Liberia: Ex-President Sirleaf Condemns Pres. Weah for Not Paying Civil Servants ahead of Xmas, But Pres. Weah Responds with Litany of Her ‘Shortcomings’

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MONROVIA – On December 21, 2017, members of the then ruling Unity Party (UP) almost gave up all hope when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the time, who was yet to make any public appearance with her Vice President on any of his presidential election campaign trail, was seen breaking ground along leading opposition candidate at the time, George Weah, in Gbarnga, Bong County, just five days to the runoff election.

To many, that was a confirmation that she supported a Weah-presidency.

Exactly three years on, Madam Sirleaf, on Monday, December 21, 2020 tweeted what could be considered as a condemnation of the Weah-led administration over its failure to pay civil servants as the festive season approaches.

“The opulence displayed at the lighting of the Liberian President Christmas Tree was indeed impressive, but with the country’s economic climate, it is an affront to the thousands who have not been paid and are hungry,” Madam Sirleaf tweeted.

Rebuking Replies

The former President has, however, been rebuked on social media and many Liberians following her on Twitter, with many claiming that she aided and abated the current ‘governance deficit’ that the country is faced with.

In reply to her tweet which she has since taken down, Stanley S. Woloquelli stated, “You are the one who caused us this. This is what we have, we will live with it.”

SlumBorn SlumRise (a Twitter user) also replied, “Do you remember this? December 21, 2017 (showing a picture of Madam Sirleaf and Weah breaking ground) *We will never forget… You put is in this mess…”

Cheick Toure also replied, “Sorry, this pregnancy can’t be aborted any longer, you will have to live with it!”

“The opulence displayed at the lighting of the Liberian President Christmas Tree was indeed impressive, but with the country’s economic climate, it is an affront to the thousands who have not been paid and are hungry.”

– Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Ex-President, Liberia

Daniel Luo: “With due respect, Madam President, you were and still part of the problems that keeping Liberia from making progress. You forced President Weah on the Liberian people.”

Oxford Comma: “May I remind you that today makes it 3 years since you went public with your support for then Senator Weah against your VP of 12 years when you invited him to break ground in Gbarnga for the Lofa road just 5 days away from the 2017 Presidential Election. You birthed this. Own it!”

President Weah on Tuesday evening, December 18, 2018, lit the National Christmas Tree on the grounds of the Executive Mansion. 

Before switching on the Christmas Tree, President Weah described light as life, and invoked God’s blessings and merry tidings upon Liberians as they celebrate this year’s festive seasons. 

“We all know that light is life,” the President said. “As I light these lights on the Christmas Tree, it is my prayer that our good God will give each of us long life, joy and peace of Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”

Lighting of the Christmas Tree is an annual activity often performed by the President of Liberia to symbolically usher citizens into the festive season of sharing, giving and compassion.

Pres. Weah Responds

In a rejoinder to Madam Sirleaf’s tweet, President Weah who prides himself as the only President who has carried out more developments than any President in Liberia’s history, posted to Facebook late Monday evening:

Madam Former President, let me refresh your memory about what OPULENCE is:

OPULENCE is when Chevron gives 10 Million USD as CSR and you gave it to your son to squander.

OPULENCE is when you have 4 billion in Foreign direct investment, but leave Liberia in abject squalor and poverty.

OPULENCE is when you have 11 budget shortfalls in 12 years and yet spent tens of millions on failed projects like the Executive Mansion repair fiasco.

OPULENCE is when you spent over a million dollars for Oil Law Consultations; only to bring your high school student grandchild to speak to experts.

OPULENCE is when after 12 years of billions of dollars of Foreign Aid, you still leave the country with 1 billion dollars debt that my government is now paying back.

There are 1000 more examples, but let me leave you with these for now. OPULENCE is not when you use an old Christmas Tree and Choirs to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus.

“Madam Former President, let me refresh your memory about what OPULENCE is: … OPULENCE is when you have 11 budget shortfalls in 12 years and yet spent tens of millions on failed projects like the Executive Mansion repair fiasco.”

– George Weah, President of Liberia

Pres. Weah Equally Condemned

Commenters under the President’s post on Facebook bashed on his for his refusal to initiate an audit or prosecute past government officials for alleged corruption and other misrule of the country.

Satta F Sheriff: It’s ironic how you didn’t even call out Ellen “Opulence” when she left power, but you graded her government 80%. No, it doesn’t work that way, you can’t just wake up one day and change your tone about Ellen because she called you out on Twitter.

I think we should be talking about how this current government has been operating recently. In fact, I was just listening to one of your new songs. Oh wait, are you even speaking as the President of Liberia or as a musician?

Christopher Neymar Vonziah: Mr. President, you knew all these and still went ahead to protect her? This is a complete contradiction! Any society that responds to crimes by forgiving and taking bribes from criminals will inevitable create large contingents of criminal wannabes. Too sad for us.

Sam Diego Togbah: Mr. President, this is not enough of a response to madam Sirleaf. With all of what you have listed here, why can’t you use listed items here to prosecute this lady who is doing everything in her power to undermine your government? Mr. President, some of the many reasons that you are receiving the many criticism is not because you are unable to govern well, but your refuser to punish madam Sirleaf and many of her government officials.

Archie Sarnor: Why you didn’t audit her? I think you people should stop making mockery out of the Liberian people because the both of you are playing game with us. But one day God will reveal the reality. I can see deception in the both of you.

Abass Sarkodie Bunbangs: Mr President With all what you claimed to be embezzlement now why don’t you set up a commission of enquiry and make her pay all stolen monies as you are claiming now instead of just splashing them as a frustrated reply to a tweet?

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