LIBERIA – 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, former Foreign Minister, Lewis Browne told a press conference today.
Sadly, according to Mr. Browne, President George 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.”
He added: “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.”
He pointed out that 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.
The former Information Minister and staunch supporter of Mr. Alexander Cummings of the ANC said, not only is this a national and international embarrassment, President Weah continues to allegedly insult the intelligence of the Liberian people with lies.
He indicated that 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.
Browne noted that 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.
He also said 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, Browne stated that 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.
“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.
Lewis Browne: “By his bad example, President Weah himself has invited his administration to be indiscipline, deceptive and wasteful of the country’s resources.”
He adds: “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.”
According to the former National Security Advisor, the unsettling truth is that President Weah used the country to care for himself and to live a dream life of a celebrity. Browne indicated that Weah 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, Browne pointed out that 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.”
Mr. Browne said as President Weah lives in his bubble of pretenses, Liberia is leaderless and the 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”, he said.
Browne: “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.”
He stated that “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.”