Pres. Weah Shuns Presidential Palace in Bong County; Lodges in Guesthouse
Gbarnga, Bong County – President George Weah last Sunday opted not to sleep at the presidential palace in Gbarnga – official home of the President in the county – has opened a debate in the central Liberian city.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
The President, who decided to spend the night at Kpanah guesthouse on the Logs road in Gbarnga, was sleeping in the county for the first time since his election as President.
In 2006, the county, under the leadership of then Superintendent Ranney Jackson, Spent US$200, 000 to rehabilitate the presidential palace that got damaged during the civil war.
President Weah and the owner of the private guesthouse, Paul Sarlie, have been long friends even before Weah’s ascendancy as President.
Sarlie was the campaign manager of Benoni Urey’s All Liberian Party but his children were heads of Weah’s CDC Women wing Bong chapter.
Weah ‘s decision to spend the night at the private guest house is generating divided opinions in Bong.
Beatrice Singbey, a supporter of CDC, said the President was right because the presidential palace is filthy and is not comfortable for the president.
“I don’t see it as a problem. The presidential palace has not been cleaned since the election,” she said.
Beatrice thinks it was Weah’s own way of paying back Sarlie, who hosted him during the 2017 election.
Also, Carlton Kummeh, a member of the CDC Youth Wing, said President Weah’s action was a show of promoting the “pro poor” agenda.
“Just by the president sleeping in a guest house is a boost for Sarlie,” he said. “In my mind that was in furtherance of the presidential pro-poor agenda.”
But Setonic Smith, a member of ANC, claims President Weah’s decision was a waste of the country’s resources. Smith said it was disappointing that the President refused to sleep in a place where taxpayers’ money was spent.
” So, it means when the President visits Bong fifty times before the end of the six years he will always sleep in a guest house?”
Edward Kamara, a member of the CDC, said he was not impressed when he gathered that the President had snubbed a Presidential palace for a guest house.
“We struggled for change and I think we should be the ones to lead by example or learn from previous leaders. President Sirleaf, throughout, slept in the Presidential palace and I expected the president to follow suit”.
Meanwhile, Sarlie said he was pleased to host his “friend” in his guest house despite his status in the county.
“I have been providing accommodation for Mr. Weah for years,” he said. Sarlie is relishing the possibility for the President to make more trips to Gbarnga to patronize his business.
“I think is a boost for my business and my family,” he added. “Our arms will always be open to accommodate our President”.
Sarlie termed the criticisms of President Weah’s choice of a private guesthouse over the Presidential palace as politically motivated.
“Who doesn’t want to host the president,” he asked