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‘Incompetence crushes our economy’

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Opposition Liberty Party (LP) has blamed alleged “incompetent people” placed in key positions of government by President George Manneh Weah for the country’s worsening economy.

LP Chair and Lofa County Sen. Steve Zargo argued at his party headquarters during a press conference Wednesday, 24 April that the strength of the economy stood at over 2% growth rate when the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led – government assumed power in 2018.

Zargo explains that today, economic growth has declined to below 0 %, inflation has increased to more than 25 %, and unemployment is worsening due to a growing wave of layoff exercises at major investments here.

To complicate this economic nightmare, he observes that a US$25 million intended to stabilize the exchange rate was allegedly mismanaged, while some of the ‘prime culprits allegedly walk around free.

Zargo laments that the international and local investigative reports into Liberia’s money scandals clearly indict two high profile government officials, but the regime here is yet to press any charge against them, except for Charles Sirleaf, Milton Weeks and others.

Sen. Zargo notes that these untouchable officials continue to represent the interest of the country in the negotiation of much needed international support to this government.

“The impacts of the Government’s inability to address these challenges are being felt across the length and breadth of our country; from the public to the private sector,” Zargo warns.

According to him, there is a growing wave of economic crisis complicated by insecurity.

“Youth unemployment, which the UN Mission in Liberia identified as the foremost threat to Liberia’s long term peace and security is on an unprecedented rise under the leadership of President George Weah,” Sen. Zargo continues.

The LP chairman points out that businesses, particularly small Liberian businesses are collapsing, while the general security atmosphere remains tense.

He adds that what is sad about these troubling national nightmares is the alleged conspicuous silence of the president, the clear lack of strategies and to readjust and put the country on its proper trajectory of growth, unity and prosperity for all Liberians.

“As if these situations are not enough to have the government busy formulating and implementing strategies to redirect the path of governance, the wave of intolerance against dissent by public officials and well-known regime apologists is extremely alarming,” he explains.

Sen. Zargo narrates that today in Liberia anyone who criticizes the government is branded as being hateful, irrespective of the facts provided and the constructive nature of the critic.

He believes that this growing wave of intolerance for dissent stems from the President’s misplaced branding of critics of his government as “Enemies of the State.”

Commenting on the pending June 7 protest under the banner: ‘Save the State,’ Sen. Zargo maintains that the Liberty Party acknowledges information of a planned peaceful protest by a group of Liberians.

According to him, the protest aims to remind the government of the growing wave of economic hardship, uncontrollable corruption, flagrant constitutional violations, mob violence, clamp down on non-adherents, among others, across the country and proffer solutions towards mitigating these problems.

“We welcome the pending peaceful protest as it is a fundamental tenet of democracy for the people to freely assemble and petition their government when it is so required,” Sen. Zargo states.

“Our decision is further informed by the demonstrated indifference the President and officials of this government continue to show in the face of the bruising economic hardship being faced by our people,” he tells reporters.

According to him, during the course of the planning and implementation of the protest, the CDC led – government must also take cognizance of its constitutional mandate to provide security for the protestors and constructively advert any plan by surrogates of the government to provoke violence.

He claims that similar thing was reportedly done by Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee and his supporters in Montserrado County Electoral District 13 during a by- election campaign.By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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