‘President Weah is well on track’

Liberian President George Weah

Rural life is enjoyable most especially from tiny Kelgbeh Village. With not much human and mechanical traffic, I can ably peruse Liberia’s 24th President, George Manneh Weah inaugural speech; I. Solo Kelgbeh writes. 

His speech is arguably one of the best ever delivered since 1847. It didn’t however outclassed promises, hopes and expectations raised by previous presidents.

Declaring corruption as public enemy number one, knowing what it means to be a teacher, promoting and making Liberia self-reliance just to name a few, a notable and noticeable of President Weah’s speech was the saying, “I can’t do it alone”. Indeed no one man can do it alone save for Liberia.

My interest, which gels with Kelgbeh Village’s, is solely in “my greatest contribution to this country as president may not lie in the eloquence of my speeches but will definitely lie in the quality of the decisions that I will make over the next six years to advance the lives of poor Liberians”.

I stand to be reproved that we have had no eloquent president but librettos.

Liberia’s challenges in the past have been down to the quality and kind of decisions made by our leaders. Reasons for their decisions are sometimes tiny for the microscope to pick up. 

Quality decisions on fight against corruption, improved health and education sectors, road constructions, human development and others are important.

However, Liberia’s foreign policies and friends have defined us, Liberians since 1847. Of the 24 presidents in the country’s history, 12 were born in the United States and 12 in Liberia (one to Sierra Leonean parents). Liberia experienced years of civil unrest yet not a single Liberian is rich enough to buy arms and ammunitions for a day.

The late President Tolbert crisis started in the name of increment in rice price (famous rice riot) if not turning from our traditional friend. The erection of an unknown soldier’s statute still unexplained following the fallout of the late Samuel K. Doe for turning away from the west.

Later, former President Charles Ghankay Taylor escaped from one of the most secured prisons in the United States of America to launch a rebellion. Years later, refugees residing in neighboring countries got arms and ammunitions in the name of coming home just after the refusal of Mr. Taylor to award Western-based companies 80% of undiscovered oil in Liberia. On the other hand, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was handsomely rewarded with unbelievable debt waiver for handing over Mr. Taylor to The Hague.

Under her administration Liberia was once more “restored among the comity of nations”. Liberia carnages had been the consequences of choices made on the international front.

President Weah is well on track judging by the inaugural speech. Acknowledging the support of Liberia’s traditionally allies, neighbors and other developmental partners. His pledge and willingness to continue working with them is also commendable. But and I say but, is it enough? I may personally say resounding no. However, the President’s decisions matter on this. His government and the people of Mama Liberia need friends and allies who are ready to help meet their high expectations. Liberia needs friends and allies who can propel the lives of its people.

Enough is enough of having friends who only sought to drain our resources and turned their backs when needed most. It is no longer a hope but time for our true and only international partners will unconditionally assist the transformation of the lives of the people of Liberia and Liberia for the better. We need everyone onboard the development platform. Our friends will define our agenda.

I. Solo Kelgbeh is former sports editor of the Inquirer newspaper and former public information officer of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.