Opposition parties exiting the propose one day meeting with President George Weah say the meeting lack an agenda, accusing the president of pushing the passage of dual citizenship bill rather than naming the challenges his administration faces for which he had called for a dialogue with the opposition blog.
“I have thought, we had thought Mr. President would have at least given an overview of his six to seven months stewardship over the country, the challenges that he has, where he wants opposition support and how he wants opposition support,” opposition Liberty Party (LP) executive Darius Dillon says.
President Weah had called for the forum to dialogue with opposition parties in a way of finding solutions to issues confronting the state.
At the commencement of the forum where 26 political parties were represented Thursday, 16 August in Monrovia, President Weah excluded media coverage just after his brief welcome remark that was followed by self – introduction by party representatives.
But the exclusion of the media at the forum seems not to have worked well for the intent of President Weah’s meeting, given the sudden differing accounts emerging from opposition party executives and some government officials and the ruling party via live radio talk show just after the meeting.
According to President Weah, the meeting was called for the purpose of finding ways to move Liberia forward, working with political leaders, the civil society and all.
But after the meeting, LP executive Darius Dillon told a live radio talk show that he left the meeting during midway of the proceeding because “nothing [is] going to change.”
“You invited us, you don’t state why you invited us and you just say you want to hear from us,” Dillon claims.
Mr. Dillon questions presidential appointees who posed at the meeting as opposition party representatives while Foreign Minister Gbehzongar Findley serves as moderator.
Some of these presidential appointees include EPA Executive Director Nathaniel Blama of LINU party and Deputy Foreign Minister Maxwell Kemayan of MOVEE party.
Besides, Mr. Dillon claims that President Weah was pushing for the passage of a dual citizenship bill here so that people in that category like his son Timothy Weah can play for Lonestar.
“Look, that’s what I’m saying there was no agenda for this meeting,” Mr. Dillon says, arguing that if opposition parties had not gone there, there would have been this argument that the president wants their support but they are not coming forth.
Mr. Dillon and opposition Unity Party (UP’s) Mo Ali say each of the parties were allotted three minutes, but the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) Chair Mulbah Morlu counter argues that some of the parties could not even exhaust up to two minutes at the forum.
Mr. Morlu wonders how one could expect to give each political party more than 30 minutes when you have more than 20 political institutions assembled in a conference hall.
He argues that all the political parties had the leverage of time to present their positions.
On the issue of media exclusion, Mr. Morlu says the media provided partial coverage then asked to excuse the forum to allow stakeholders to hold further discussion [which was behind close door].
In reaction to Mr. Dillon’s assertions, Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon took up time personally attacking the LP official on issues of education rather.
UP’s Mo Ali says three minutes were allotted to each party representatives, and it was only ALP’s Urey that pleaded and was granted five minutes.
He says they told the president about the hardship here; the need to respect rule of law and other issues.
Mr. Ali says the president is preaching peace messages while some of his officials like Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, CDC’s Morlu and Rep. Acarous Gray, Deputy Information Minister Fahngon are busy preaching hate messages.
According to UP’s Boakai Jalibah, they got information that Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) political leader Sen. Prince Johnson was very clear that all collaborating parties of the ruling CDC cannot assume the role of opposition.Mr. Jalibah argues that you cannot be in the government and claims to be opposing it.
Additionally, some of the oppositions have expressed observation that President Weah is preaching peace and unity, but some of his officials are preaching hate messages.
By Winston W. Parley