Liberia: Pres. Weah Opens Pandora Box, Corridor for Attacks in By-Election Campaign Launch
MONROVIA – President George Weah had it all planned. It was intentional, premeditated as he felt the time was ripe and armored enough to pick bones and open Pandora box. “I came here to make fuss today… In fact, that’s why I came with my own cars and not government cars… I want to speak like George Weah and not President Weah,” he said.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
Saturday’s launch of the political campaign for the Montserrado County by-elections candidates of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was intended to pitch the good intentions his candidates – Paulita CC Wie, senatorial candidate and Abu Kamara, District 15 candidate – have and what they hope to achieve at the Legislature.
However, the President who has shown to be intolerant of harsh criticisms saw the swarm of people as a perfect opportunity for him to take an eye for an eye. So, it was no longer about presenting a platform or manifesto. It was about attacking personalities and making wild allegations.
His assertions, in the view of many, created an avenue for more attacks on him and his government.
Weah: ‘Urey a Killer, Thief”
Mr. Benoni Urey, a former supporter and financier of the ruling CDC, but now the leader of the opposition alliance of four political parties was one of the targets of President Weah rants. His daughter, Telia Urey, is a strong contender against the CDC’s Abu Kamara in District 15.
Weah: Benoni Urey is not associated with victory, the only thing I recall for Urey is that when he wanted to leave from UN sanction list, he came to me and I helped him make his first foreign trip.
“This is a man that has never won anything, he supported his brother I defeated him, get ready tightened your belts, there is no way the Ureys can win election in Montserrado County because they are wicked people. We are cockroaches but they are killers, we are cockroaches, they are thieves,” President Weah said.
Urey: Weah Stoop Low
Speaking to FPA Sunday, Mr. Urey denied the President’s claim that he assisted him to get off the travel ban and lamented his utterances. “It is regrettable that the President of Liberia will stoop to that level. Now the Liberian people can see the gravity of the problems in our country. Today, my heart bleeds for Liberia. “God have mercy on Liberia.”
The businessman/politician said he will not return hate-filled verbal insults on the President but will explore his legal options. “I am viewing all legal options as this is a treat on my family and we don’t take it lightly. I view the President’s utterances as a threat on my family.”
On December 23, 2013, the United Nations Security Council delisted Mr. Benoni Urey from both its travel and assets freeze ban, declaring that he no longer posed a threat to Liberia’s security due to the vested interest he has in the country.
Weah: ‘Dillon, A School Dropout’
The President chose to also go into the closet of opposition alliance’s senatorial candidate, Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon of the Liberty Party. The President pushed that Dillon who once criticized him of being uneducated and incapable of leading should also be given similar fate, calling him a high school dropout.
He alleged that Dillon, while working at the Capitol in the office of Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor when she was Bong County Senator, stole documents from Representative Edwin Snowe.
He presented Dillon as an ungrateful man whom he sheltered when former Presider Charles Taylor was seeking to kill him.
“Tell Dillon to go back to school, let justice be done to all men; what was not allowed for me should not be allowed for Dillon.”
Dillon: ‘Weah a kid that needs to mature’
In his response to President Weah live on Facebook Saturday evening, Mr. Dillon said Weah’s comments were unrepresentative of a leader of a country.
“The only thing I can say is that President Weah is a big kid that needs to grow. At the age of 53, he still thinks and behaves like a kid,” he said.
He said by attacking him, the President has opened a can of worms on himself.
He boasted of his own achievements when he served as staff at the Capitol and challenged the President to lay his achievements when he served as Senator parallel to his (Dillon’s).
“My public service record, you cannot match it,” Dillon said.
“Match your record as a Senator taking home almost US$15,000 every month compared to my record as a staff taking home less than US$500 every month and see that I did, drafting bills to submit them through my boss, a senator, and passed into law as a staff. What did you do as a Senator?” Dillon quipped.
Dillon admitted to passing a night at Pres. Weah’s house during the war when he was fleeing from Monrovia to Harbel, but said the President failed to complete the story by letting his supporters know that he, Dillon, invited him to his house after the war, cooked for him, served him liquor as a sign of gratitude.
In his reaction to Pres. Weah’s description of him as a school dropout, Dillon challenged Pres. Weah to sit with him on Broad Street in Monrovia side-by-side on student desk, where they will both write an application letter for the public to read.
Dillon believes Pres. Weah attacked his personality because he is afraid that he (Dillon) would be a formidable voice of truth in the Senate.
Weah Known for Intolerance
Mr. Weah has often found it difficult hiding his disgust for criticisms. When the failed ETON and EBOMAF loan agreements were being criticized by journalists and some members of the opposition bloc, he referred to them as ‘enemies of the state’ who do not want to see his government succeed and the country develop.
Similarly, at the beginning of June, the President, despite signing the Kamara Abdullah Kamara bill on free speech into law, openly threated to take issue against any citizen that would insult him as President.
“Those that constantly insult the President, I want to be clear; after this, there will be no citizen in this country, I can defy you that will ever insult the President and think you will walk on the streets freely.”