Liberia: Rep. Acarous Gray’s Display of Luxurious Mercedes Benz on Social Media Sparks Mixed Reaction from Partisans and Opposition Community
MONROVIA — A recent display of a luxurious lifestyle by a National Executive Committee (NEC) member of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Representative Acarous Moses Gray in the wake of severe hardship and economic constraints confronting vast majority of the already impoverished Liberian people has stirred up mixed reactions among Liberians, including members of the ruling and opposition political parties.
Lawmaker Gray, who is also the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Executive and a closed confidante of President George Manneh Weah, is representing the people of electoral district # 8 in Montserrado County in the 54th National Legislature. He is currently serving his second term.
Last week, Representative Gray posted several photographs on his official ‘Hon. Acarous Moses Gray’ Facebook page while he was away from the country, showcasing the latest 2021 S- Class Mercedes worth over US$100, 000.
In the photographs, the CDC lawmaker was seen opening the vehicle, sitting in the driver’s seat, and standing in front and at the back of the car wearing a blue jeans trouser, jacket, white face cap, nose mask and a pair of black and white sneakers.
“When your man ride USD53K car your celebrate. A General like me deserve it too. You will stay long inside as we on it. You ride it, they will talk; you na (not) ride it, they will talk. One life to live yah”, Representative Gray stated above the photos posted on his Facebook page.
Though it remains unclear whether or not Representative Gray purchased the extravagant vehicle, his decision taken to post and do multiple photographs in the unidentified showroom did not go down well with some Liberians, including supporters who stood under the rain and sun to vote for the CDC during the 2017 general and presidential elections.
Charles B. Morris, a staunch supporter of the CDC, descended on Representative Gray for his action.
He sees the post as a provocation to struggling partisans and supporters of the ruling party and Liberians in general.
“This is a complete nonsense Mr. Gray. Why provoke others in this manner? This is not going to the opposition, but to your very partisan (CDC) who stood with you and others in this struggle and up to now, they can’t even find their way out. Your please stop this kind of nonsense; our party and people deserve better”, Morris stated.
Is this the revolution?
Kelvin Z. Bartuah, Jr is another supporter of the governing CDC.
He believes that the post from Representative Gray runs contrary to what members of the CDC fought for with their blood and sweat.
“Congratulations for your personal new car. But chief, how do you feel when you’re buying very much expensive car while the masses are going to bed very hungry? Is this the revolution we fought for while in opposition” Bartuah stated.
He continued: “You have betrayed the party mandate! You’re there enjoying our sweat and blood and it’s very much sad of you. But let me tell you this General-angry angry majority is a very much dangerous majority! 2023 will be a very much serious political and democratic bloodbath. We the hungry, angry, strangulated and devastated majority of the CDC…we’ll rise up and upset you guys democratically come 2023. Enough is enough!!!”
Amara Soko writes: “General, in as much as I support you, but this post of yours is provocative”.
“Enjoy your country money, nothing last forever”, James P. Massaquoi stated.
Going to bed on empty stomach
Sekou A. Fofana, a resident of district # 8, Montserrado County questioned the rationale behind the celebration of Representative Gray’s post.
“How will we celebrate you as general when we that elected you going to bed with empty stomach and you’re riding US$53K car? Hon. Acarous Moses Gray you have failed the peaceful people of District 8 and yet you’re damaging their future. Only God will pay you and come 2023 neither D 8 nor Cape Mount will give you job again. Trust me”.
‘Disgrace to the revolution’
For his part, Jose Tarnue described Representative Gray as a “disgrace to the revolution” following his latest post on the social media.
“Gellor from here mhn! After making all of these reckless statements y’all will still want hopeless young people to follow y’all during campaign periods only in the name of ‘party mandate’. You and several others we know around here are complete disgrace to the revolution we all fought for”.
Tarnue continued: “Do you know how frustrated several district and county (ies) executives are since the famous 2017 victory but you got the courage to write provocative nonsense out here. I don’t blame you at all because greater portion of your existence was experienced in extreme poverty, but I think you have forgotten too soon. Directionless General”.
“Imagine Acarous Gray buys a 53K car and boastfully shows that to Liberians; these are the natives who want power flamboyantly showing off tax payers money. The public space is now so polluted, public officials are so flamboyant with public funds…Say all you want about the Congo people but they bring humility at public space”, Alexander Bealded posted on his official facebook page.
Jebbeh Jenkins Page II writes: “So this man who is supposed to be in the interest of the masses flaunts his ill-gotten wealth in their faces?”
Another individual who goes by the social media name ‘Barclayvillequeen Saydee’ questioned the conscience of Representative Gray to showcase ‘flamboyancy’ during these difficult times in the history of the country.
“If u deserve it why even justify it? You know deep down the implications of riding expensive cars when the economy is bad and the people in your district still using the waterside as latrine. There’s something called conscience and I know u have one” Saydee stated.
Despite the barrage of disappointments expressed against the CDC lawmaker over his latest facebook post, several of his supporters, including few government officials have come in strong defense of him.
For them, they see nothing wrong with the showcasing of a vehicle worth thousands of United States dollars by Representative Gray, who remains a strong confidante of their political leader President Weah.
Alex Jator states: “Enjoy your life Acarous…You don’t have to listen to everything people talk about you. That’s human nature”.
“The General don’t mind them u will boil in front them”, Abrahim Barry commented.
Some of Representative Gray’s supporters see his action to display a brand new vehicle on the social media as another means of getting at the opposition.
“General you will kill opposition people oohh”, Lansana Saysay stated.
Marvelous M. K. Junior describes Representative Gray as the “best lawmaker ever in district 8”, adding that, “anything you do people must talk, so live your life general”.
Other citizens believed that it is now time for Representative Gray to “enjoy” after spending 12 years as opposition politician.
“Actually, you people deserve to enjoy. Can you imagine, waiting for 12 years to get here? My dear, this is time for your to eat. Liberia is like a susu card, the other people are waiting to come eat 2023”, David K. Dunah stated.
Ac Tumaful Mimbar states: “Kumba Fallo we waiting 2023 like it is the second coming of our Lord. Let Mr. Gray enjoy now because 2023 is just right around the corner”.
“Government money sweet yah. Enjoy it chief. Just make use of your time in service wisely”, Vargo Debge cautioned.
Also commenting, the Inspector General at the Ministry of Commerce Josephine Davies, who is a strong stalwart of the ruling CDC wrote: “You deserve it ultimate. Let them talk!”
The latest post from Representative Gray brings to two the number of times he has posted on the social media in recent times, showcasing a luxurious lifestyle.
During the heat of the Coronavirus outbreak in Liberia in 2019, Representative Gray came under strong criticism when he posted photographs of his palatable home merrymaking in a swimming pool and being served by a lady on the RIA Highway, outside Monrovia.
When contacted via text messages, Representative Gray denied that members of the ruling party made negative comments on his post.
He further accused this writer of wanting to blackmail him.
“You need to read properly because my post never said I bought a car 50K. No Cdcean ever spoke any negative and who are the Cdceans and how do you determine that people posting are Cdcians or oppositions? Since you know them, go publish their comments and names. I don’t yield to blackmailing”, Representative Gray responded to a FrontPage Africa inquiry via text message.
Many Liberians, especially those residing in slum communities believe that the consistent habit of their elected officials to live in opulence by either purchasing or constructing fabulous homes, duplexes and vehicles continue to hinder the improvement of their living conditions and the provision of basic social services to them.
Though the constitutional responsibilities of a Representative or Senator in Liberia are oversight, representation and lawmaking, citizens, particularly those in the leeward parts of the country do not understand these functions.
They consistently look up to their lawmakers for the provision of access to safe drinking water, construction of better roads, bridges, market buildings, schools, clinics, recreational centers, scholarship and job opportunities, among others.
The citizens normally used the close proximity they have with their lawmakers to ‘either cry or express frustration’ over the lack of these basic social services in their respective districts.
The flamboyant lifestyle of most lawmakers in the wake of a deep slash in their salaries and benefits by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government of President George Manneh Weah, continue to hamper or slow down their personal efforts being applied to improve the living conditions of their constituents who elected them at the helm of power in post-conflict Liberia.