Liberia: Pres. Weah Links Rousing Welcome in Lofa to His Popularity in the County
Foya District, Lofa County — President George Mannah Weah told a crowd of Foya residents Saturday his trip to the district – home of former Vice President Joseph Boakai – was to dispel the ‘myth’ that he has gone unpopular with the people of Lofa County.
By Selma Lomax, [email protected]
The Liberian leader received a hero’s welcome during his emotional fourth leg tour of the county. Dozens of residents decked out in colorful tribal regalia and greeted President Weah with a series of short traditional dances.
From St. Paul River bridge, the border between Lofa and Bong counties, they chanted “our bad road medicine and development giant.”
According to 25-year-old Kebeh Akoi, resident of Zorzor District, she turned out to welcome President Weah to showcase her support for his government. ‘I support President Weah’s second term. I feel strongly he has done well for the country and should be given a second term,’ she said.
For Ben Gulumah, District Commissioner of Salayea, President Weah deserves a second six-year term to consolidate on the development he has started. “This is not about tribe, but the reality on ground. I’m a Lofian (native of Lofa County) and I strongly believe we should join ranks with President Weah rather than backstabbing him. Liberia has seen so much under him and we must ensure he continues as president in 2023,” he said.
To President Weah, the huge turnout was a demonstration of love for him by the people of Lofa County. “Thanks to the people of Lofa County. The turnout has been massive. Before my arrival, some members of the opposition had said that I wouldn’t have received a rousing welcome in Lofa County because the people hate here hate me, but what I have seen here since I arrived shows that Lofa County has fallen,” President Weah said.
President George Weah also used his speech in Salayea District Thursday to appeal to residents of Lofa County to consider him as their ‘son’, and not an outsider, promising to manifest his ‘love’ for the county with massive development projects.
“Sometimes the person you consider your son can disappoint you; and the person you consider as an outsider can be that person who will make you proud in the future,” President Weah said.
“I believe what I’m going to do for the people of Lofa County before my three years end as president will make them regard me as one of their own”.
President Weah then took a swipe at Joseph Boakai about the deplorable state of the Lofa road, despite serving as vice president for 12 years under former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. “Those you considered your son served one of the highest positions in government and yet the road leading to his native county is still deplorable. But, I have come to tell you that I, George Mannah Weah, the man whom many considered ‘stranger’ to Lofa County, will make you proud when it comes to this road,” President Weah said.
Foya District Endorses Weah’s second term
Amassing to President Weah was the endorsement of his second term bid by elites of Foya, led Paramount Chief Moses Saah Taylor, an ally to Boakai. Paramount Chief Taylor, reading the endorsement on behalf of the district, said there is a need for President Weah to consolidate on the gains of the Change for Hope mantra of the Coalition for Democratic Change.
The petition reads: “On behalf of residents of Foya District, I would like to state that we have deliberated and resolved to endorse President Weah’s second term bid.
“The need to consolidate on the gains of the Change of Hope mantra agenda. We are going to work and make the necessary sacrifices for the success of President Weah, because he has done”.
In response, President Weah acknowledged Paramount Chief Taylor and said it was befitting for a “confidant” to the former vice president to sign a petition for his second term. “When I received the petition, I got attracted to the name of Paramount Chief Taylor. I was surprised because for an ally of my political rival to endorse my second term bid it shows that the petition is authenticate,” he said.
Ex-VP’s caution to Lofa
Supporters of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) are insisting that the huge turnout to welcome President Weah can be attributed to the caution of ex-vice president Boakai days before the president’s arrival.
Boakai called on citizens in the county to do everything to make the president and he his entourage comfortable during their stay in the county.
“Lofaians are peace loving people and that speculations that the President of Liberia will not be welcomed to the County is unfounded and untrue.”
Amid President Weah’s massive victory in the overall polls, the people of Lofa did not abandon their kinsmen who had served as Vice President for 12 years under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
With that result still fresh on their minds, there are reports that the President and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are resolved to ‘move mountains’ to wrestle away voters from Ambassador Boakai and the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) in their stronghold in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
But President Weah’s Special Aide, Sekou Kalasco Damaro, said: “That statement was purely out of shame. Pres Weah can enter any county without anyone’s approval as the Commander-in -Chief. However, we are set and in readiness for the 4th trip of the Nationwide County tour. This time around is Lofa County. The beloved people of Lofa County are expecting their humbled and loved President who is tirelessly working to address the inherited problems (1847 -2017 =170yr). Gradually we are getting there and most certainly Liberia will get better”.
Rented crowd grace Weah’s Lofa trip?
Though Lofians (people of Lofa County) appear to have graced President Weah’s arrival in the county, what still lingers to many is why did the ruling party charter over six buses of the National Transit Authority to transport partisans of the ruling party to Lofa County.
FrontPageAfrica can confirm that four six buses were assigned in Foya, while two were assigned in Voinjama District. One partisan of the CDC said, “We decided to bring additional people to grace the Lofa trip. But you confess that the trip to Lofa was successful because the turnout was more than those the party transported to the county,” he said.
Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change had never won Lofa, the fourth populated county in Liberia, before joining the Coalition for Democratic Change. In 2017, the party finished second to Unity Party, security less over 20 percent of the votes. And President Weah his trip to Lofa County is begining of the amendment he hopes to achieve in Lofa County ahead of 2017.
The lingering questions are: Will Boakai maintain his Lofa stronghold ahead of 2017 or it will be a strong fight between the ruling party and the opposition Unity Party in 2023?