Avoidable Distractions Impeding Weah’s Governance in Liberia


LAST WEEK, President George Manneh Weah embarked on the second leg of his county tour which took him to Western Liberia. Like many of the President’s previous attempts to change the narratives to the positives of his administration, last week was no exception.

FOR MUCH of the past few days, the country has been engulfed not so much in the narratives the Weah administration tried to project but rather, the controversial war lingering between the Minister of Justice Cllr. Frank Musah Dean and the Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Cyrennius Cephus.

THE LATEST PUBLIC SPAT between the pair stems from the arrest last week of Mr. Mo Ali, Secretary General of the Unity Party, one of four political parties making up the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP).

MR. ALI WAS  charged with “arson, criminal mischief, and attempted murder”, for two postings on the social medium, Facebook. 

HE WAS ORDERED jailed on Thursday afternoon March 25, 2021, after he appeared for questioning at the police headquarters for a second time.

THE CHARGES INSTITUED BY the Solicitor General Cephus implied that there was evidence of Mr. Ali’s involvement in the recent attacks on the National Elections Commission and the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe.

THE FORMER RULING UP released a statement in Monrovia denouncing the charges against its national secretary-general. “We maintain that this is an effort by the Government to hold Mr. Ali as a political prisoner”.

THE PARTY SAID it will “resist” the charges, “using legal and political means”, adding “We do not believe that his Facebook posts, only, are sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Mo Ali for the above-mentioned crimes”.

ADDING HIS VOICE, the Political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, declared that the arrest of Mo Ali, Secretary General of the UP, and Deputy SG of the CPP is provocative and a recipe for chaos.

THAT PRESIDENT WEAH allowed officials in his government to cause distraction on his county tour speaks volume and suggest that the President has lost control of the governance of Liberia and appears to be comfortable with lingering public infighting within his administration – and his top officials.

THE ALI SAGA COMES IN THE WAKE of a blistering attack on the administration from Congressman Chris Smith(GOP, New Jersey’s 44th District), who accused President Weah of running a kleptocratic government that is milking the coffers of the country to the ground.

REP. SMITH is a ranking member of the US Congress serving on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.

REP. SMITH blamed President Weah for the high rate of poverty in the country by using his political power to appropriate the wealth of the county through embezzling or misappropriating government funds at the expense of the wider population.

SAID THE US LAWMAKER: “In Africa, we have a special relationship with Liberia which was founded by freed American slaves. Unfortunately, President George Weah leads a Kleptocratic government that is engaged in political corruption from the day he assumed office by depleting the government’s coffers for personal use while the people of Liberia suffer.”

SIMILAR SENTIMENTS WERE expressed during the confirmation of Mr. Michael A. McCarthy, the current US Ambassador accredited to Liberia. 

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ(Democrat, New Jersey( had queried the nominee on reports fo corruption under the Weah-led administration and asked what he would do to change the damaging perception of corruption that has been dogging the government, now in its fourth year.

PRESSED BY SENATOR MENENDEZ, a ranking member of the committee, on his  assessment of the government’s willingness and capacity to address corruption and what would he do if confirmed, to press the government to adequately address the corruption issue, Mr. McCarthy said he would devise a three-pronged approach toward making the case.

ALL THIS AMID murmurs of a purported list of Weah administration officials earmarked for sanctions by members of the US Congress.

PRESIDENT WEAH should be mindful of officials bent on trying to cause distraction toward negativity when he is trying to project the positivity in his administration. 

ANYONE SUGGESTING that Mr. Ali is responsible for recent incidents of petrol bombs thrown at the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and the headquarters of the National Elections Commission should be sent to a mental asylum and kicked out of the Weah government.

MR. ALI WHO WAS released from prison last Friday said his post was simply alluding to the fact that all will be done to ensure that the National Elections Commission face the full legal consequences should they implement a strategy intended to deny the certification of Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai, thereby denying the people of Lofa County their choice of Senator.”

MR. ALI also accused Joseph Nagbe, Associate justice of the Supreme Court, of being a tribalist.

IRONICALLY, JUSTICE MINISTER Dean had ordered Mr. Ali’s release from custody. “Until the evidence, when produced, is reviewed and a determination made by the Attorney General, the LNP is ordered to release Mr. Ali,” Minister told FrontPageAfrica last week.

THE MINISTER SAID: “Consistent with section 22.2 (b) of the New Executive Law, which requires the Minister of Justice to “institute all legal proceedings necessary for law enforcement”, the Minister of Justice has, today, March 25, 2021 called on the Liberia National Police to produce the proper evidence to support charges levied against Mr. Mo Ali. Mr. Ali is reportedly charged with terrorism, Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder, Arson and Terrorist Threat.

THE MINISTER’S ORDER was initially ignored but Mr. Ali was eventually released. 

WAS THIS DISTRACTION NECESSARY? Did any of those serving the government of President Weah take into consideration the ramifications of such unnecessary distraction? 

ONE MAY never know. In fact, such distractions are bound to be repeated if the President continues to turn a blind eye to the little things that are crippling his governance of Liberia. 

UNTIL PRESIDENT WEAH realizes that those kissing up to his Tubman-style patronage are simply causing him more harm than good, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change Government will continue to have problems and continue to struggle with an image quagmire keeping progress and development in limbo to the administration’s own detriment.