The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Does The President’s Convoy “Stuck In The Traffic” Issue Make News?

By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (Pnw)

There Are Issues Considered As “Elements” In News Gathering And Writing Which Is A Major Course In Mass Communication. These Elements Are What Are Used By Journalists To Determine Whether Or Not Something Is Worth Publishing Or Broadcasting. One Of Such Is What Is Referred To As Prominence”. That Is, Prominent People Like In The Case Of The President Carries A Great Value Of News And So In Whatever That Person Is Involved In Personally Or Otherwise, Carries A Strong News Value That Would Be Of Interest To The Media, Which Is The “Conduit’ Between The People (Public) And The Newsmaker.

First, Let Us Understand What Really News Is Before Proceeding Further. News, As It Is Commonly Known, Is Anything Of Public Interest Or Anything Unusual.” This Is One Of The Simplest Definitions Of News That Rightly Suit The Situation Of The President’s Convoy Being Stuck In The Traffic Last Friday Between Congo Town And Paynesville. In The Case Of The President, He Is The First Newsmaker In The Country, Therefore Whatever Concerns Him, Concerns The Country, As Such, The People Must Know.

On The Issue At Bar, As We Say In Law, I Was In That Terrific That Evening When The Incident Occurred. In Fact, We Were In That Frustrating Traffic When The President’s Convoy Passed By For His Destination. Nauseatingly, We Were Still In That Traffic When His Convoy Was Returning. By That Time, The Traffic Was Stationary, Or Sometimes In A Snail-Moving Situation.

Even Though I Was An Eyewitness That Day, I Deliberately Decided To Forego This Big News To Be Handled By Others Because These Are Some Of The Issues When Raised At Forums, Some Of Us Have Been Discussing For Which Some Of Us Are Branded Or Perceived As, “Enemies Of The State.” Howbeit, When I Saw It In Two Newspapers- (The Analyst And Women Voices)- Yesterday Morning, I Decided To Highlight It To Avoid A Recurrence.

In Its Version, “The Analyst” In Part Said, With Headline, “Nat’l Security Snafu. Pres. Weah’s Convoy Stuck In Huge Traffic For Hours,” Reported That “Inner-Circle Aides To President Weah Have Often Discussed How The President Has Often Had Beefs With Personal Security Guards Who Would Deny His Request To Act Ordinarily Rather Than Vip Because He Has Always Wanted To Nurse His Nostalgia For The Ordinary World-At Times Wanting To Disembark Fromthe Official Convoy To Talk To Familiar People, Shake Hands Or Simply To Stroll.

“But Last Friday Was Not One Of Those Light Moments. It Is Something That Threatened The Very Security Of The Country’s First Citizen.

“Presidential Convoy Carrying The President, His Advisors And Other Members Of Cabinet, Was Held Up Involuntarily. Monrovia’s Vehicular Traffic Was At Its Craziest Level, Though As Security Pundits Say, It Could Have Been Avoided If The President’s Security Operatives, Principally The Executive Security Service Agents, Had Carried Out Their Functions Properly. Many Are Now Pointing To A Variety Of Reasons For The Highly Risky And Threatening Incident On The President In Particular And The National Security In General. The Analyst Reports. “Presidential Motorcades The World Over Optimize The Ability Of The President To Move Smoothly From One Location To Another, Often Minimizing Potential Attacks From Enemies. Comprising A Variety Of Cars Including The Route And Pilot Cars, The Sweepers, The Lead Car, The Presidential Couch, Down To The Rear Guard, The Motorcade Is A Normal Routine Of Every President’s Convoy. The Protective Details Of The Secret Service Are Masters Of What They Do, And They Know How To Optimize Their Capabilities Against A [Potential Enemy’s Weakness And Strengths.

“The Situation On Friday, November 13, 2020 Which Left President Weah’s Convoy Stuck In The Skd Boulevard Traffic, Has Made Many To Ponder As To The Effectiveness Of The Presidential Detail In Ably Managing The Movement Of The Liberian Presidency.

“According To Eyewitness Accounts, The Movement Of President Weah Was Halted In A Very Huge Traffic Last Friday In The Suburb Of Paynesville, A Situation That Exposed Cracks In The President’s Security Detail.

“The Seriousness Of Such A Life-Threatening Situation On The Security Of The President Has Elicited Tons Of Reactions From The Public, With Many Wondering Why There Was No Early Warning Of The Movement Of The Presidential Convoy Prior To The Movement Of The President.”

For Its Part, The Women Voices, With Headline:” President Weah Stuck In Traffic-Citizens Call For Investigation To Curtail Recurrence,” Said, “Women Voices Newspaper (Wvn) Has Gathered That The Presidential Motorcade With Liberian President George Weah On Board, Was Unprecedentedly Stuck In A Huge Vehicular Traffic During The Evening Hours Of Last Friday.

There Are Several Accounts As To How Long The Presidential Convoy Conveying The Liberian Leader From Central City To His Paynesville Residence Was Grounded In The Traffic, With One Account Saying Almost An Hour, While Another Put It At A Little Over An Hour.

One Security Divulged To Wnv That At Some Point Of The Jammed Traffic Along The Tubman Boulevard Around The Ministerial Complex Located In Oldest Congo Town, Two Commercial Motorcyclists Encroached On The Presidential Motorcade.

Our Source Disclosed That The Bikers Were Apprehended And In Line With The Law, Were Turned Over To The Liberia National Police For Interrogation. Moments After News Broke That President Weah Was Caught Up In An Awful Traffic Jam, Liberians Took To Social Media Expressing Their Dissatisfaction Over Circumstances That Might Have Led To Their President Being Subjected To Such Unpleasant Situation That Poses A Security Risk.

Renowned Liberian Youth Activist, Kimmie Weeks Wrote On Facebook On Friday, Calling For Anyone Responsible For President Weah To Have Been Stuck In Traffic To Be Made To Answer As Why Such Situation Ever Occurred And Whoever Created The Situation Leading To The Liberian President Being Stuck In Traffic Tonight Needs To Answer Some Questions. Weeks Wrote On His Official Facebook Page, Stating, ‘’This Should Never Have Happened To The Liberian Leader.’’

Once Again, The Issue Of The President Being Stuck In The Traffic Was A Major News Considering The News Element Of “Prominence”. Besides, It Was Unusual, Thus Adding More News Value To It.

Thanks To Those Media Institutions That Highlighted This For Public Consumption. Frankly, The Reason Why Such Stories About Such A Person, Like That Of The President, The “First Citizen” Is To Avoid A Recurrence Of Such Embarrassment.

Fortunately For Me, I Covered The Presidency Before And I’m Aware Or Conversant With The Traffic Whenever The President Was Moving Or Returning From Somewhere. This Is Why I Am In Line With The Calls For An Investigation Into Such Matters To Determine What Really Went Wrong. Although I Was In The Traffic, This Is Not About Me And Others, But Our President.

Given Our Situation, No One Can Rule Out The Issue Of Traffic, Especially So In Our Country Without Many Road Outlets, But One-Way.

Nevertheless, Last Friday’s Incident Should Be Investigated; Perhaps, It Was Breakdown In Communication, Which Is Necessary In Our Daily Lives And Activities, No Matter Where One Finds Himself Or Herself.
While One Expects Traffic-Jam For Some Reasons, My Observation Is That To Curtail This Is To Review “Third Lane Law.” We Are Aware Of The “Exceptions To The Rule” Regarding Traffic, Which Include The President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Speaker And Pro-Temp.

But Since The Third Lane Law, The Issue Of The Traffic Has Become A Mess, To Say It Figuratively “From The Frying Pan To The Fire.”

Let Me Reiterate That The Issue Of The President’s Convoy Being Stuck In The Traffic Was News Because Of His Status, As The First Citizen, Chief Executive Of The Country And, More Importantly, As The
Head Of State Or President Of The Country.

I Rest My Case.

Nb: Atty Wesseh In The 80’s Was Assigned At The Executive Mansion And Capitol Building With The Daily Observer. Presently, He Is Also Part Time Teacher In The Mass Communication At The United Methodist University. Previously, He Served In Similar Department At The University Of Liberia.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.