Liberia: Council of Churches Terms Govt. Officials’ Flamboyant Display of Wealth on Social Media as “Crazy and Insensitive”
MONROVIA – The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), through its President Bishop Kortu K. Brown, has called on President George Manneh Weah to reprimand public officials who are in the constant habit of flagrantly and mockingly flirting their wealth and luxurious lifestyles on social media to mock ordinary citizens experiencing extreme poverty and hardship in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
It can be recalled that last week, the National Youth League of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) descended on the Commissioner-General of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, and the Assistant Minister for Logistics at the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs James Emmanuel Potter, for their flamboyant and arrogant show of wealth on the social media platform TikTok. He has faced scrutiny for the 100,000 TikTok followers he has, many critics say they are all fake followers.
Videos and photos of Minister Potter popping bottles of champagne on a new car he purchased as a birthday gift for his wife, Matilda Potter, and Mr. Nagbe consistent posting of fabulous and expensive meals and the purchasing of a 2021 Chevrolet vehicle worth about US$60,000 went viral on the social media last week.
Though the duo has denied any wrongdoing, they have been persistently scolded, condemned and linked to shady deals to appease their extravagant lifestyles despite the numerous challenges and difficulties confronting the nation and its people.
Speaking to Reporters at his offices in Brewerville outside Monrovia on Thursday, July 15, Bishop Brown disclosed that the latest action by the two government officials negatively portray Liberia to the outside world.
He noted that the acts displayed by Mr. Potter and Mr. Nagbe are also a “mockery to public service” and taking for granted the numerous plights and challenges confronting Liberia and its citizens.
“The people who do that (show wealth on social media) are insensitive. It is just a crazy behavior and taking for granted the plights of ordinary Liberians. I read in one Ugandan newspaper last night that a Liberian government official brought a car for his wife and he washed it with wine. Why are we giving ourselves that kind of publicity? Why are we trying to let the world know that we are unserious people in the midst of the third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic we have our government officials showing signs of insensitivity?”
Bishop Brown emphasized that the actions of the two government officials are “unfortunate” and as such, “government should do something about it,” noting that, “they should be reprimanded because this is a disgrace to Liberia”.
Rebuking the riding of flashy cars
Bishop Brown further condemned public officials who are bent on the constant habit of riding flashy and expensive vehicles purchased by tax payers despite the mountainous constraints in all sectors in the nation.
He noted that Liberians should rise up and compel their government to discourage its public officials from extravagantly spending and wasting tax payers’ monies.
He added that ahead of the 2023 elections, citizens should use their votes as a determinant to rise up and ensure that “unserious people” are not elected to lead the country or else, those officials will only be concerned about amassing wealth to the detriment of the ordinary people.
“People who are riding flashy and expensive cars at this time are just insensitive; they don’t know what they are doing. They are not qualified to public service. People suffering like this in this country, what kind of car you want to ride?”
Fast and prayer
Sometimes ago, the Liberia Council of Churches launched a national fast and prayer for the nation and its people in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Bishop Brown used this medium to commend authorities of the Ministry of Health as well as Liberians for the high level of “consciousness” in following the preventive measures including the wearing of nose masks in the public and social distancing to curb the spread of the virus.
He emphasized that the reporting of cases, consistent testing and the rush for the COVID-19 vaccine are steps being taken to defeat the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia by citizens, including government officials and members of the Liberian media.
Bishop Brown, however, attributed the low rate of COVID-19 related deaths in Liberia as compare to other countries across the world to the “grace of God” upon the nation and its people.
“We want to bless God for the level of intervention by the ordinary and all Liberians including the Ministry of Health and the churches. The Liberia Council of Churches declared a three-day fast and prayer for the country. From where we stand, we see a level of consciousness and alertness on the part of Liberians”.
He claimed that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in several countries across the world is not God’s rift against his people for their transgressions, but the pandemic is a “man-made” virus that “came from somewhere”.
“Personally, I do not believe that God brought Coronavirus upon the world. I believe that Coronavirus will not go from the world without God’s intervention. I think Coronavirus is man-made; it came from somewhere. I don’t think that God wants to punish us and that’s why we must pray”.
Bishop Brown emphasized that though the Council does not in any way intend to shift blame on authorities responsible for the growing wave of Coronavirus cases across the country, religious leaders will continue to fast and pray during these difficult times in the history of the society.
He noted that in the midst of the pandemic, citizens should only rely on God for their survival.
He, however, denied reports that Pastors are reneging and discouraging people from taking the AstraZeneca vaccine being administered in Liberia to prevent the spread of the virus.
Take the lead
Bishop Brown further called on leaders in Liberia to take the lead in taking the vaccine against COVID-19 to curtail the huge wave of speculations and doubts over the process.
When quizzed on what the Council makes of reports that President George Manneh Weah has not taken the Coronavirus vaccine in the public, Bishop Brown stated: “You should ask him (laughing). That question is for him; maybe he could have secretly taken the vaccine, I don’t know”.
He emphasized that leaders in Liberia should show examples even though the taking of the Covid-19 vaccine is being done voluntarily.
“It is a good thing that we as leaders can show public examples. The taking of the vaccine is a voluntary engagement but, when you are in leadership you have to volunteer or show example. You can’t force anyone to take the vaccine, but meanwhile when you are in leadership, it difficult for you to not set examples”.