Liberia: Senators Reportedly Call for Inclusion of Competent Individuals, Experts in Weah-led Government


Monrovia- A well-placed source within the Senate has informed FrontPageAfrica that top on the agenda of President George Weah’s meeting with the Senate on Tuesday was the need for him to conduct a major reshuffle in his government.

This suggestion, according to the source, was preferred by majority of the Senators who attended the meeting with the President. They reportedly called for the inclusion of more qualified individuals to assist the government with their expertise in overcoming the current challenges the country is faced with. This, they suggest, should not be limited by political affiliation.

In the post-meeting press conference addressed by the Senate Pro-Tempore, Albert Chie, told journalists that the discussions were centered around justice and security, economy, the status of the L$16 billion report and the US$25 million intended to mop up excess liquidity.

He did not mention the Senate’s reported suggestion for reshuffle in the government.

The Pro-Tempore, however, told legislative reporters that the withdrawal of the tenured bill, performance of current government officials, a government of inclusion, UN letter regarding the management of funds, proposal for a national reconciliation conference and the issue of information dissemination from the government to the people were cardinal on the agenda.

“The president committed himself to the resolution of issues raised in the interest of the People of Liberia of which he is the head,” the Pro-Temp said.

Not Interested in June 7

Speaking to reporters in an interview, President Weah ruled out a meeting with organizers of the June 7 Protest dubbed, ‘Save the State’ but he maintained that he is open to dialogue on the protest.

“I’m not moved by what’s happening but I think the protest people have their right to protest. I think it is important for us to dialogue. We know what brought April 14, 1979 which is still on the minds of a lot of people and we are doing our best to make sure that does not happen again. Liberians should strive to promote peace and stability and this is what we are doing.”

Cordial Meeting

The President described Tuesday’s meeting with Senators as cordial. “We discussed national issues and some of the concerns to keep the country safe and peaceful including the protest, the concerns of citizens.”

The tete-a-tete with Senators follows a recent concern expressed by former President Pro Tempore of the 53rd Legislature, Cletus Segbe Wotorson. Mr. Wotorson, who visited the floor of the Senate last week, urged Senators to help tone down heightening tension in the country amid lingering political storms.

The former Pro Temp decried what he described as confusion and negative media reports about what is unfolding in Liberia today. “I want to look at my elders, whether by age or position, to see what they can do to tone down to calm the storm. In situations like this, what the whole Senate could possibly do is to ask a meeting with the Executive, and remind of the problem currently facing the country. In my opinion, I think it is the moral responsibility of the Senate to seek that audience,” Wortorson said.

Mr. Wotorson then suggested a closed-door discussion among themselves as plenary to have a unified approach for what would be talked about so that the discussions can be substantive.

“You can stand with the Senate leadership to take responsibility to make sure that the meeting takes place, because we are in a situation and we cannot go back to the days of old. So my dear colleagues, I look up to you for a responsible approach and don’t let us shift or transfer our responsibility to the Council of Churches; it is your national responsibility to calm the state, and I think you can gladly embrace that. A suggestion from an old man, who sat here before,” Sen. Wortorson said.

Tuesday’s meeting between President Weah and Senators also comes as the Liberia Council of Churches have expressed a willingness to help mediate in the ongoing impasse as organizers of the June 7 Save the State Protest zero in on the big showdown.

In a communication to the organizers late last week, the LCC suggested that a “frank and focus dialogue” be held on Friday, May 10, 2019, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between President Weah and protesters.

“The council of churches working in collaboration with the interreligious council of Liberia and other Ecumenical Partners seeks you, the Council of Patriots and the government of Liberia’s endorsement to facilitate an open meeting to enable both parties to engage and seriously consider addressing the political, economic and social challenges that are the subject at these actions, which ordinary Liberians who are also our parishioners are also genuinely concerned about,” the letter adds. 

The LCC adds that it is open for discussion on the “terms” of the planner of the protest “on how we can address the political, economic and social challenge facing the nation”.

The letter adds that the LCC’s intervention is based on frequent comments in the media by representatives of both the planners of the protest and government.

In a response to the LCC, a communication from the Council of Patriots (COP) signed by one of the organizers Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon, while acknowledging receipt of the LCC’s communication requesting a dialogue with the government on Friday, said it would prefer such a meeting to take place on June 7, the day of the protest. “We appreciate your effort to mediate a dialogue with the Government of Liberia. However, the June 7 Peaceful Assembly is a great way to dialogue because the people will be present to discuss their petition with their government. Accordingly, the COP wishes to encourage the Liberian Council of Churches to join us on June 7 to present our petition to the Government for appropriate redress.”