Liberia: President Weah Seeks Unification Day Dialogue with June 7 – Save the State Protesters

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FrontPageAfrica has not been privy to the communication but sources from both camps confirmed to FPA Friday that the President had indeed requested the meeting aptly selecting Tuesday which is being celebrated as Unification Day, a national holiday in Liberia.

Monrovia – Eyeing a Unification Day Peace Pipe, President George Manneh Weah has officially requested an audience with organizers of the June 7, Save the State Protest, FrontPageAfrica has learned.


Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]


Multiple sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica late Friday that the President through the office of his Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill sent a communication to the Council of Patriots requesting a meeting on Tuesday, May 14 with the President, Speaker Bophal Chambers and President Pro Temp of the Senate Albert Chie.

FrontPageAfrica has not been privy to the communication but sources from both camps confirmed to FPA Friday that the President had indeed requested the meeting aptly selecting Tuesday which is being celebrated as Unification Day, a national holiday in Liberia.

Details of the proposed meeting is still a bit sketchy with some members of the Council of Patriots telling FPA Friday that no decision has been reached on whether to meet with the President until the body meets as a group to discuss it. A meeting is reportedly scheduled for Saturday amongst members of the council to discuss the president’s communication.
The day is in consonance with an Act of National Legislature, which was passed into law in 1960, declaring the 14thof May each year as “National Unification Day” to be celebrated as a National Holiday in Liberia.

Historical Significance of Unification Day

Sometimes referred to as “Integration Day”, the holiday aims to improve relations between the descendants of freed American slaves who colonized Liberia and the original native population.

In 1822, Liberia became a US colonial possession in Africa, obtained for the purpose of allowing liberated black slaves to return, if they wished, to the continent of their ancestors. As soon as 1847, Liberia became an independent nation. The “Americo-Liberians”, however, became an elite ruling class that practiced segregation against the “native Liberians”.

Late Liberian president William Tubman ended the segregation and granted the vote to all Liberians in 1944. This was a policy aimed at bringing national unity and integration. National Unification Day was declared a public holiday in Liberia in 1960 to honor the historic change brought about by President Tubman.

Despite the progress that has been made, there were back to back civil wars in Liberia in the 1990’s and early 2000’s related to the ethnic and historic divide. But National Unification Day at least provides an opportunity to stress the need for the nation to unite further and to celebrate the progress that has already been achieved.

This year’s observance of the day is particularly important in the wake of the polarizing tone and division that has emanated over the controversial Country vs. Congau divide.

President Weah was forced to suspend his Deputy Minister for Press and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information this week over the issue, declaring that his Government remains committed to a “one country, one people” policy with zero tolerance on divisive politicking or tribalism. “The Liberian Leader has sent out warning to government officials and all citizens to stop dividing Liberians along ethnic lines.”

Mr. Fahngon in a Facebook rant had labeled organizers of the protests as Congau and threatened to stage an assembly of his own dubbed, the Country People Assembly.


With so many Liberians anticipating the June 7 protest, political observers are keen to see how much of a breakthrough President Weah would be able to accomplish. Organizers have been adamant about the widespread corruption with some calling for major shake-up within the President’s Economic Management Team.

But Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe dismissed the idea this week, telling the VOA Daybreak Africa that the position of the government is very clear. “The government is not authorizing any counter protest on June 7 or June 8 or any of the days there about. Additionally, the leadership of the Coalition for Democratic Change already issued a statement that there will be no counter protest. So, we are not aware of the social media back-and-forth – and we as a government cannot be responding to people’s social media posts. His (Fahngon’s) position on social media cannot be interpreted as a position statement of the government.”

The Proclamation order declaring Unification day directs that appropriate programs be organized to mark the celebration.

An Executive Mansion release stressed that the wisdom of the Unification Policy has found expression in the national fabric through the representation of all sections of the country including the Legislature and other branches of government thereby promoting conditions of peace and unity in the country.

The Proclamation also indicated that since the Unification and Integration Policy became a cogent part of the National Development Plan, the people of Liberia have seen marked progress and improvement in all spheres of national endeavors, particularly in the economic, educational, communication and social fields.

The release further recounted that being mindful of the years of civil strife in the country and its harmful impacts on the people of Liberia; it becomes imperative that all Liberians embrace the noble ideals enshrined in the Unification Act to promote unity and peace among all Liberians.

The Proclamation also reiterated that Liberia’s adherence to the principles of justice, equality, fair play and equal opportunities for all, regardless of tribe or clan, section, creed, religion or economic status so that Liberians might be united in a consolidated whole.

Weah Eyeing Breakthrough with Planners

With so many Liberians anticipating the June 7 protest, political observers are keen to see how much of a breakthrough President Weah would be able to accomplish. Organizers have been adamant about the widespread corruption with some calling for major shake-up within the President’s Economic Management Team.

Two letters leaked this week have also triggered anger amongst Liberians. The first a letter signed by nine Ambassadors – United States, Sweden, France, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Japan, and European Union – accredited to the Liberian capitol raising concerns about the misapplication of donor money and another from the World Bank demanding Finance and Economic Planning Minister Samuel Tweah to return some $3.2 million United States dollars from Ebola funding.

The government is yet to respond to the latter but Minister Nagbe told the weekly MICAT Press briefing Thursday that the letter signed by the nine ambassadors was authentic. “We have just received a letter, an informal information note, signed by nine of our partners where they raise[d] issues – historical issues – where the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, moved monies from accounts under the supervision of the government to our Consolidated Account to handle Government’s expenditures. We have been having age-old debate, na today oh the only thing the letter dem ain’t leak before but now this new government’s letters can leak, and I challenge any of the partner to say that they never raise[d] this issue before. It’s an accounting administrative issue.”

Justifying the action of the Liberian government, he narrated that every December the government pays double for the outgoing and incoming years; adding: “So our wage bill, which is very high we have to pay and once there is cash flow issue.”

“There have been no criminal activities as a result of that movement of funds from one group of accounts to another all documented properly,” he further justified.

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT

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