LET'S ASK THIS BLUNT AND DIRECT QUESTION, does President George Manneh Weah really have a feasible blue print of what he intends to accomplish in his first 100 or 150 days in office?
SOME OF HIS SUPPORTERS defend that the President has indeed got one. But where is it, fellow Liberians, including those of you whom the President has explicit confidence in for such matter? We need to know and see it in order to keep reminding him and you his lieutenants just in case any of you starts to drive on the opposite lane from those plans.
THROUGHOUT THE CAMPAIGN period of the Presidential and Representative Elections of 2017, President Weah, then candidate Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), then opposition political party, now ruling party, made fabulous campaign promises of bringing "heaven on earth" for Liberians.
AT SOME POINTS DURING the campaign, all the presidential candidates were invited to two separate debates organized by the Deepening Democracy Coalition (DDC), for each of the candidates to come and explicitly tell Liberians what is contained in their parties' platforms or manifestos and how they intend to raise Liberians from the quagmire that they faced under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
ALSO, THROUGH THEIR deliberations, Liberians would have known their immediate plans for the nation in their first 100 to 150 days in office as the good old book— the Bible says “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
WHILE OTHER CANDIDATES showed up, including former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, who was probably the frontrunner, by virtue of him being the current Veep, Mr. Weah refused to show up.
ACCORDING TO THE ORGANIZERS of the debates, the CDC candidate didn't have the courtesy of formally informing them that he wouldn't be available to honor their request even though he had received their invitations.
SO, THE VAST MAJORITY OF LIBERIANS didn't get to know exactly what Mr. Weah has got in his heart for them and their country. However, he still went ahead with the usual political campaign, including making many promises of "I will, I will."
ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2017, the last day of campaign for the runoff election between him and Mr. Boakai, Mr. Weah rallied his supporters, including those from other parties, which form part of the Coalition with these words: “Fellow Liberians Tuesday [December 26] would be the day that you Liberians would decide whether you want to move forward or remain backward. Tuesday would be the day when you’ll decide whether your young brothers and sisters [would continue] moving around in the streets asking people to give them WAEC fees; Tuesday would be a day that you would make a decision for students from university, from high school will move from office to office-to-ask for school fees. Tuesday would be the day that you’ll choose for your family to have food or not to have food.”
DESPITE HIM NOT VERY CLEARLY articulating his party's platform, Liberians, especially those from the slum communities, who felt badly marginalized by the actions of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led regime, overwhelmingly voted him as their next Commander-in-Chief, replacing and ending Madam Sirleaf’s 12-year reign.
WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING the overwhelming mandate that his fellow countrymen and women bestowed on him in his inauguration address on Monday, January 22, the President again failed to state what would his immediate first 100-day deliverables be even though he delivered a brilliant speech.
ON THE OTHER TWO OCCASIONS that he has spoken to the nation, including his first Annual Message to the 54th Legislature and his first Armed Forces Day Message, he didn't forget again to put on his 'political campaign jacket' by making more promises, including building a coastal highway from Buchanan, Grand Bassa County to Maryland County and construction of a military hospital.
PRESIDENT WHILE THESE are very good development plans, they can't be included anywhere in your first immediate 100 or 150-day plan of the country. The constructions of those two infrastructures are long-term plans, which we think your administration can certainly achieve.
BUT WHAT LIBERIANS WANT to know now is your immediate tangible, feasible plan for the first 100 or 150 days of your presidency. You have now gone more than one month neither you nor your lieutenants, have put on the table this plan for Liberians to see.
WHEN YOU LEFT THE COUNTRY few days ago for your three-legged state visits to three countries, including Dakar, Senegal; Rabat, Morocco; and Paris, France, specifically in Dakar, you told the West African Democracy Radio that your immediate 90-day plan would be road connectivity.
PRESIDENT, WE THINK this isn't feasible given the state of our roads and the very bad shape the country's economy is in. Mr. President how are you going to achieve this looking at the "very broke" government you inherited from your predecessor.
EVEN WITH THE 10 MILLION EURO (US$12,294,500) grant pledge from your French counterpart, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, toward this road connectivity drive, you won't be able to connect all of our major roads across the country.
REMEMBER IN YOUR ANNUAL Message you told the lawmakers that you will need US$3 billion for our roads?
THIS IS WHAT YOU SAID, Mr. President: “However, and more specifically, I would like to inform you that my immediate strategy for reducing poverty, increasing youth empowerment through job creation and training, and improving the productivity of our economy, is to embark upon a comprehensive road and highway construction program that will link all county capitals with all-weather paved primary roads. They will be built to the highest international standards, and linked to paved secondary farm-to-market roads that will enhance agriculture, trade, and tourism in Liberia. Particular priority will be given to a coastal highway that will run from Buchanan to Harper, which will eventually end the complete isolation of south-eastern Liberia, a condition that has existed since the formation of this country. The is a medium-term project which will take several years to complete, but it is the intention of my government to prioritize the planning and raising of funding for this important development goal, which has been estimated to cost approximately three billion dollars.”
PRESIDENT, WHEN FORMER President Sirleaf took office in 2005, the country was virtually in ashes, every sector completely broken; the economy at its worst and there was virtually not a solid foundation to build upon.
IN THE MIDST OF THOSE HUGE challenges, she assembled the courage to present to Liberians and others an across-the-board plan intended to be achieved in her first 150 days in office.
HER PLAN HINGED ON “ACHIEVING quick and visible progress that reaches significant number of our people, to gain momentum, consolidate support, and establish the foundation for sustained economic development.”
AMONG YOUR PREDECESSOR’S PLAN INCLUDED the restoration of electricity to certain parts of Monrovia, and maintaining a small but effective government, fighting corruption, amongst others.
THESE PLANS HELPED LIBERIANS set their eyes on what to hope for within a specific period of time. The public judged Madam Sirleaf by those expected deliverables.
SIR, SINCE IT IS APPARENT that you have not got any immediate plans for your first 100 or 150 days, please allow us to advance these to you for your consideration taking into consideration the “very broke system” that you inherited on January 22nd.
YOUR FIRST 100 DAYS MUST include these measures that would help to curtail wastes, improve security, build confidence in the justice system, foster RECONCILIATION, ensure equitable use of national resources and guarantee equality.
PRESIDENT, LET IT IS ALSO very importantly include the reduction of the price of gasoline, reduction of tariffs on some shipments to Liberia, protecting borders, limiting government officials’ foreign travels, among others.