7 May 2019

Liberia: I Have No Plan to Meet Protesters

Liberia's President George Manneh Weah says he has no plan to meet with protesters that are seeking to assemble beginning 7 June to demand a number of reforms in government.

His comment came in an interview with journalists on Capitol Hill Tuesday, 7 May after meeting with members of the Liberian Senate and discussed several national issues.

In the wake of panic among Liberians over the pending June 7 Protest, suggestions have been coming in from different quarters of the society for a dialogue between the government and the protesters.

Allegations of corruption, the poor state of the economy and a US$25m mop - up exercise are among many other reasons why opposition and critics of President Weah's regime are saying they will protest and make demands for some reforms here.

While President Weah says he has no plan of meeting with the protesters, he, however, suggests that there is a need to dialogue for the peace of the country.

He notes that it is the constitutional right of the people to protest.

He says he is moved by the June 7 protest, as he reflects on the April 12, 1980 protest in Liberia.

The violent historical event referenced by President Weah records a coup d'etat when sitting President William Tolbert was overthrown and murdered.

"We know what protest did in Liberia on April 12, 1990," he says.

Briefing the press on the closed door meeting with the President, Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert C. Chie says the meeting was in line with the spirit of the constitution of Liberia which calls for coordination among the three branches of Government.

Pro-Tempore Chie says the Senate presented to the President issues of national concerns and interest which include justice and security, economic situation, status of investigation report on the LRD$16 billion and the US$25 million intended to mop up excess Liberian dollars from the market.

Additionally he says the Senate presented issues of the withdrawal of the Tenured Bill, the assessment of the performance of current government officials, government of inclusion, the United Nations letter regarding the management of funds, proposal for a national reconciliation conference and information dissemination from the government to its people.

Following the Senate's presentation, Pro- Tempore Chie discloses that President Weah committed himself to the resolution of the issues raised in the interest of the people of Liberia.

According to Pro-Tempore Chief, former Pro- Tempore Cletus Wotorson's request to the Senate [to calm the tension here] helped to re-enforce the Senate's meeting with the President, indicating that they already had such plan.

Sen. Chie adds that the Senate's leadership met with the advisors of the Council of Patriots (COP) that are also members of the Liberian Senate, including Senators Sando Johnson (Bomi), and Daniel Naatehn, Sr, (Gbarpolu).

According to Sen. Chief, Margibi County Sen. Oscar Cooper was not in the meeting.

The President Pro-Tempore concludes that some of the things that were discussed with the advisors of the COP were the same issues they put forth to President Weah.By Ethel A. Tweh-Edited by Winston W. Parley

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