MONROVIA – President George Weah, now a lame duck, believes unity among Liberians and keeping the country peaceful lie in the next administration’s decision not to go after officials of his government. He thinks doing so would be “witch-hunting”, but the incoming administration contends that accountability is crucial for the nation’s progress and development.
By Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
Mounting the pulpit on Sunday at his Forky Klon Jlaleh Family Fellowship Church just days after conceding to former Vice President Joseph Boakai, Weah said his decision to concede was motivated by the desire to uphold peace in Liberia, despite facing pressure not to do so.
He, however, urged his successor not to pursue officials of his government, rather he should follow his example when he decided not to pursue officials of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government in which Boakai was Vice President for 12 years as doing do would have been witch-hunting.
Weah: “We must prioritize the welfare of our people and the development of the country. By pursuing witch hunts against my officials and me, we risk derailing the peace we have worked towards.”
“Going after officials from this government would only hinder the progress made toward achieving lasting peace and stability in the country.”
According to the President, it is crucial for the President-elect to concentrate on his agenda and steer clear of distractions posed by investigations and prosecutions, as such actions could significantly undermine the country’s peace.
He emphasized that Boakai should prioritize healing the nation and addressing the divisions that emerged “due to the elections.” The President highlighted that his government contributed to maintaining peace by refraining from prosecuting officials from the previous Unity Party government under Sirleaf.
“The unity and peace of this country are of utmost importance. Our government refrained from pursuing past officials for the sake of maintaining peace. Boakai should follow suit. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf handed over power to us, and we upheld the peace. Boakai needs to do the same,” the President remarked.
However, the Unity Party argues differently. Reacting to President Weah, the former Auditor General and key member of the Boakai campaign team, John Morlu, differed with Pres. Weah’s stance on accountability. According to him, it was negligence on the part of Pres. Weah not have held the Sirleaf regime accountable.
Morlu contended that the Unity Party in 2018 had requested Weah to conduct an audit, a request that went unfulfilled. He argued that Weah’s failure to carry out an audit of the previous government is not a justifiable reason for evading investigation.
“Advocating for peace and reconciliation while retaining ill-gotten gains is an old trick in Liberia; true harmony requires justice and accountability,” Morlu stated.
He said the UP would focus on the facts and evidence to avoid any semblance of witch-hunting.
Morlu: “Weah’s responsibility was to audit the Sirleaf government, just as Boakai is accountable for auditing Weah’s administration. Attempts to involve the Sirleaf government in moral relativism are distracting; Weah had ample time to audit but chose not to, allowing corruption to persist.
“The cycle of corruption must end with the Weah administration. Liberians and international partners demand full accountability, and Boakai is expected to deliver. Weah’s actions may sow disunity and chaos, but the pursuit of recovered stolen funds remains a priority for the people.”
President-elect Boakai, throughout his campaign, promised to tackle corruption head-on. He consistently emphasized that his government would aggressively address corruption while harshly criticizing the Weah administration for its alleged corruption and continuous mismanagement of the country’s resources.
Weah’s administration faced heavy accusations of corruption, particularly concerning the sanctioning of high-ranking officials. Nathaniel McGill, the former Minister of State; Cllr. Sayma Syrennius Cephas, the former Solicitor General; and Bill Twehway, the former Managing Director for the National Port Authority, were all sanctioned for acts of corruption, soliciting bribes, and awarding government contracts to themselves. Additionally, Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, now a key ally to Boakai, faced sanctions for acts of corruption and pay-for-play with the Weah-led government.
Despite numerous calls by the United States Embassy, civil society organizations, and opposition political parties to investigate and prosecute those sanctioned, the Weah administration did not adhere to these requests.