Liberia: Ahead of Proposed Dialogue on Economy, Council Patriots Demands Dismissal of Tweah, Patray
Monrovia – In their response to President George Manneh Weah’s call for a roundtable dialogue with all major stakeholders, the Council of Patriots has said that while they welcome this call, they want the President muster the political will to do certain things, including firing Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah.
Report by Alaskai Moore Johnosn, [email protected]
COP’s reason is that the nation’s current Economic Management Team, headed by Mr. Tweah, has “proven to be inept, corrupt and incapable of offering a solid economic blueprint that will resuscitate our ailing economy and alleviate the hardships faced by our people.”
It is no secret the Liberian economy is in free fall.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tuesday released a grim report of what the economy will look like in the coming months.
“Growth is projected to slow further to about 0.4 percent in 2019 and remain below two percent into the medium-term. In the baseline scenario, the authorities face the possibility of a forced, abrupt adjustment when domestic and external financing options are exhausted,” IMF said in their report.
So, further in the COP’s response, they stated that the mind to fire Tweah does not require a national dialogue but the political will, which according to them “we believe is lacking in this President.”
On Tuesday, June 11, following the presentation of their petition to the office of the President, the Liberian Leader addressed the nation and called on all Liberians, who may have some issues with the way thing are being run in the country at the moment, to sit around the table and dialogue with the government.
“Fellow citizens, let us sit and dialogue on the way forward for economic revival in Liberia. Bring your ideas to the table, and I assure you that they will be given my most careful consideration.”
The President’s request for dialogue came three days after inarguably the largest mass protest action against any previous regimes in the nation’s history.
The Council of Patriots’ organized June 7 protest brought tens of thousands of Liberians onto the streets and paralyzed all economic activities nationwide.
President Weah acknowledged that it was the Constitutional right of these Liberians, who are disenchanted with the way the economy is being handled by him.
He used his speech to remind Liberians that he had told them in 2018 that he inherited a broken economy and that he would have done all to fix it; adding: “While our efforts to fix the economy are sustained and ongoing, we still face challenging times.”
“Fellow citizens, it will take the collective effort of all Liberians to achieve the desired objective of reviving the economy and placing our country on a path of sustainable development and transformation. We will have to come together to devise and support new measures which are necessary to address the structural defects and imbalances in our economy.”
COP members further said in their response that details of the President’s request remain unknown. They added: “However, the Liberian people have won a major milestone by knocking on the doors of a recalcitrant government that has resisted all attempts to dialogue. This is a welcome development as a victory for the Liberian People. The COP will offer a hand to the government if and only if it operates in good faith.”
But to further discredit the President’s call, the Patriots said why the peaceful protesters did everything to honor their side of the discussion, the government didn’t honor her side instead, “It engaged in tactics to undermine the freedom of assembly and freedom of movement on June 7, 2019. It illegally interrupted access to the internet, intimidated and harassed citizens, threatened civil servants and other public sector employees and even ordered that schools and businesses be open. The people disobeyed and this form of civil disobedience exposed the weakness of the government.”
“There are confirmed reports that some individuals are being dismissed and or being threatened at work places in government and some of our colleagues and innocent citizens are still behind bars on trumped-up charges. All attempts to follow the law are being undermined by draconian tactics being deployed by State Prosecutors. We find these developments troubling and reject the hypocrisy associated with the President’s address.”
COP told the President and his officials that Liberians will no longer sit by and watch hopelessly the “reckless self-enrichment and ostentatious display of ill-gotten wealth by the President and the inner circle of his administration. Liberians will no longer sit by and hopelessly perish without any solutions in sight after more than 14 months of this administration.”