EDITORIAL – Mr. President, Your People are Not Feeling the Promise

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EDITORIAL

Mr. President, Your People are Not Feeling the Promise

ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, world leaders converged in New York, the United States of America to attend the United Nation’s 74th General Assembly, brainstorming on the theme: “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion.”

WHILE MANY WORLD leaders proffered profound insights into the subject matter at that auspicious occasion, remarks from our own President, George M. Weah, left much to be desired due to the many imbedded contradictions and deviations of our president’s UNGA speech against present-day realities, which clearly show that this government’s knowledge and handling of the economy offer no clear-cut solution in lifting the average struggling citizens out of their current socioeconomic dungeon.

FIRST OF ALL, the annual UNGA is a unique forum that affords world leaders the unbridled opportunity to highlight pressing national governance and socioeconomic issues within a global context that allows recommendations on the way forward – all within those perimeters of the presiding thematic UNGA agenda.

AND SO, LIBERIANS at home and abroad listened attentively when their leader mounted the podium to tell the world how Africa’s oldest republic is coping with galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.

HONESTLY SPEAKING, LIBERIANS were generally disappointed that President Weah did not use the UNGA platform to address how his government is galvanizing multilateral efforts to eradicate poverty, promote quality education, climate change and inclusion. Rather, the best part of President Weah’s UNGA address dwelt on how his government has accordingly created the democratic space for free expression; and how his government has no political prisoners.

PRESIDENT WEAH ALSO used the UNGA not to present Liberia’s case on how his government is holistically striving to galvanize multilateral efforts to eradicate poverty; rather, he chose to place the mismanagement of the Liberian economy on the shoulders of the opposition who are accordingly using social media to undermine his administration.

  1. SO, LET’S agree with President Weah that the opposition are using hate speech and the social media to incite the citizens to rise against his government. Can President Weah honestly tell Liberians here and abroad that the living conditions of his citizens have improved since he took office in January 2018? Looking at the current devaluation of our local currency against the United States dollars and the rising cost of living, do you, President Weah, honestly believe that the ordinary people of Liberia really believe that you have kept your promise of lifting them from the poverty dungeon which your administration claimed was dug by your predecessor?

IF YOU, OUR illustrious President, and your most learned speech writers who are explicitly insensitive to the plight of their fellow citizens, don’t wish to acknowledge the biting economic conditions on the ground, it might do you well to listen to what Rev. Dr. Kortu Brown, President of the Liberia Council of Church, said after listening to your UNGA speech.

“I WOULD HASTEN that while there are no political prisoners, the ordinary people are economically in prison. The situation is such that you may be walking in the day as though it is in the night.”

THIS IS MORE like watching a “Walking Dead” movie, sad to say.

Of course, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Liberians can talk as freely as they want, but the stone-cold reality is that they cannot continue talking and criticizing this government for as long as they wish. What with Government’s new regulation to restrict the 3 days “free” calls, ordinary Liberians who have used this medium to communicate with business partners for the promotion, movement and sales of produce and commodities no longer have such consumer/competitive largesse to conduct business – all because someone in power feels that by cutting off communications supply to the ordinary people will make them to shut up. But this is so much like the heydays of our former despotic leader, Charles Taylor, who mused in 2002, when asked about the mounting criticisms of his government by the people: “When they cannot afford battery in their radios, the noise will end.”

On the other hand, as opposed to what you, President Weah, said about your citizens’ misuse of social media in eradicating poverty, please listen carefully to what your next-door neighbor President Nana Adoo of Ghana had to say at the UNGA:

“A MERE TWENTY years ago, mobile phones were a rarity that some feared would become a developed world status symbol, and another sign of the technology gap between the rich and the poor. Today, the poorest person in the most inaccessible place in the poorest country has a mobile phone, often a smartphone… the application of technology can be the tool to set us on the road to prosperity.”

President Weah, the Liberian people are dying not from bullets or threats of bullets from the opposition. The people are suffering because your government has failed to deliver on its poverty reduction strategies.

EDUCATION, HEALTH AND other governmental sector workers are disenchanted. Corruption is rife. The issue of the misapplied $25 milion is dead and buried. Civil servants have not been paid for more than three months – in some instances, more than six months. Salary harmonization favors your anointed ones. Government recurrent expenditure is bloated to accommodate the chosen ones from your party structure. You traverse the globe with huge unnecessary entourage, less considering the attendant budgetary implications.

ON THE OTHER hand, climate change is real. It’s happening everywhere. West Point, Montserrado County. Harper City, Maryland County. Sea erosions everywhere. Beach pollutions everywhere. Deforestation everywhere. Beach mining everywhere.

  1. PRESIDENT, WHAT is your administration doing about the current UNGA thematic issues? What is your government doing to help multilateral partners eradicate poverty, promote quality education, climate change and inclusion? We are still listening to you.