23 April 2019

Liberia: Defying Odds, Pres. Weah, Rep. Kolubah Meet

... calm public fears of outbreak of violence

Despite an earlier pronouncement by Minister of State for Presidential Affairs that Montserrado County District #10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah would never have audience with President George Weah, the two men, in an apparent attempt to defuse heightened tension and allay public fears of a repeat of April 6, 1996, met on Monday, April 22, along with a group of legislators at Weah's residence in Paynesville.

The meeting which was held in a spirit of mutual respect was intended to reassure the public of government's commitment to peace, security and the rule of law. It was also intended to bridge the division between Representative Kolubah and President Weah which had developed since Representative Kolubah began publicly criticizing and attacking his policies.

During their engagement President Weah inquired from Rep. Kolubah if he (President Weah) had done anything personal to him that provoked him into throwing what he described as insults against him but, the Representative replied in the negative.

The meeting was attended by the ministers of State Nathaniel McGill, Information Lenn Eugene Nagbe, National Security Advisor Jefferson Kanmoh, and Deputy Press Secretary Smith Toby. The entire leadership of the ILC arranged the meeting and accompanied Rep. Kolubah.

Although the city was abuzz with rumors of apologies tendered to President Weah during the meeting, Rep. Kolubah, however told reporters that he did not apologize to the President, but admitted that the meeting was cordial and that he and the President had no prior personal disagreement.

He said his anger was about what he called the mischievous management of the House of Representatives by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, who he referred to as the President's "remote control." He asked the President to schedule another meeting after the burial of their mutual friend, the late Representative Adolf A. Lawrence, "so I can give you details"; the President agreed.

The President said he was happy to learn that he had not offended the lawmaker at any time. He called on lawmakers not to engage in transferring their aggressions to innocent people other than those who offend them. The meeting between the pair is the first and comes as preface to a planned June 7 protest aimed at pressurizing President Weah to clamp down on widespread corruption in his administration.

The development comes as Ambassador, Babatunde Ajisomo, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and other partners, have been engaging the government, as well as the opposition to promote dialogue aimed at easing brewing political tension.

"We are telling government to open the political space, because we had a meeting with President George Weah on Monday, April 15, 2019, and we met with all the collaborating political parties on the need for peaceful dialogue.

What Liberia needs now is dialogue. That is, all hands should be on deck," Amb. Ajisomo told the Liberia News Agency recently. Amb. Ajisomo is meanwhile urging citizens to protect the key elements that bind them, including the rule of law, democracy, and respect of other people's opinions. He also urged citizens to engage in "constructive criticism" of the government with a view to preserve the country's peace and stability, "even amid political and economic issues."

In a related development Representative Kolubah, who spoke to reporters at his district headquarters following the meeting with Justice Minister Musa Dean said, although his communication was denied by Speaker Bhofal Chambers, he will do everything to ensure it is placed on the House's floor upon that body's return from its Easter break.

However, it can be recalled that Representative Kolubah has in the past accused President Weah of violating the laws of the country and urged that he should be impeached as in the case of Former Associate Justice Kabineh Ja'neh.

Meanwhile the District#10 Lawmaker, following the meeting with President Weah, has also promised to refrain from making comments that could undermine the country's peace.

Rep. Kolubah however promised to remain critical of the CDC led government.

Additionally, he said his meeting at the Ministry of Justice on Monday went better than expected, but said the discussions were centered more on peace than charges and arrest.

Kolubah reiterated that he is not a violent man, but is interested in the maintenance of peace and stability in the country. It can be recalled that the lawmaker was summoned by Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean last week to appear at the Justice Ministry to clarify a recent statement attributed to the lawmaker regarding the "removal of the President."

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