Liberia: ‘Stop Shifting Blame, Take Charge’ – Senator Dillon Challenges President Weah

Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon

Monrovia – Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has challenged President George Manneh Weah, calling on him to desist from shifting blame and embrace constructive ideas or recommendations proffered by his perceived critics in order to move the country forward.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, October 30, Senator Dillon said, “loyal bootlickers and diehard critics” of the President continue to experience hardship triggered by the harsh economic constraints and decline.

Senator Dillon, who is a Liberty Party lawmaker and was unflinchingly supported by the collaborating political parties in the 2019 Montserrado County by-election, urged the President to cultivate the spirit of “open-mindedness” and desist from exhibiting pride or a show of arrogance in leading the country.

“In one year… Liberia is crying with nearly everything falling apart; and we are all feeling the pinch, whether we are ruling partisans or opposition, whether we are loyal bootlickers or diehard critics; we are all feeling the pinch,” Senator Dillon said.

“We all must help to save the state from collapse. President Weah must lead. He must stop the blame-shifting and take charge. Yes, it makes some sense to acknowledge the challenges, but he must open up and be willing to listen and embrace fresh, constructive ideas. It takes courage and open-mindedness, not pride and or a show of arrogance.” 

Ellen/Weah First Year Comparison

President Weah and other top executive committee members of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have persistently attributed the downward trend of the economy to bad governance and  corruption on the part of the administration of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

On the other hand, the CDC led-government has embraced the completion of infrastructural projects initiated by Madam Sirleaf’s administration.

According to Senator Dillon, Madam Sirleaf took over the presidency in 2006 at the time there were no roads, access to pipe-borne water, and electricity.

He added that there were almost no properly functioning governance institution, huge external and domestic debt, poor foreign relations, and huge salary arrears when Madam Sirleaf excelled to power.

The Liberty Party lawmaker disclosed that Madam Sirleaf’s headache intensified when she took over a national budget of US$80, while the take home pay of civil servant was less than US$15.

Senator Dillon indicated that the former Liberian leader, upon assuming office, did not complain or shift blame, but acknowledged the challenges of the past, and the mounting difficulties that lied ahead.

“When she named her first cabinet, Liberia and the world were shook and knew she was prepared and ready to get things done,” he added.

“In one year… Liberia is crying with nearly everything falling apart; and we are all feeling the pinch, whether we are ruling partisans or opposition, whether we are loyal bootlickers or diehard critics; we are all feeling the pinch.”

– Abraham Darius Dillon, Senator, Montserrado County

Before the end of her first year [2006], Senator Dillon recalled, civil servants salary was raised from US$15 to US$30, electricity was restored to some parts of Monrovia under the “Small Light today, big light tomorrow” initiative, and the about 60kms of dilapidated roads were also paved in Monrovia and its environs.

He pointed out that Madam Sirleaf also restored Liberia’s lost international image, something which paved the way for the cancellation of billions of external debts.

But on the contrary, Senator Dillon disclosed that, President Weah met a functioning government, with nearly all governance institutions in place, and a National Budget of over US$500m. 

According to him, the Liberian Chief Executive also inherited a regular payment of civil servants’ salaries and inherited some paved roads, the provision of pipe-borne water and hydroelectricity in some parts of the country from the Sirleaf-administration.

Appointed Officials Lack Competence 

Meanwhile, Senator Dillon has claimed that the first cabinet setup by President Weah has proven to be “ineffective to a larger extent”. 

The CDC led-government has been consistently condemned by some observers for appointing “unqualified and incompetent” individuals to key positions in government.

He noted that poor decisions that are far less than delivering to the Liberian people are made at the level of the Cabinet, making civil servants to go months without taking pay.

The Montserrado County lawmaker indicated that the worse of the Weah-led administration is the “glaring sycophantic nature of their idol-worshipping tendencies and empty rhetoric.”

He, however, challenged Liberians to make it their duty to make Liberia a better place for them and their children, by not relenting or failing to help find part of the solutions for the country’s progress.