9 May 2019

Liberia: U.S. Challenges Weah to Tackle Graft, Social Vices

United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, has made it clear to the Liberian Government under the watch of President George Weah that, unlike years before the inception of this administration when the strength of the country's institutions could enable it overcome confronting situations such as Ebola, there is no question today that Liberia faces more challenges.

In her message commemorating the 243rd Independence Anniversary of the United States, celebrated on May 8 ahead of the official July 4 date, Ambassador Elder said Liberians have demonstrated their resilience, courage and dedication in the fight against the Ebola epidemic and commitment to the election process that led President Weah to power fairly and peacefully.

However, Ambassador Elder told President Weah that Liberians, having built their trust in him by overwhelmingly voting him in the 2017 election, are looking forward to receiving better services that will enhance inclusion in the building of Liberia's democracy.

On this note, the Ambassador emphasized that having overcome some of its complex challenges, the country through the Weah Administration must seize this day to achieve long-term political stability.

"The time is now to revise corruption and its corrosive and contagious effects; the time is now to strengthen an economy that provides opportunities in more sectors and where open and transparent competition rules the day, the time is now to give women and girls a life free of abuse and an equal chance to apply their talents and bring solutions to their community's and nation's challenges; the time is now to offer ideas on how to improve Liberia's economic situation, not solely criticize or exacerbate the problems," Ambassador Elder emphasized.

She also urged the Liberian Government to remain loyal to recommendations by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) so that Liberia can lay the ground work for future economic productivity and prosperity.

She acknowledged that Liberia continues to strengthen the economic, judicial, and political institutions essential for a brighter future, the determination and perseverance summoned to end war, defeat Ebola, and bring about peaceful transition of power, which are now the foundation of the nation.

She added that as Liberia charts its journey to self-reliance, it is also imperative to recognize the extraordinary importance of civil society in helping the country to achieve a lasting peace.

President Weah giving remarks at 243rd U.S. Independence Celebration in Monrovia

Although others have continued to lambast the media for not dancing to the tone of their tasteful music, Ambassador Elder acknowledged the media, Non-governmental organizations and dedicated faith based groups for "Central role" they have played in promoting accountability, supporting conflict resolution, and fostering Liberia's democracy.

She further noted that the US could not ask for a better friend in Africa, nor one with whom our history is more closely tied, assuring that in good or difficult times, they will stand proudly in partnership with the government and people of Liberia.

Providing a reason for the early celebration of Independence, Ambassador Elder clarified that most of the embassy's staff will be leaving Liberia soon, having completed their mission, and therefore they were having the celebration as culturally done in such a case for them to meet their Liberian counterparts for the last time.

In response, President Weah assured that he remains committed to upholding and defending the Liberian Constitution with an equal weight, but did not state how he would meet the challenge posed to him.

He said Liberia remains steadfast to upholding the mutual relationship between it and the US, and his government will respect every citizen's right, including the right to peacefully assemble.

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