IN AN APPEARANCE ON THE BUMPER SHOW, on State radio, LBS Wednesday, Senator George Manneh Weah(CDC, Montserrado County) suggested that I was sent to jail because I did not authenticate a story.
IN HIS EXACT WORDS, MR. WEAH said: “Rodney ended in jail the other day because he did not authenticate his story and what happened. The Liberia 14 years of unrest is because of misinformation to our people and we have grown from that era we are peaceful and the press needs to be very responsible. We are a team here at ECOWAS we have done so much and all the things we fight for some of what Liberia is benefiting from and I hope they realize our team spirit and don’t try to break our team.”
WEAH’S ASSERTIONS follows a publication this week based on a communication dated February 10, 2017, leaked to FrontPageAfrica and a few other media outlets in which the Speaker of the Parliament, Moustapha Cissé Lô from Senegal, described the practice of signing in at session and abandoning the process as “betrayal of confidence reposed on us as by the West African populace who are anxiously looking up to us to turn their checkered fortunes”.
THE SPEAKER SAID: “AT a personal level, I need hardly emphasize that this conduct is not benefitting our highly exalted offices as representatives of over 300 million citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”
A MEMBER OF THE ECOWAS parliament, one of two who leaked the memo, explained to FrontPageAfrica that some parliamentarians took offense to the memo and pleaded that the speaker be more specific about those who were in the practice of collecting stipends and going AWOL when they are supposed to be in session.
THE SPEAKER WENT on to declare that in a bid to curb the practice, the Bureau will from now on withhold 40 percent of allowances due members of the Parliament, only to be released at the end of the entire session/meeting. Also, payments, as a matter of policy, would be made through banks.
EVERYTHING WE REPORTED THIS WEEK has been validated by Senator Prince Johnson, one of several Liberian lawmakers appointed to the ECOWAS parliament.
JOHNSON, WHO LIKE SENATOR WEAH, appeared on the Bumper Show Wednesday was clear in stating that while the memo was openly addressed to all members of parliament, it was silently hard hitting on Senator Weah who, according to him, is fond of leaving sessions halfway to attend other personal activities. Senator Johnson stated that of all the members of the Liberian delegation, the Montserrado County lawmaker is the only one noted for signing for his stipend and taking his exit.
THE NIMBA COUNTY SENATOR said it was unfair for Senator Weah to excuse himself from the ECOWAS Parliament session to pay a courtesy visit to the Ghanaian President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo in Accra. “He should have remained here. There are procedures here; when you come for one week, it’s one week, two weeks, it’s two weeks,” Sen. Johnson said.
SENATOR WEAH, IN A response to Senator Johnson said he arrived in Abuja, Nigeria on Feb. 9 and was in session when the Speaker read the memo on Feb. 10 and that after reading the letter, the Speaker asked to meet with all heads of the various delegations - a meeting which he attended on behalf of the Liberian delegation. “I then asked for excuse to meet with President Akufo Addo’s schedule,” Weah said.
AT FRONTPAGEAFRICA, we always strive for the best in everything we do. I remain grateful to Senator Weah for visiting me when I was in custody and ailing at the John F. Kennedy Medical Hospital during my incarceration. But at the same time, we have a job to do as journalists.
WE GET DOCUMENTS AND TIPS each and every day on not just Senator Weah but others as well and like Senator Weah, they too are fond of accusing us of all kinds of things. We are used to that but we are not deterred and not afraid.
OVER THE PAST 72 HOURS, A FEW of Senator Weah’s aides have sent threatening emails and posting a lot of vents of their disgust of the publication. This is normal in our line of work.
A DAY EARLIER, SUPPORTERS OF Alex Cummings’ Alternative National Congress also expressed similar feelings regarding the ongoing scandal in their ranks. This is also normal, we get them every day.
I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT SENATOR WEAH’S visit to me in the hospital was in solidarity to my unjust imprisonment. It is sad that he now feels otherwise. The records are all available in the courts and revelations after my imprisonment by the former minister of Agriculture, Florence Chenoweth at a Senate hearing is all there. Mr. Weah is a Senator; he can request that recording from the Senate secretary. It was posted on our website for a long time and we’d be glad to repost in case he missed that, too.
WE GO THROUGH THIS CIRCLE ALL the time with figures who become unhappy with some of what we write. We appreciate all the love and support but we plead with you to understand that we have an obligation to our readers and the public and no amount of threats will keep us from doing what we are committed to doing.