Liberia: Weah Craves Gov’t-Media Collaboration
MONROVIA – President George Weah has described the media as “the most important people in society” and has called on them to work collaboratively with his government.
Report by Henry Karmo [email protected]
He made the pronouncement over the recently when his political party, Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), celebrated its one year in power and achievements at their party’s headquarters in Congotown.
President Weah’s call for government-media collaboration comes following strain relations and threats from senior government officials against some influential personalities in the media.
These officials, including Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, without providing any shred of concrete evidence, accused these esteemed journalists of publishing “hate messages” and “blackmailing the government.”
Appearing on a Christmas Day talkshow of Fabric FM along with Mr. Rodney Sieh, publisher of the FrontPageAfrica newspaper and veteran journalist Frank Sainworla, the government’s official spokesman, Information Minister Lenn Eugene termed as “useless” the entire Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and further accused some members of the media of not doing due diligence to news stories carried on their various platforms about the government.
Nagbe, too, a professional journalist, membership with the PUL was immediately suspended by the leadership for his “rowdy comments.” However, on Friday, January 4, the PUL issued a press release in which it announced that Nagbe’s suspension has been lifted after he had apologized to the Union.
Before Nagbe’s outburst against the PUL, Finance Minister Tweah had openly promised to weaponize his base (CDC) against the media for preaching falsehood against the government.
But speaking at their one-year-in-power celebration, President Weah practically begged the media to pardon his Finance Minister, whom he described “an honest man.”
“I want my friends in the media to understand that some people speak with passion. Tweah is an honest man, who has worked and understands the system of government. Tweah is the man, who pays the money for all the projects so when he speaks he knows what he is talking about, I am proud of you, Mr. Tweah.
Speaking on his administration’s achievement since ascending to the nation’s highest office on January 22, 2018, the President boasted that no government had done in 10 years more due diligence than what his government did in just 12 months.
According to him, he has proven just what he is capable of doing and will do what he can for the Liberian People.
“I don’t have 50 years to pave feeder roads, I have six years. I am here for six year and during these six years, I must perform,” he told his partisans and other supporters.
Weah used the occasion to call on CDC partisans to remain peaceful and if they should have any problems, they should channel their grievances through their party’s leaders.
Achievements and prospects
Also making the case for their administration’s achievements, Finance Minister Tweah said though Liberia’s revenue package is lower than it was six years ago,President Weah’s government has been able to achieve a lot and would have done more if the revenue was compared to what the last regime received six years ago.
He named the pavement, for the first time in Liberia’s history, of some feeder roads and announced that financial structures of all highways have been concluded between Liberia and its partners; adding that major boost to such achievement is the road fund.
Tweah also announced that since President Weah took the mantle of authority, he has activated what he called the “dormant road fund” and disclosed that the fund currently has US$5 million and this, according to him, has given partners commitment to invest in road projects.
“At the end of six years people will be able to drive from Monrovia to the Southeast [on paved road]. This government has deposited US$11 million for health workers and increased the salaries of doctors in Liberia. This government has, through a local bank, provided US$3 million as loan for small Liberian businesses and save md US$4 million from cleaning ghost names at the Ministry of Education. This country is for the first time in serious hands.”