It’s a National Effort: Don’t Politicize the COVID-19 Fight
OVER THE WEEKEND, President George M. Weah made sudden appearances at several security checkpoints, apparently in a bid to quash rumors that he had contracted the deadly Coronavirus, and to boost the morale of designated security personnel deployed to ensure citizens’ compliance with various regulations of the State of Emergency.
RUMORS ABOUT PRESIDENT Weah having contracted COVID-19 had been strengthened by the positive testing of several of his top level officials, including his Information and Justice Ministers, both of whom were said to have been in close proximity of the Liberian chief executive during recent meetings.
AT ONE OF the security checkpoints, President Weah used the occasion to call on the opposition community to rally around the government in providing assistance to their own citizens during these trying times of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“YOU KNOW WHAT would make me happy? All of those people that are on the social platform; if they can buy one million masks, each of them, to send to Liberia to give to our people, then they can say anything against the president; then I will really feel good. Let them leave their platform and buy one million masks, each of them and send it to us, or test kits. You have to do something to make noise. But they’re not doing anything at all. Right now we don’t need people to just talk. You need to work. We need masks, we need test kits, and all of those people that on their platform, it’s the time now to send test kits and masks to the Liberian people. If you really love the Liberian people, this is what you should be doing…,” President Weah pleaded.
SINCE PRESIDENT WEAH made that plea, there has been a flurry of reactions from the public; a few supportive, a lot caustic.
IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING PRESIDENT Weah’s open plea of assistance to Liberians, especially targeting the opposition community, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon indicated his readiness to support the idea, with a post sent to talk show host Henry Costa to join the cause.
“HENRY COSTA, IT is good that Pres. George Weah is now appreciating the value and influence of our social media platforms. I think we should consider honoring his appeal. Let us use our individual social media platforms or do few joint appearances to mobilize our people into helping with some face masks. This would be yet another means by which we can contribute to the national fight against Covid-19. We can do it; Yes we can. What do you think?” Senator Dillon reasoned with his Council of Patriots counterpart.
FOR US AT THE ANALYST, we are elated that members of the leading opposition front in Liberia have decided to lead the charge in assisting their fellow citizens, even if there are some voices of discontentment over how President Weah relayed his message.
WE ARE ALSO aware that the citizens are apprehensive over the high perception of corruption within the ruling establishment, giving rise to negative feelings about President Weah’s request.
BUT EVEN AS MANY within the public sphere remain downhearted over how certain politicians are taking undue advantage of COVID-19 situation by printing their photos and organizational loogs on hygiene buckets and related assistance materials with the aim of capturing potential votes during the upcoming elections, we remain upbeat that those efforts are being made to reach out to our people during these austere times.
WE ARE ALSO aware that many of our compatriots resident in the Diapora are equally unhappy over the mismanagement of the country’s resources, and are therefore overly apprehensive of lending credence to President Weah’s request. But we also know that there are thousands of our fellow citizens living aboard who are not waiting for government stimulus to COVID19 affected households, but are doing their utmost best to rally support here.
WITH THAT BEING said, we wish to use this occasion to sound a few important caveats. The fight against the deadly Coronavirus is a serious matter that no one should ever politicize. Whether one finds oneself within the ruling establishment or the opposition community, this is a fight that each of us must shoulder and see to its logical conclusion.
THIS IS WHY, even as we applaud President Weah and other officials of his government for shouldering the fight against the Coronavirus, we are asking for President Weah to maintain a sincere posture towards other Liberians who may not be part of his government or who may be critical over how he runs his government. You cannot be asking someone for assistance yet label them contemptuously as “racketeers” who should help you or shut up. No one in their sound mind will listen to your request for assistance after you’ve denigrated them in such despicable fashion, Mr. President.
ANOTHER CAVEAT GOES also to our politicians who are milking everything out of this pandemic, with the aim of being seen by the hungry public as philanthropists, when in fact, these COVID-19 “goodwill gestures” that some of our politicians are showcasing are nothing but the birthright of the very hungry masses who voted them into offices.
ALL ACROSS THE country we see politicians presenting communities with hygiene buckets that have their photos and logos inscribed on those materials. These so-called goodwill individuals are moving into communities to distribute plastic bags of rice, with huge media fanfare. At the end of the day, few months down the line, these are the ones who you disappointed will be again standing under the scorching sun and drenching rain to vote into office.
HAVING SOUNDED THESE caveats to our people on the ground, we wish to seize this opportunity to commend all patriotic Liberians who in one or another have undertaken the challenge to bring succor their people in these trying times.
WITHOUT SOURING REDUNDANT, we also wish to use this occasion to call on our compatriots in the Diaspora not to give up on the Motherland. Channel your resources and support through tried and tested local non-governmental and community-based organizations if our people must directly benefit from the “dry dog” while awaiting the “elephant meat” stimulus package from government.
TOGETHER WE CAN kick COVID-19 out of Liberia, just as we did with EBOLA.