Monrovia – Renowned economist and author, Samuel Jackson has thrown his backing behind the 2023 presidential bid of President George Manneh Weah.
President Weah is midway through his six-year tenure which began in January 2018. He and his ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have made it clear that he will be opting for reelection comes 2023.
While a large segment of the population including the opposition bloc has criticized him over his administration’s ‘poor’ handling of the economy, his supporters said he is up to the task and most of the problems were inherited by his government.
In an interview with FrontPage Africa, Mr. Jackson said the solution to Liberia’s problem is not about changing its leadership.
“If you notice all of the major changes we had over the last 40 years, all of the changes have not really benefitted the country,” he said.
“Changing regime is not the answer. The answer is what kind of internal reforms that you can push the government to make. And the only way we can do that is not to have a caustic bellicose political environment, where we are trying to remove a sitting President to have an election that we don’t really know the direction of the candidates.”
Also writing on his Facebook page, Jackson, who believes in the Progressive ideologies that became popular in the 1970s and ‘80s, said his support to Weah has no strings attached.
“My support to his candidacy is etched in stone. I don’t expect anything in return. I support continuity for 2023 not because the Weah Presidency is flawless but because it represents the aspirations of millions of Liberians who yearn for a transition to a younger generation and is a composition of grass roots efforts that I have supported in the past.”
Writing further, Jackson said he cannot support the organized opposition because it is led mostly by relics from past “failed administrations and the old order.”
He promised to ‘constructively’ engage the Weah Administration to help achieve the goal of overcoming the country’s development challenges.
He acknowledged that his decision will anger many of his friends and political associates, but he takes full responsibility of it. He also added that some people within the CDC will be wary of him, but as a trained combatant, ‘he can take the slings and the arrows’.
“I don’t expect many in the CDC to welcome my decision with logic and love. I know many will not trust me. But no worries. I won’t take a job with this administration. Neither do I expect to be invited to Jamaica Resorts to have pow wows with the president.”
“I do this out of my political orientation as a progressive who supports grass roots causes no matter how flawed and challenged.”
Anyone can attack me. I am a big boy. I am a trained combatant. I can take the slings and arrows.”
Mr. Jackson once worked as Minister of State for Economic and Financial Affairs of Government of Liberia during the Charles Taylor regime. Although he currently lives in the United States, he actively partakes in Liberia’s political and social economic debates through his writings speeches.
He is the author of the book, “Rich Land Poor Country. In it, he analyzes reasons for Liberia’s poor state of development, and reviews the measurements used to determine the status of livelihoods in Africa’s oldest republic.
He served as the Chief Economist for the National Economic Dialogue (NED) convened by the government in 2019.
The dialogue, held September 4-6, 2019 proffered four cardinal recommendations to address Liberia’s challenges on immediate and medium terms basis.
They included “strategies to revive and grow the economy such as addressing public finance mobilization and management, investment and private sector growth, unemployment and skills development and the peacebuilding and reconciliation.”
The dialogue specifically called for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC) to try those bearing greater responsibilities of the civil war as recommended by the defunct Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
While critics and pro- WECC campaigners have blamed the Weah government for ignoring the recommendations drawn up at the dialogue, Jackson said the government is moving in the right direction.
He said recent meetings with American officials and multi-lateral partners by a high-power government delegation in the United States clearly point out that the government is on the right trajectory in reviving its sloppy economy.
On the call for the creation of the WECC, he said the ‘unnecessary’ pressure being put on President Weah is wrong, adding now is not the right time for the court. He warned that any decision to set up the court and drag people for prosecution might hamper the fragile peace, he contended that the right time for such advocacy was during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led administration where 17,000 United Nations Peace keepers were on the ground providing security.