Liberia: President Weah Takes 24-Man Delegation to Inaugural Ceremony of Senegal President Macky Sall

Senegalese president Macky Sall (R) shakes hands with his Liberian counterpart George Weah during their meeting at the presidential palace in Dakar on February 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

MONROVIA – President George Manneh Weah would be taking a 24-man delegation on a seven-day visit to Senegal to witness the inaugural ceremony of President Macky Sall, one of his closest friends.

Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]

What is not clear is why the President and his delegation would be spending seven days in Senegal when the ceremony is expected to last for just a day.

This would be President Weah’s fourth visit to Senegal since he became President in 2018.

The number of persons on the delegation is raising eyebrows especially so, when the country is going through financial stress and the International Monetary Fund has called for a more efficient fiscal policy.

An International Monetary Fund Mission to Liberia in early this month observed that productive spending is being crowded out by a wage bill, including discretionary allowances, that totals about two-thirds of government-funded expenditure. 

“This is not a new issue—it has been a characteristic of the Liberian economy for a number of years. However, as grants and other external assistance decline, this is no longer a tenable situation. Freeing up resources in an equitable manner for pro-poor development will likely require effective actions to reduce the share of government resources devoted to this budget item.”

The advanced team comprises 10 persons which include the deputy chief of protocol, two press secretaries, two protocol officers, three EPS agents, the ESP Director and one AD Camp.

Antoinette Wolo, Deputy Chief of Protocol; Trokon Roberts, Director, EPS; Shadrack A. Yankey, Protocol Officer; Henrietta T. King, Protocol Officer; Isaac S. Kelgbeh, Press Secretary to the President; Smith Tobey, Deputy Press Secretary to the President; Gen. Kette Flomo, Junior AD Camp to the President; Nelly S. Saye, EPS Agent; Morris Kollie, EPS Agent and Jerry Lekpeyee, EPS Agent.

Also traveling with the President are: Rep. Edwin Snowe, Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Findley, Trokon T. Kpui, Minister of State without Portfolio; Ousman Bamba, Religious Advisor to the President; Emmanuel L. Shaw, Economic Advisor the President; Bill Twehway, Managing Director, National Port Authority; Finda Bundoo, Chief of Protocol; S/Agt. Yancy D. Weah, Special Agent; Gen. Prince Toe, AD Camp to the President; Prince Jomande, AD Camp to the President; Capt. Moses K. Weefur, Presidential Pilot; Capt. Grupee Sehiboa, AFL and Lt. Zaza Joy, AFL.

Opposition’s Reaction

The size of the delegation is leading the former ruling Unity Party to believe that the Weah-led administration is not being truthful about the state of the economy.

Speaking with FrontPageAfrica, the Assistant Secretary General of the Unity Party, Mo Ali asked, “Why that size of the delegation when the government is consistently complaining that there’s no money, the economy is broke?

He said it does not make economic sense for such delegation to travel only for an inaugural program when in essence only the President and the Foreign Minister are needed for such a ceremony.

Mr. Ali also wondered about the essence of a pair of presidential press secretaries, three AD Camp to the President and even a pilot on the team.

Ali: “How can a government that is consistently crying of being broke continue to pillage the people’s money like that? Civil servants are not taking pay, some of them are crying; since February, they have not taken pay. So, why carrying 24 persons? Is it a way of paying people for loyalty or what? For the Unity Party, we think it is a total waste and it shows that the government is consistently lying to the people when they say they don’t have money.”

For his part, vice president for operations of the opposition Liberty Party who also commented when contacted by FrontPageAfrica said, he finds I irrational that President Weah and his delegation would be spending sevens when the inaugurated President will have to go to work the day after his inauguration.  So, what would our President and his delegation be doing there?” he asked.