Liberia: CDC's Morlu Wants Officials Explain Their Ill-Gotten Wealth

... Criticizes Weah's appointment of 'underachievers'

The Chairman of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Mulbah K. Morlu, has strongly criticized President George Weah's appointment of people, which he considered "underachievers that would eventually undermine the government."

Therefore, Morlu has demanded probe of officials, who he said have acquired real estate in the relative short period of time they have served in the government. Though, he did not name anyone in particular that has acquired ill-gotten wealth under this regime, President Weah has also been heavily criticized for acquiring and erecting real estate projects with no clarity as to where he got the money for such projects.

The CDC is a merger of three parties, including the National Patriotic Party (NPP) and Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP).

As though Morlu appears no longer at ease with some of the party's hierarchies, he wants an immediate investigation into the acquisition of real estate properties by officials of the Weah Administration.

He said investigating the acquisition of real estate properties would validate how appointed officials and other government employees acquired new properties, and assets so as to exonerate them from the reports cataloged in the corruption perception index.

Morlu believes that the governing party's problems started on day-one when the CDC was excluded from crucial decisions leading to the formation of the current government.

"Sadly, this errant judgement led to the trooping, and intrusion of strange individuals lacking in the most minimal understanding of the 'Pro-poor agenda; and even now, they continue to champion strange interests and ideas that are far removed from the vision and aspirations of the CDC," Morlu told a news conference on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at the party's headquarters in Congo Town.

He said that it is foolhardy to think that the CDC-led government, which rose to political power on the mantra of change, will effect change while working with the same "political spoilers and corrupt policymakers that are most likely susceptible to the influences of the former government."

Morlu believes that its is now appropriate for a radical shift, where the leadership needs to ensure that competent and qualified members of the tripartite coalition are fully reflected in the governance process of the country.

The inclusion of competent and qualified members of the tripartite CDC, Morlu said, will inject new energy and give a boost to the governing process since, in fact, "we bear the major responsibility for the implementation of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)."

"To prioritize empowerment of qualified members of the coalition is necessary to ensure a robust response to the development challenges, as their inclusion would provide a fresh opportunity to champion the values, ethics, ideals, goals, and objectives of the PAPD," Morlu added.

"It is embarrassing and shameful for the socioeconomic disparity to continue to widen between the haves and have-nots, while we are expected to remain silent. The CDC cannot, and will not remain silent if the problems it stood against yesterday begin to resurface in the governance corridors of today."

To President Weah

Morlu then reminded President Weah that the existence of this government is a product of the many years of sacrifices, commitments and selfless resilience of millions of ordinary Liberians, who simply desire good governance, and a departure from the political excesses of the past.

"Amid the plethora of challenges taking place; our people still remain hopeful that we will rise to cease the moment, and make the difference for our people and country; let us not let the people down," he declared.

He called on President Weah to commission a comprehensive audit of the current and past administrations so as to establish the facts surrounding the country's resources, and how it has been used in recent years.

Morlu further underscored the need to prioritize civil servants' timely salary payments, noting, "these are the people, who ensure that government functions properly."

He called on President Weah to revisit the 'harmonization' process to ensure that there is equity, and parity in job classes and between jobs.

He also called on Weah to ensure that all public officials with the exception of the President, Vice President, Speaker, Chief Justice, Senate Pro-Tempore, and Deputy Speaker, attending government functions outside the country, be made to fly economy class, and that private trips using government funding be immediately aborted.

"Reinforce the existing protocol or give (priority) attention to the agreement establishing the CDC for a more effective cohesion of the three parties and allies; Recall all former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-era ambassadors, and senior diplomats in foreign service, who may be working counter to the agenda of the government," Mr. Morlu said.

He added, "Ensure that those who contributed to the downfall of past governments, and have common reputations of being corrupt, be distanced from the hallowed halls of the presidency as they can in no way be Liberia's domestic or international faces; and address the nation in line with the current economic emergency that led to the request of the President of the Legislature to return, reassuring all Liberians on the future direction of the economy."

Mr. Morlu: Needless to say, the CDC will not hesitate to distance itself from officials of government, who will transgress from the popular mandate upon which we were elected."

He said Liberians and supporters, while they firmly recognize and respect the democratic and constitutional rights of Liberian citizens to peacefully assemble, and to petition their representatives and government for the good of the state, it is also within the premise of the law that said rights come with enormous responsibilities.

He said while the government has shown unprecedented tolerance and has always created safe security corridors protecting 'Peaceful protesters', it cannot, however, be expected to permit a cruel exploitation of the democratic space to plunge the country into chaos, threaten the peace of the state and subject local businesses to peril of vandalism.

Mr. Morlu said "the CDC would have been reluctant to participate in this conversation, except for the fact that the plotting overthrow of a constitutionally elected government is evidently a scheme of right-wing extremism, growing within the higher ranks of several opposition political parties combined were defeated in the 2017 elections."

The Opposition

He said this fact is even much more amplified by Liberia's former Vice President Joseph Boakai's endorsement of the opposition's violent agenda to dethrone a constitutionally elected government.

"It is repulsive and shameful for Boakai to be a known mastermind of an unconstitutional act of plotted lawlessness against a democratically elected government that has barely spent two years in office; while he and former President Sirleaf had 12 years of uninterrupted tenure, irrespective of the astronomical peak of corruption and bad governance they so much patronized," he said.

Mr. Morlu said while the organizers and leaders of the December 30, 2019 protest have the right to free speech, assembly, and protest, they are a subset of the larger society and their rights must not jeopardize the lives and well-being of non-participants.

Consequently, their planned action does not only constitute a flagrant violation of the rule of law but is also treasonable, as clearly outlined in Article 76 of the Liberian Constitution, which describes treason."

He said irrespective of the complex socioeconomic hurdles associated with the democratic transition of 2018, the CDC-led government cannot take lightly the governance obligations cast upon its shoulders by the mostly underprivileged citizens, who look to the CDC for solution, "neither can we continue to proffer excuses while our people suffer. Whether the global economy is in a decline or not, offers no excusable justification for under-performance.

"We cannot forget so soon that the existence of this government is a product of the many years of sacrifice, commitment and selfless resilience of millions of ordinary Liberians who simply desire good governance and a departure from the political excesses of the past. Amidst the plethora of challenges across the country, our people still remain hopeful that we will rise to seize the moment and make the difference for our people and country; let us not let the people down," he said.

He said some of the CDC officials were elected at a point where the economy was in a recession. "You made a conscious decision to delegate to us your maximum authority to help find lasting solutions. It is inarguable that in finding solutions to the common problems we have to take firm and strong decisions in your interest, and that is the best interest of our people."

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