looters and foreign capitalists milk the wealth of the nation. Today, the Liberalization policy is now an addendum to the president toiletry as he prioritizes foreign businesses over Liberians-owned businesses.

SUP wants to state that President Weah’s categorical and deliberate refusal to mention the status of the EBOMAF and ETON loan agreements as well as the report from the US$25m that was “infused” in the economy to mop up excess liquidity is unacceptable. These two loan agreements were passed into law by the 54th National Legislature; as such, the Liberian people deserve to know the status(es) of these loans. SUP also wants to inform the Liberian people that the Weah-led government has failed to stabilize the economy. Prices of basic commodities on the Liberian market are skyrocketing daily and the living condition of the ordinary citizens is unimaginably appalling. The wage bill of our teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers, army personnel and civil servants remains very low while officials in this CDC-led government are acquiring ill-gotten wealth and swimming in luxury at the detriment of the oppressed masses. 

Education and Health:  

Comrades, Liberia remains the only country in the ECOWAS region that is spending less 20% of its national budget on Education. The government’s commitment to upgrade the education sector is a complete lip-service as the personal budget of the president and his vice president including the Legislature is far more significant than the total budget of the entire education sector. Investment in education remains very low, lack of quality in the education sector and the student loan bill still linger under dusty files at the legislature. SUP believes that president Weah’s pronouncement on free tuition for all public universities and colleges is a mere publicity stunt that lacks shape in terms of sustainability. There has been a poor investment in the education sector since the inception of this government. As it stands, the total amount allotted for education in the current national budget is far less than the 20%; this alone indicates that the paramount concern of the Weah-led administration is not education, but self-enrichment.

Comrades and members of the press, since Mr. Weah took over, there have been an exponential increase in rape cases and sexual gender-based violence in the country, noticeable among them is the More Than Me Sex scandal and many rape cases that have led to the death of women and teenagers across Liberia. Sadly,   the president did not say a word on these human abuses that have overwhelmed the nation. Instead, this President Weah has become the chief priest of falsehood and pretense as was demonstrated during his SONA at the Capitol when he struggled to present loaded fallacies coupled with deception and fairytale.

As we speak, there is a ban on student political activities at the University of Liberia. The continuous attack on critical media institutions and practitioners which was initiated by  president Weah himself when he openly attacked BBC-Liberia correspondent, Mr. Jonathan Paye-Layleh followed by his Information Minister who  in recent time branded the Press Union of Liberia as a “useless” body and the nonstop invasion of the campuses of the University of Liberia by armed men and the notorious SABU Unit controlled by the most incompetent GUCCI City Mayor; these incidents  are sufficient to declare that the Weah-led government is anti-democratic and does not respect free speech, press freedom, and freedom of assembly. We are calling on president Weah to stop pretending as a Democrat and a defender of human rights! Weah is a DICTATOR and a BLACK FASCIST.

Under the Weah first year, the government demonstrated nothing substantive to improve the livelihood of the citizens; the people are still living in sad times – essential amenities such as food, health, sanitation, safe drinking water, quality education, housing, and job remain a mystery; conditions are terribly worsening every day that passes; hospital is closing down; medical standard has deteriorated even at health centers that are still functional; drugs are unavailable at various government hospitals; people are dying daily from curable diseases! Are these Weah’s fulfilled promises – Yes would be appropriate for an answer considering these existing realities.

Agriculture:

Fellow Liberians, agriculture possesses the highest potential for absorbing the massive level of unemployment in the nation; sadly, the amount allotted under the pro-poor regime to agriculture is less than 2% of the national budget. While the poor peasants who live primarily depend on subsistence farming and the struggling agriculture students at the University of Liberia were waiting to hear the government’s plan to improve the agriculture sector, their hopes were left in limbo as the president could not say anything genuine or meaningful to improving the agriculture sector of the nation besides empty promises intended to please his fanatic. The only plan we think this government has had in year one is to beg foreign countries for FOOD AID continuously. What a dead strategy indeed!  

Long Live SUP – Long Live Massescracy. In pursuit of social justice, academic freedom and peace, the STRUGGLE for an equal and a just society remain unceasingly progressive. Done and issued on this 5th Day of February A. D. 2019.

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Martin Kollie

Martin K. N. Kollie is a youth and student activist who hails from Bong County. He currently studies Economics at the University of Liberia. He is the President of the Economics Student Association and a stalwart of the Student Unification Party (SUP). He can be reached via: martinkerkula1989@yahoo.com.

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