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Monday, June 17, 2024

FULL TEXT OF MR. LEWIS BROWNE’S SPEECH ON THE PLANNED DECEMBER 17 RALLY

Date:

Good afternoon:

I thank all of you, distinguished members of the Press, for being here, and especially in these difficult times, I thank the Liberian people for their kind attention.

All over this country – in every village and town, across every region and community, from mosques to churches, from markets to schools, from prisons to hospitals; across all political parties, ministries, agencies and institutions of the government – no Liberian needs me to tell them that things are bad, and only getting worse. Sadly, President Weah and a few of his officials who are overseeing and benefitting from the downfall of our country, either do not understand this or simply do not care.

The heartlessness is wicked and intolerable. 5 years later, JFK remains for drivers and securities while hospitals overseas treat government officials who failed to properly equip and provide for the upkeep and upgrade of the hospital.

A town in Nimba County is still grieving and could not find the body of an 8-week-old baby who drowned along with 7 other Liberians when their canoe capsized while they were headed to their farms. Just about the same time, our President was boarding a private jet to fly out to the World Cup to see and celebrate his son playing for another country.

Not only is this a national and international embarrassment, President Weah continues to insult the intelligence of the Liberian people with lies. The shameful truth is that Mr. Weah and some of his officials are actually on safari and having a good time, at the expense of the suffering Liberian people. While they are jolly-jollying many Liberians are becoming increasingly hopeless and going to bed hungry at night – many parents cannot pay school fees; many qualified people are being forced to beg because they cannot find work to do. Those who are lucky to be working cannot pay hospital bills, and cannot care for their families because the pay is wickedly ‘harmonized’.

More than 5 years after President Weah took over the leadership of our country, and promised “Change for Hope”, for many Liberians, the only change has been from hope to hopelessness, as dreams are fading, prisons are overcrowded with young people, mysterious deaths and unsolved murders are leaving grieving families with no closures for deceased loved ones; the cost of living is rising as income falls; and lawlessness and insecurity abound.

The common greeting of today rings true for most Liberians when they say: Dah God mining us.

People are suffering worsening living conditions now than they did before. Our streets and communities are unsafe and mostly unhealthy.

The Weah Administration is more corrupt, more abusive of power, and increasingly desperate to lead by threats of violence, fear, and intimidation of perceived opponents and other Liberians.

By his bad example, President Weah himself has invited his administration to be indisciplined, deceptive, and wasteful of the country’s resources.

The hard truth is that President Weah is unfit to lead. He was never a leader, will never be a leader, and his one-term presidency is a failed one.

Many in the ruling coalition are coming to terms with this truth about President Weah, as the country continues to be embarrassed by it.

The unsettling truth is that President Weah used our country to care for himself and to live a dream life of a celebrity. He continues to do so without caring about how his desire to be a celebrity at the expense of poor Liberians actually affects Liberia and Liberians.

As President Weah lives in his bubble of pretenses ranging from a pastor to a musician, slum communities are even more economically-depressed. Rising tides and rains are sweeping our country’s coastline threatening homes, people’s health and livelihoods. As President Weah lives in his bubble of pretenses, nothing seems to be working in the country – systems of good democratic governance are all breaking down, and sycophancy has replaced competency.

As President Weah lives in his bubble of pretenses, Liberia is leaderless. Our country is becoming increasingly divided.

And as President Weah continues to live in his make-believe world, our ship of state is increasingly rudderless. Liberia is like an airplane that is on auto-pilot – flying by itself – and worse, all of the mechanical devices are malfunctioning.

My fellow Liberians, and members of the Fourth Estate: On December 17, we will offer the Liberian people a chance to peacefully speak out. It is a democratic right and constitutional guarantee that they are afforded the chance to do so, even if to an unresponsive government.

We have dutifully informed the Liberian Government about the December 17 Peaceful Rally and entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the use of the outside facilities of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex for the rally.

Led by the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), this peaceful rally of Liberians is bringing together parties, groups, and individuals from all walks and stations of Liberian life. It is seeking an expression for the suffering people of Liberia. The peaceful rally is dubbed: WE TIYAH SUFFERING!

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is a plea to President Weah’s failed, wasteful and disappointing administration to care about what the Liberian people are living through and feeling every day.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is a cry for President Weah and his administration to be more accountable and stop being wasteful.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is a patriotic call to fix JFK so that a Minister and his driver and security can all go there because every Liberian life is important and matters.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is to stop the wicked slicing of civil servants’ salaries while the President wastes taxpayers monies on jolly-jollying.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is for the drowned 8-week-old baby whose tragic deaths, and those of others must prick our collective consciences as they can no longer speak for themselves.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is for all grieving families who cannot find closure as well as all those living in fear.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is the echo of a country too rich and yet so poorly and so incompetently managed.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is the reverberations of all with failing dreams – all who are swimming in disappointments and drowning in hopelessness.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is a chance to say to President Weah and his administration that people need help – people need jobs and a chance to care for themselves and their families.

WE TIYAH SUFFERING is a call on the administration to do their jobs – to serve the Liberian people and not themselves.

Liberians are tired of suffering. We hear echoes of this everywhere. We have a duty to help them peacefully express this to the administration – and we will.

This peaceful rally is not for those who are not suffering.  We do not expect that they will like it or be happy that those who are tired of suffering want to be heard.

However, we expect that those with the duty to protect those who are tired of suffering and wish to peacefully express it, will faithfully and honorably do their jobs. We expect that they will protect all Liberians, especially on December 17.

May I now introduce and call out some of the names of individuals and organizations that are co-organizing the WE TIYAH SUFFERING RALLY of December 17, 2022.

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