29 December 2015

Liberia: Senator Weah Responds to Claims of Silence At Legislature

Photo: allAfrica.com
George Weah

The political leader of the Congress for democratic Change (CDC) George Weah who failed in his quest for the Presidency and the vice presidency during the last two general and Presidential elections in Liberia but was successful during the 2014 special Senatorial election as he was overwhelmingly elected Senator of Montserrado County say,s he is not quiet at the Senate and does not want to be boisterous.

Weah first contested the presidency in 2005 where he won the first round of polling but could not get the required 50% plus one vote as required by the electoral law of Liberia for upright victory and settled for a runoff with eventual winner Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the runoff where he and the CDC were defeated. Education played a major role in Weah's defeat after he admitted publicly that he was not a high school graduate at the time. Immediately following the 2005 election Weah took on an ambitious journey to acquire formal classroom education when he pursed both bachelor and master degrees from Universities in the United States of America.

Weah supporters expressed that their candidate was ready for the 2011 general and Presidential election after obtaining two degrees but the popular former soccer legend contested as vice Presidential candidate to Cllr. Winston Tubman. The second attempt failed when Weah and the CDC were defeated in the first round of polling by the incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the ruling Unity Party. The CDC boycotted the runoff as Sirleaf was declared winner.

Despite his education, Weah critics still believe he is not mature to take a high profile political seat but during the 2014 special Senatorial election, Weah was voted overwhelmingly by the people of the most populous County- Montserrado to the Liberian Senate winning 78% of votes as compared to 11% by his nearest rival. Since his election to the Senate Weah has been a subject of criticisms with his critics saying he is a 'quiet' Senator who does not speak on major issues at the Senate.

Before his election to the Senate, Weah and the CDC were very critical of the Sirleaf-led government speaking on major events in the country but Weah who is inching to one year at the Senate has been dubbed a quiet lawmaker but making report to the people of Montserrado County Monday Weah told his critics that he is not quiet but only speaks on important issues saying he is not boisterous. In the wake of numerous criticisms about perpetual silence in the plenary of the Liberian Senate during deliberations Senator Weah has responded by saying he went to the Senate to be successful and not boisterous.

"It is easy to criticize but I am in no dialogue with people, when I am in session I observe things I need to talk about and things I don't need to talk about because what I want to do is to be successful in the Senate and not to show off because my responsibility to my people is to serve them and not to be boisterous," the Montserrado County Senator stated. Making his constituency report to the People of Montserrado County in Clara Town Weah said he has silent negotiation skills which is helping him to succeed at some levels.

According to him he has made positive impacts in the local leadership of Montserrado which has resulted into availability of money owe electoral districts in Montserrado County by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to be used for developmental projects and the procurement of vehicles for the Project Management chairman which is the first in the history of the County.

Senator Weah said: "All of my detractors are saying we are not talking it is not true, we are talking on your behalf but in the Senate we have 30 Senators and I am working with other Senators to have a cohesive Senate that is why I am a member of the strongest bloc, bloc 17 and with that bloc we can achieve a lot."

Legislative working

Speaking on his legislative working, Senator Weah said during the last sitting, 12 bills were passed by the Senate, 10 in committee room with 11 on hold. He also told the gathering that he used his voting right given him by the people of Montserrado County to vote in favor of key bills including the Millennium Challenge Compact that will give Liberia over two hundred million United States dollars for development.

Senator Weah who chairs the Senate Committee on Youth and Sports said, he advocated for increment in the budgetary allotment to the Ministry of Youth and Sports but did not succeed. He also told the gathering that he expressed disappointment over the passage of the budget through a communication to Senate Pro-tempore Armah Jallah and voted in favor of a decision to rescue the National Oil Company (NOCAL) from its financial crisis.

"We had to rescue NOCAL because NOCAL is for us. We have Liberians on foreign scholarships supported by NOCAL, and if we are to succeed in our quest to improve our manpower development we must keep our students on scholarships and to keep them on scholarships we must rescue NOCAL that was our reason for voting in favor of a decision to rescue NOCAL," Weah said.

Party to decide 2017 feat

On what should Liberians expect from him come 2017 whether he will relinquish his Senatorial post to contest for the Presidency, Weah said, he is still awaiting the decision of his party and at the appropriate time it will be clear whether or not he will be standard bearer. There has been debates about Senator Weah contesting the 2017 Presidential election as standard bearer or a vice Presidential running mate in a possible coalition. Both the CDC and the Liberty Party have confirmed reports of ongoing discussions to form a possible coalition but the question heads such collaboration remains unanswered.

The CDC has said its standard bearer; Weah will not contest as second to any candidate claiming that they are the most popular candidate and cannot give the highest seat to another political party. The youth League of the CDC recently expressed satisfaction over what it disclosed as the naming of a special committee to spearhead collaboration talk between the CDC and the Liberty party.

"The National Youth League of the Mighty Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) will like to use this medium to extend profound thanks and appreciation to its Political Leader, Senator Ambassador George M. Weah and the National Executive Committee of the Party for indicating its preparedness to engage the Liberty Party in possible coalition talks", a statement from the CDC youth league stated.

According to the Youth league, the naming of a committee on the side of the CDC, headed by Party Stalwart, Samuel D. Tweah, the Political Leader has yet again demonstrated that the CDC is preparing for National Leadership and is ready to build the coalition needed to deliver the much needed change. "While the naming of a committee is not an end in itself, it is a necessary beginning to consummating an even more powerful governing arrangement that is prepared to take State power in 2017 and increase the economic and democratic lot of a suffering people in quest for strong and people centered leadership", the CDC youth League disclosed.

The Liberty party on the other hand welcomed the CDC Youth League statement but some officials of the LP have persistently disagreed with officials of the CDC statement that their political leader (Weah) cannot contest second to any other candidate. Similar talk of collaboration between the Liberty party and the CDC failed ahead of the 2011 election but Liberty Party political leader Charles Brumskine recently admitted that the process was mishandled before 2011 which he said he hopes is not repeated.

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