Liberia: 'From Country Giant to Country Rogue'?

Liberian police (file photo).

- Protesters taunt President Weah

Anti-government protesters have emerged with a new song, "From Country Giant to Country Rogue" to register their disdain for the way president George Weah is governing the country. The protesters who gathered on Capitol Hill on Monday, January 6, 2020, contend that the Weah Administration is characterized by bad governance, economic hardship and corruption, despite President Weah's promise in his inaugural address that he was going to fight corruption and end it.

It may be recalled that in 2017 the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) dwelt on the political song, "They Lie", to denigrate the Unity Party and its standard-bearer Joseph Boakai, blaming the previous administration of bad governance, corruption, and other social ills.

Another song, the "Country Giant is Coming Again," has been a regular prelude for Mr. Weah's public appearances during his election campaign and well into the first year of his presidency. Now protesters, viewing the President as a disappointment to the masses who overwhelmingly voted him to the helm of national leadership, are no longer calling him the Country Giant, but "Country Rogue".

As protesters gathered yesterday January 6, a little known musical artist raised the song beginning with the question, George Weah, George Weah, where is our money? From that point, the lyrics flowed with descriptions of the Weah Administration:

"From country giant to country rogue... things prices have increased but the government not get time... anything you touch they say da pro-poor; no drugs in the hospital, the same people that voted for you are the people suffering and dying due to poor health services; George Weah da rogue we will talk it today."

The protesters, in contrast, hailed Henry Costa as their "Hero," calling on the President to stop selective justice and reopen the investigation into the alleged murder of Odell Sherman and other rape cases for proper investigation.

During their protest on Monday, they called on President Weah to establish the war and economic crimes court that will end the culture of impunity across the country.

The protesters argued that the reason why crime is on the increase is that the Weah-led government has hailed people who committed grave human rights violations and are enjoying the protection of the President.

In their chants and slogans, the protesters claimed the government protects perpetrators because of their financial potency and closes its eyes to justice for girls who are raped and whose rights are violated, stressing that this only shows that the country is not safe for young women and children.

The protesters said if President Weah ignores their plights, it's up to him, but "we will remain here until we get a result. Protests are meant for result and that's what happens all around the world, said Henry Costa, Chairman of the Council of Patriots.

They accused the President of using the country's money to enrich himself, Minister of State Nathaniel McGill and Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah.

According to them, a few months after the President took office, he built 49 housing units along the Robertsfield highway and rebuilt most of his homes around town while civil servants remain unpaid for several months.

Some female protesters said their husbands can no longer take salaries home, which is causing them not to pay their children school fees or even provide lunch for school going kids.

The protest, organized by the Council of Patriots, started with a low turnout but later started gaining momentum around the middle of the day.

So far, the protest began peacefully with no sign of violence on the part of the protesters until late in the afternoon when the Liberia National Police unexpectedly fired tear gas and opened the water cannon on the protesters.

Prior to the use of tear gas, one of the executive members of the CoP, Representative Yekeh Kolubah, said, "I have over 1,000 persons with me and we will remain peaceful. If the government does not want my people to walk along the sidewalk, let them provide a vehicle to take them to the protest site. We will follow the police instructions while we move towards the Capitol Building. "

It is not clear what will become of the protest on Tuesday, January 7, as the police had dispersed the crowd by dusk on Monday. However, the protesters have promised to remain peaceful and consistent in their advocacy for President Weah to "Step up" to govern the country by fighting corruption and getting out all those officials who are involved in corruption.

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