Liberia: Pastor Slams President Weah for Playing Football, Not Working

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Monrovia – A pastor of the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Monrovia has slammed President George Weah for not working hard enough, warning him that his achievements on the football pitch would do him no further favor at the Executive Mansion.

President Weah rose to political prominence on the back of a blissful football career that saw him win the FIFA Player of the Year (now FIFA the Best Award) and the Ballon D’or in 1995. He’s been inducted into FIFA Hall of Fame and is regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever.

The President has not forgotten his roots after a landslide victory in the 2017 presidential elections to become the first ex-footballer to be elected president of a country.  His Weah All Star team—that comprises officials of his government—hosted Ivorian legend Didier Drogba last week. A video of him singing his own name went viral on social media in early July: “You don’t have the Manneh to defeat us. You are wasting your time.”

But Rev. Kenety S. Gee has not been impressed at all.

“Somebody please take the message to our president that football took him to the Executive Mansion but football will not keep him there,” the Associate Pastor of St. Peter’s told a memorial held at the church on Sunday for victims of the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Massacre, which took place 28 years ago. “Playing football does not benefit our country,” he added to a rapturous applause from the audience. “I pray that my president will take time studying and consulting with experts…”

Rev. Gee did not say what his frustration in the President’s leadership is but Liberia is experiencing its highest inflation level (21.40 as of April) in 50 years and hardship is rampant.

He chairs the Joint Committee on Memorialization, a conglomerate of the churches, faith-based groups and 13 civil society organizations seeking to erect a monument to the memory of the approximately 600 people who were killed a compensation for survivors.

Speaking on the theme “Human Capacity”, he said the soldiers who carried out the killings in the church that night chose their evil side over their good side.

“Which side of the human capacity are you going to exercise the most?” He asked rhetorically, adding “Will you be a promoter of love or the spreader of hate?”

Then he likened the corrupt politicians to the soldiers who carried out the killings. He said politicians had the capacity to use the country’s resources for the benefit of all but chose to benefit themselves and their families.

“These people have A.K. 47 in their hands called corruption,” he went on to say, comparing the deaths in the church to deaths in hospitals due to poor healthcare delivery and deaths from accidents as the result of bad roads nationwide.

“Our roads are deathtraps,” he continued. “Why? Because there are some decision-makers who instead of committing our natural resources to the benefit of the population but to themselves…

“If you taking your family to another country to seek healthcare, how can you build and strengthen the healthcare system within your country?” He asked rhetorically.

The prelate, however, called on survivors—including the eight who attended the memorial—to learn how to show love to others through sacrifices and selfless acts. He referenced the case of the President of the Liberian Massacre Survivor (LIMASA), Peterson Sonyah, whose father died shielding him from bullets.

The St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Massacre single-most heinous atrocity of the Liberian civil war (1990-2003). No one has been brought to book over the killings. However, in February a former member of the defunct Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (SATU), Moses Thomas, was dragged to court in a civil lawsuit in Philadelphia, the United States of America.

The California-based human rights group Coalition for Justice and Accountability (CJA) filed the lawsuit on behave on four Liberian victims whose names remained withheld on ground of their protection. Thomas faces payment of damages, not a jail term.

Report by James Harding Giahyue

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