Liberia: Ethnic “Feeling” for “Embattled” President George Manneh Weah: This Isn’t the “Right Way” to Help Our “Tribal Brother” Get It “Right”

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President George Manneh Weah-native of Grand Kru County

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I am a Grand Kruan—a member of President George Manneh Weah’s ethnic group: Kru.

Is President George Manneh Weah giving order—with words or body language—to any of his tribal members to form an “armed group” to defend him against his “haters”?

The FrontPage Africa newspaper of Liberia, in its Friday, November 22, 2019 edition ran a story (by the paper’s Desk Chief—Lennart Dodoo) about one Augustine Nagbe “threatening” to form a “Defense Force” of Grand Kru County only to protect the Head of State (George Manneh Weah) The President is a member of this region of Liberia via the nativity of his father to this place.

The story was under a headline: “Forming the Kru Defense Force” (original headline in capital letters)

Part of writer Lennart Dodoo’s quote of Mr. Nagbe reads: “I am a Kru warrior, I am the warrior for the Kru people…I will defend him (President George Manneh Weah) if anyone tries to molest him, the same way they had the Lofa (County) Defense Force, you will see the Kru Defense Force.”

“Ethnic Defense Force” Thinker Augustine Nagbe

General Power threatened the formation of the Kru Defense force for the protection of Pres. George Weah and the Kru people

According to the writer, Mr. Nagbe  is an ex-rebel general (during Liberia’s civil war that lasted 14 years and sniffed out more than 250, 000 lives), and that he made these comments during an interview with a local newspaper named PRIME FM. The story appeared in the paper the next day after the interview on Radio. (Mr. Dodoo didn’t state the name of the warring faction Mr. Nagbe had fought for) Mr. Nagbe was nicknamed “General Power” when he was fighting in Liberia’s civil war.

FACTORS OF AUGUSTINE NAGBE’S “THREAT”

In recent times, some Liberians have been spewing “assassination threats” against President George Manneh Weah. They use their Social Media platforms. Few months ago, the FrontPage Africa newspapers published an “assassination threat” from a Social Media account of a man who disclosed his Liberian nationality. The writer’s message was President Mr. George Manneh Weah should be “eliminated”, because his presence on Liberia’s most exalted seat (is) responsible for Liberia’s current biting economic environment. 

This Social Media writer’s threat followed the reported alleged disappearance of sixteen billion new Liberian Bank Notes—printed by the Government of President Weah’s immediate predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—from the Country’s premier Sea Port through a container. This happened during the period of national outcry on President Weah’s personal multi-million Dollars homes—built at time the Country was still being grounded by economic hardships, partially inherited from his predecessor Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

On June 7, 2018, few months after this writer’s “assassination threat”, a mammoth crowd of angry citizens—from various political, professional, and Civil Society organizations—stormed Liberia’s Parliament House (National Legislature) to present a petition ordering the George M. Weah-led Government to address the Country’s excruciating economic problems immediately.  The protesters picked Council of Patriots (COP) as an identification name. COP didn’t, however, get the “Presidential attention” the body had envisaged. President Weah wasn’t present to “receive” the petition; Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor wasn’t available to “represent” the Head of State. 

Liberia’s Commander-In-Chief George M. Weah (who had always performed with productive distinction in his “leadership” role in the World of Soccer) and his “Lieutenants” appear unable to find solution to the biting economic hardship on Liberia—being exacerbated by galloping price of gasoline (that dictates circulation of citizens’ needs and mobility of people), devaluation of the Liberian Dollar against global-trade currencies, and risen level of armed robberies—products of extreme poverty now in the country. The President often tells “complainants” he inherited the “broken economy” from his predecessor—Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

BUT “THREAT” ISN’T THE “WAY” TO ENSURE PRESIDENT WEAH’S “PROTECTION”

But these citizens’ “reactions” to the suffering they experience daily do not warrant the kind of “threat” Mr. Augustine Nagbe—a former member of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL)—has disgorged during his interview session over PRIME FM. In fact, such threat has the potential of creating a bigger political problem—endangering the lives of the President’s “tribal members”—than Mr. Nagbe had envisaged. Liberians saw that during their Country’s war periods—1990-95; 1996—when a particular ethnic group was being targeted for “elimination” because a prominent member of the ethnic group had announced a “defense group” against “loyalists”  or tribal members to a prominent member of another ethnic group. A typical example is the attempted arrest of General Charles Julu, of the Krahn ethnic group, and leader of a separate faction of the United Liberation Movement (ULIMO), by loyalists to a Gio/Mano tribe-dominated National Patriotic Front of Liberia (under Charles Ghankay Taylor) in 1996.  

PRESIDENT’S “ETHNIC GROUP” UNDER ATTACK OVER “SILENCE” ON MR. NAGBE’S “THREAT”

Majority of Liberians—from other ethnic groups—are criticizing local leaderships of Grand Kru County—President Weah’s tribal group—on “muteness” toward comments from the former “rebel soldier”. They want prompt reactions “against” the former war-time fighter’s “inciting comments”. Other critics are perceiving the ‘silence’ as being an ‘approval’ to their kinsman’s  ‘threat’ of Defense Force formation. One of such criticisms was reflected in the Editorial of Liberia’s oldest private newspaper—Daily Observer—in its Thursday, November 28, 2019 edition. Part of the criticism portion: “With the exception of Grand Kru representative Fonati Koffa, the deafening silence  of Kru elders and opinion leaders on general power’s threat to form a Kru Defense Force is not only notable but telling…Their silence and failure to speak out in condemnation of Power’s divisive and inciteful rant, therefore, suggests tactful approval and agreement with the blatantly false notion that Kru people are under threat simply because the President of Liberia, an ethnic Kru,  is facing a barrage of criticism for poorly managing the nation’s affairs”

The Daily Observer, as an entity, has made a little error of ‘generalization’—implying “all” elders and opinion leaders (of Grand Kru County) ‘failed’ (in) speaking out against Mr. Augustine Nagbe’s threat. In the same edition with this editorial—entitled “Appraising Justice Minister Musa Dean’s Shit Show”—the paper has a story of Hon. Fonati Koffa (Member of the House of Representatives)“speaking up against” the threat of his tribal brother (Grand Kruan) Augustine Nagbe. Hon. Koffa is an “opinion leader”. Another Grand Kru County’s “opinion leader”, Mr. Phillip Wesseh (journalist), Publisher of The Inquirer newspaper, Liberia’s second oldest print medium next to the Daily Observer, also “spoke up against” Augustine Nagbe “threat” through his regular column. Mr. Wesseh’s “speaking up” was is contained his write-up (regular column in The Inquirer) entitled “Does President Weah Need A Kru Defense Force”, published in the Thursday, November 28, 2019 edition. (The same time the Daily Observer published its editorial on “silence” of Grand Kru County’s elders and opinion leaders on Grand Kruan Augustine Nagbe’s “threat”) A portion of Mr. Wesseh’s “speak-up” states: “By his (President George Manneh Weah) being a Kru man in no way suggests that he is only for the Kru people…I always disagree with people who say, This is a Kru Government…By Law, the President is to be protected by State security…not any tribal group…”

THE “WAY” TO “DEFEND” PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH WEAH

The word “way”, in the subtopic above, is a synecdoche of the various “means” of calming the “economic heat” pushing Liberians to “hate” President George Manneh Weah—a once-upon-a-time seemingly “economic savior” to the belief of (majority) of Liberians—specifically the masses. This was when Mr. Weah was running for Liberia’s Presidency in the elections in 2005 and 2015.

Having known economic and political factors now “pushing” Liberians to “issuing threats” against the “Kru Man” (President) George Manneh Weah, former AFL office Augustine Nagbe and his fellow “tribal people” should come out and address these factors.

The first place to start from is to advise or persuade President George Manneh Weah to READ—with COMPREHENSION—extensively about “Leadership” and genuinely or impartially implement the ‘strategies of Leaderships’ he “comprehended” from the reading. One principle of Leadership says a “good leader” employs jobseekers based on action-based performance, not on mere political affiliation; and quickly weeds out any poorly-performing (or visibly ineffective) employee.

The second place Mr. Augustine Nagbe and his fellow “ethnic defenders” of President George Weah is to advise the Head of State that “Political rival” is not the same as a “enemy”; so, he should absorb, into his Government, his “political rivals” who have deeper practical knowledge in fast nation-building sectors (Agriculture, Health and Education) where his political buddies have a “handicap”. For now, majority of President Weah’s “Lieutenants” (Ministers and Directors of Government’s Agencies) have deeper knowledge in only “talking” (loquacity) A large percentage of them were “hauled” from public Talk Points locally called “Intellectual Centers”, where attendants discuss only European Football teams and their players (from 6am local time); national politics (from 11am to 12 midnight) and alcohol & sex on liquids tables (from 12 midnight to dawn) Go around town and you believe what I’m saying.

For the fourth place, former AFL officer Augustine Nagbe and his fellow “defenders” should get Head of State George M. Weah to invest in “talents” of Liberia, for young Liberians with innovative knowledge to go outside and participate in International competitions in inventions and other innovation areas and win laurels (which will come with money) for Liberia. It’s talent that made George Weah rich beginning from his days on the Football Fields in Europe.

There is no record from any part of the World where forming a “Defense Force” for a President has ever developed a Country. This is possible only in the imagination of a jobless man—or woman—courting a President for a job.

One job-or attention-seeking Grand Kruan shouldn’t be left alone to create a bad “political image” for our calm and law-abiding County to other parts of Liberia or the World. 

George Manneh Weah needs the “brains” (nation-building ideas) of his tribal brothers and sisters to perform well in the Presidency—not “brawns”. 

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