9 January 2013

Liberia: Too Soon, Let's Give George Weah a Chance

Photo: allAfrica
Opposition leader George Weah and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Vision 2030 conference


The President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, following a number of consultations, late last year appointed the Political Leader of the Congress of Democratic Change, CDC and Soccer legend George Manneh Weah as Liberia's Peace Ambassador with the general mandate of spearheading a process of national reconciliation in the Country.

Even though many Liberians wholeheartedly welcomed Ambassador Weah's appointment by President Sirleaf, others, especially elements within his CDC greeted his acceptance with misfiling and condemnation. Though Weah continues to persevere without despairing for his new role to reconcile the country, criticisms for varying reasons continue to characterize his new portfolio. His reported selection of an Eleven-man Secretariat to buttress his efforts may not have gone down well with a few individuals in the Liberian society, including Representative Sekou Kanneh of District Number Two of Montserrado County.

Representative Kanneh recently expressed dismay at the decision of the new Peace Ambassador to name an Eleven-man Team without a representation of the Muslim Religion, terming such as the "beginning of failure" toward his efforts to reconcile the country. According to Kanneh, also a Muslim, the exclusion of such a sector of the religious community in such a National Endeavor to heal the wounds of the nation was a disservice to the purpose for which he was preferred by the Liberian Leader.

While Representative Kanneh may have a genuine cause to raise such concern, he may have also "chosen the wrong time and place to go to battle" with Ambassador Weah owing to the fact that a denial had already been issued through his Party's Secretary General on the selection of members of his team. We are of the strongest conviction that had the Representative done the most honorable thing of engaging Mr. George Weah is matter, he would not have even though of such undue publicity.

Moreover, the advocacy by the Montserrado County District Number Two Representative as a leader could also be a disservice (if we could borrow from his claim) to the process of national reconciliation by only emphasizing the exclusion of a single religious group and not others, including the Hahai. Judging Ambassador Weah in the manner and form it is currently being done without giving him the opportunity to properly plan and organize is an injustice not only to the Peace Ambassador, but the entire process.

It would require the efforts of all Liberians and not only Mr. Weah for national reconciliation and peace to be restored to our country and such positive efforts must be reflected in our minds and attitudes toward each other and our nation. Reconciliation and unity continue to elude us as a people because of our inability as Liberians to know who we are, as well as factors responsible for the division among us all and to determine how to reconstruct our lives for our overall growth and development.

Now that Ambassador Weah has be given the opportunity by President Sirleaf to lead the process of national renewal and progress, we must show respect and exercise the highest degree of patience not Weah as a person, but the process, brushing aside the political rivalries, envies and person hatred. We must remember that wishful beliefs about the national task assigned Mr. Weah is only tantamount to undermining the entire reconciliation and transformation efforts which could also continue to threaten our country's unity, growth and development.

Our failure to utilize the current opportunity as assigned Ambassador Weah by the President from an objective perspective will further the future of the nation into an unending and deployable socio-political and economic environment against our children and children's children. Whether acceptance and exclusion, let's refrain from the un-necessary criticism and castigation of George Weah at this initial stage of executing his mandate and do to him the justice required of us for our success in the process of reconciling the country.

It's too soon; let's give Weah the chance.

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