Liberia: Emperor Weah Still Engulfed In Bubble

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WHEN VOTERS in the Midterm Senatorial Elections delivered a stinging rebuke to his presidency last December, President George Manneh Weah and his circle of trusted allies no doubt felt the shock of defeat, which under any normal circumstance would amount to a wake-up call and force those in power to recalibrate and return to the drawing board.

MR. WEAH’S Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) party took three Senate seats out of 15, with the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) securing six senators, according to the electoral commission, with a turnout of 37 percent.

DESPITE THE SHOCK and obvious awe of the elections result Mr. Weah appears convinced that he is still the same man he was at the height of his footballing career and an exploit which took him to the top of world football.

IN THE WEEKS FOLLOWING those results, Liberians far and wide have been clamoring for change, hoping for Mr. Weah’s own legacy that he would do the things and make the changes necessary to turn this around.

LAST WEEK, members of the Student Unification Party (SUP) stormed the offices of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission Executive Chairperson, Cllr. Nubusi Nwabudike and declared him, Persona non-grata, while calling for his immediate dismissal from the LACC.

THE STUDENTS’ ACTION came months after many took the Weah administration to task over its failure to dismiss Mr. Nwabudike since his ill-fated Senate confirmation hearing which brought embarrassment to the administration.

CLLR. NWABUDIKE, a Nigerian national came under severe scrutiny after he was appointed by President Weah and later nominated to the Liberian Senate as the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia. While before the Liberian Senate pending confirmation, the proceeding hearings revealed that Nwabudike presented many conflicting documents with different names and dates of births, along with Liberian passports, naturalization papers and other documents to prove his nationalization as a Liberian.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME to sit idly by and refuse to make the changes needed to right the wrongs of the past three years.

IT WAS DURING THAT HEARING, that the nominee was exposed.

THE LIBERIA NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION (LNBA), proved that Nwabudike had fraudulently and criminally acquired Liberian Passports and other relevant Liberian Documents which had helped him enjoyed certain basic privileges and rights guaranteed to Liberian nationals through the constitution of the Republic of Liberia and other legal instruments and lucrative positions in Liberia such as the privilege to be a Commissioner at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.

THE EXPOSURE of Nwabudike did very little to forced President Weah to withdraw the nomination, prompting SUP to conclude that the President’s inaction was a slap in the face and a clear violation of Chapter 2, section 2.3 of the New Elections Law of Liberia which prohibits Non-Liberian nationals from serving as Commissioner on the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission of the Republic of Liberia. Therefore, the typical Nigerian citizen in Nuwabudike didn’t meet the eligibility and legal criteria to have even gotten appointed for such a sacred and codified position.

THE IRONY of the President’s inaction is embellished in a sea of contradictions, especially after his Annual Message last week in which he once more expressed his commitment to continue to improve governance and a determined fight against corruption. “In September of 2020, integrity institutions convened an anti-corruption conference which deliberated and presented a clear anti-corruption roadmap. The roadmap recommends that the Government amends the Act of 2008 creating the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, to give the LACC top-rate prosecutorial powers and the mandate to administer the Asset Declaration regime across the three branches of Government.”

WAS IT NECESSARY for students to rain on Cllr. Nwabudike’s parade before the President take action? Was it necessary for the President to ignore the cries of the very people who elected him to power?

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER is that President Weah cannot be trumpeting his fight against corruption and good governance while refusing to make the needed changes to salvage what’s left of his presidency.

MR. WEAH AND HIS INNER CIRCLE must realize that he is simply not the same person he was at the peak of his football career, and definitely not the same person he was when he won the presidency in 2017.

LIKE MOST political parties riding on the mantra of change, the ruling CDC government has lost its steam and must race against time if it has any intentions of retaining its grip on the leadership of Liberia in the 2023 elections.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER is, this is not the time the remain engulfed in a bubble, believing that all is well when, all is not.

THIS IS NOT THE TIME to sit idly by and refuse to make the changes needed to right the wrongs of the past three years.

AT MR. WEAH rain through his midway point, it is important for the President to return to the drawing board, reassess his missteps and turn the corner.

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to change, but it will be if Mr. Weah fails to put himself in check and redirect his priorities for his own good, and that of Liberia.

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