Liberians’ reactions to President George Manneh Weah’s call for a meeting with members of the opposition here is mixed with some supportive of the pronouncement while others term it as mere bluff by the President.
An executive member of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) Abraham Diarus Dillon, recalls that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took similar path when she invited members of the opposition community for support and cooperation in the interest of the country, but the Congress for Democratic Change, now the Coalition for Democratic Change refused to show up.
“Ellen also asked several times to meet with opposition so as to seek ideas on fostering peace and reconciliation as well as seek help on other governance issues for the common good. CDC boycotted on grounds that Ellen only wanted “photo album with George Weah,” Dillon recalls.
He says when the Liberty Party saw reason and cooperated with the former regime for the interest of the country, members of the CDC branded the LP as regime collaborator and had lots to say about the party, something, which he notes, brings lot of questions to President Weah’s proposal for a forum with opposition political parties in the country.
He wonders if the CDC branded opposition parties as regime collaborators for working with Madam Sirleaf, how others would term the opposition under the current regime when President Weah’s invitation is honored.
“Well, CDC is in power today; and President Weah is seeking support and cooperation from opposition too; I am here wondering because I still remember being branded “regime collaborator” for honoring Ellen’s call for support and cooperation for the common good. I still recall the issue about photo album, Yes, I still remember,” the LP executive continues.
However, a group of students from the United Methodist University welcomes President Weah’s proposal, noting that if Liberia is to rise again, every Liberian, including the opposition community and developing partners should get involved.
A campus-based group, Students for Peace and Development Initiative through its leader, Theodosia Cooper says Liberia is at a critical stage, and playing politics or politicizing everything could cause the country more problems than good.
Cooper argues that President Weah’s intention for Liberia and Liberians is to better livelihood of everyone, calling on the opposition community to honor the President’s invitation to discuss Liberia’s future, a country they will one day govern.
President Weah has proposed a one-day national forum between the Government of Liberia and opposition political parties with the hope of advancing ideas that will promote national unity and political tolerance.
The President strongly believes collaboration with the opposition is a sine-qua-non for the enhancement of national cohesion and development, as it affords both parties greater opportunity to inject practical ideas that drive positive change toward social, political and economic transformation.
He made the proposal here Monday, August 13, 2018 when he received a report from the National Independence Day Celebration Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
By Ben P. Wesee-Editing by Jonathan Browne