(New York, USA): The President of the Republic, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, has raised his political credential at the 74th United Nations Assembly (UNGA), announcing that despite sporadic street protests and agitations against him administration, there are no political prisoners in Liberia.
Speaking of developments at home on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, on the Liberian state of affairs in his second speech at the UNGA since his ascendency, President Weah noted that in his year and half of leadership, several protests have taken place from time to time but all of them ended peacefully.
He said his Government welcomed the protests, something he said is "a positive manifestation of our democratic maturity."
The Liberian Leader averred that he remains committed and focused to upholding the constitutional mandate, including ensuring all democratic rights of the citizenry and guaranteed the protection of all. President Weah said he would do all within his powers to ensure that peace prevails in Liberia, a charge kept for almost two years of his presidency.
"Our country is today a beacon of democracy in Africa, where freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of association and other political and democratic rights are respected, under the rule of law," the Liberian Chief Executive told the UNGA.
He continued: "The political environment remains vibrant, with political actors and parties freely exercising their franchise and participating in various elections. I am delighted to report that there are no political prisoners in Liberia, and existing laws that hindered or threatened press freedom have been de-criminalized".
In spite of all these, President Weah said the Country is beginning to witness the emergence of a creeping threat to the democratic space, and to the hard-won peace and stability.
He frowned on what he termed as unacceptable action by some individuals, within and out of the country, particularly those who have lost democratically-held elections, who have resorted to incitement, threats of violence, misuse of social media, and hate speech, with the aim and objective of achieving power through undemocratic means.
"For democracy to thrive, all Liberians, including both the ruling parties and the opposition parties, must respect the rule of law, and abide by the procedures and regulations prescribed therein," President Weah indicated.
"We must all learn to respect the mandates of the electorates, even when that mandate is not in our favor, and not be selective in our support for democracy only when we win," President warned people bent on divisive and anti-democratic behaviors.
He further stressed that in the midst of uncertainty and heightened tension in global politics, security, and trade while at the same time the global economy is also under undue stress, security tension is on the rise in many parts of the world.
This, the Liberian Leader said, calls for all hands to come on deck for the good and development of the Country.
President Weah called on the UNGA and partners alike, to lend support and sustain democracy something he said is cardinal to maintaining peace and security, economic recovery and development in totality saying "trade protectionism and climate change are having unintended consequences especially on developing countries including Liberia.
"We strongly believe in the ability of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security, foster friendly relations among nations, and promote social progress, better living standards, and human rights. We continue to have faith and confidence in the United Nations as the best universal institution to guide the nations of the world in peaceful and harmonious interactions", he emphatically stated.
Reflecting on the theme of the 74th General Assembly, "Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion" President Weah said itreminded him about the responsibility to focus on achieving the purpose of the United Nations in principle and practice, saying "my Government has developed and is implementing a national development plan which supports the theme".
"Our Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) is intended to serve as our compass for reconstruction, development, and modernization. While it gives priority to poverty reduction, it is also intended to support the efforts of middle- and upper-income Liberians to grow and prosper," Dr. Weah averred.
Rallying support from Liberians and the UNGA, Pres. Weah said the PAPD equally centered on infrastructure development, road construction, road connectivity, and agriculture as well as emphasizing women and youth empowerment, qualitative education and good healthcare delivery".
He said the PAPD is beginning to face significant implementation challenges, due to the continued decline in prices of our major exports, revenue shortfalls, and structural imbalances. Increasing inflation and currency depreciation tend to reduce the purchasing power of our citizens, thus placing further burdens on their standard of living.
President Weah said his government is cognizant of the challenges and committed to finding practical solutions to resolve them but require the collectiveness of all Liberians.
"Fellow Liberians, both at home and abroad, let me say that without peace, there can be no progress or development. All Liberians, therefore, have a responsibility to maintain the peace that we now enjoy, especially those of you who desire to be future leader of Liberia; remember, it was the love of liberty that established us as a country. It was our unity that made us the First Independent African Republic, and it will take our joint efforts to sustain the peace, develop and reconcile our nation and gain economic stability" Dr. Weah concluded.