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Quality Of Weah’s Decision Might Hamper A 2nd Term -As Citizens Await Final Address

President George M. Weah’s ideology regarding the quality of his decisions towards advancing the lives of the poor has become an illusion as the answers still languish, yet he is about to deliver his final State of the Nation Address.

In January, 2018, at the Samuel Kayon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, moved by the unexpected, President Weah assured Liberians to do everything in his power to be the agent of positive change to ensure freedom of speech and that national resources and responsibilities were going to shift from the capital to the counties.

According to him in his six year reign, the most effective way to directly impact the poor, and to narrow the gap between rich and poor, is to ensure that public resources do not end up in the pockets of government officials.

He then promised the population of his administration’s willingness and preparedness to end corruption in public service as a result of the overwhelming mandate he received from the Liberian people.

He maintained that as officials of Government, it was time for them to put the interest of the ordinary people above their own selfish interests as well as to be honest with the citizenry, noting, “Though corruption is a habit amongst our people, we must end it.”

“We must pay civil servants a living wage, so that corruption is not an excuse for taking what is not theirs. (To) those who do not refrain from enriching themselves at the expense of the people, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

“To the private sector, I say to you that Liberia is open for business. We want to be known as a business-friendly government. We will do all that is within our power to provide an environment that will be conducive for the conduct of honest and transparent business. As we open our doors to all foreign direct investments, we will not permit Liberian-owned businesses to be marginalized,” he assured.

To change the structure of the Liberian economy will require huge investments in agriculture, infrastructure, in human capital, and in technology.

President Weah further encouraged the populations that his greatest contribution to the country as President may not lie in the eloquence of his speeches.

“I intend to construct the greatest machinery of pro-poor governance in the history of this country. I will do more than my fair share to meet your expectations. I ask you to meet mine, for I cannot do it alone. My expectation is that you, fellow citizens, will rise up and take control and responsibility for your destiny and that you will discover a new love for country and each other,” he added.

However, contrary to the Liberian leader promised, the country’s economy is more strangulated as many Liberians across the breath and length of the country for the past five year see themselves not only as beggars but ones who cannot even afford a meal a day.

According to some Liberians, they are not only spectators but are bystanders of their own economy, on grounds the foreign nationals have seized the running of even public offices across the country; talking about concessions at the detriment of the citizenry.

Contrary to the President’s vowed to fight corruption, the issues of corruption over the five years of his administration took center stage with the initial disappearance of LD16 billion; something which triggered Liberians to stage a peaceful protest and since then protests against bad governance has been the order of the day.

Public officials who could barely afford a meal a day are now mansion owners as well as living lavishly and are big donors at political rallies while the masses of the country’s population cannot feed themselves or send their children to school for their living wages.

As result of the rampant corruption of the this administration, the United Government through its Treasury Department recent impose sanction on three of its senior officials for their alleged involvement to massive corruption which the American government believed is hampering the development and forward match of the country.

With all this under the watch of the Liberian leader within his first term he remain mute and addressed none of the situations yet, some citizens are still die-hard and strongly believe that President Weah should be given another term and express optimism that Liberia is on the right trajectory even if it meant that they are just made to stand in his presence.

However, on Monday, January 30, 2023 President Weah is expected deliver his 6th and final State of the Nation Address to the Legislature and many Liberians including partners will not be interested in the eloquence is it was in his maiden address but in his sincerity for a second term. 

This annual address is in fulfillment of the President’s constitutional duty and is delivered on every fourth working Monday in January of each year.

The President’s annual message is in consonance with Article 58 of the 1986 Constitution which states, “The President shall, on the fourth working Monday, in January of each year, present the administration’s legislative program for the ensuing session.”

It adds, “And shall once a year report to the Legislature on the State of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic then report shall cover expenditure as well as income.”

Technically, January 30, 2023 is the fourth working Monday since the first working Monday as the New Year which was on Sunday was celebrated on what should have been the first working Monday of the year. 

In Liberia, holidays that fall on weekends are observed on the Monday preceding the weekend; which necessitated the celebration of the New Year on the first working Monday of this year. 

Many Liberians anticipate that this year’s Sate of the Nation Address will focus on his achievements, proposed and unfinished projects as well as the ensuing General and Presidential Elections in the country. 

Although the Liberian leader’s message is coming at the time Liberians are gearing up to go to the poll in October of this year to elect new leaders of the country; many believe that the President’s message would squarely center on electoral process of the country.

Members in the opposition bloc and critics of the President would also think that President Weah will use this year’s SONA as a platform to promote his image and campaign ahead of the election by propagating some of his accomplishments by his administration over his five years in power.

Following his ascendency to the country’s highest office in 2018, many Liberians were hopeful that this President would leave a positive image on the country by improving their living condition through the provision of jobs and addressing the bread and butter issues in the country.

“From a layman’s perspective, we believe that the President and his team of writers, including researchers are contemplating on what to report to the country for the past year of his administration,” some petty traders expressed.

Even Liberians, themselves, may be thinking what their leader would tell them, especially so, when this year they would be trooping to the polls to decide who their leaders are for the next six years, including the would-be President.  

With the daunting decline of the economy, Liberians are also eager to hear from the President what policies that his administration are putting into place to address the bread and butter issues as well as the security of the country.

Other areas of concern that Liberians are expecting their leader to talk about would be sanitation, Electricity, Education Health and transportation among others although his administration has also made some strides in the infrastructure through roads- connectivity.

With all that are expected to be said, Liberians seem to still be in wait to become owners of their economy amidst the scotching hardship and all other promises made during the first State of the Nation Address.

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