Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah says the United States (in particular), France and China cannot be blamed for Liberia’s setbacks and lack of progress, arguing that “billions of dollars” given in aid by America have been mismanaged here. He gave no further details.
“So we cannot blame America. If the billions of dollars that came here, if we were going to manage it well, if we were going to be true to our people and build our roads, and build our cities, we will not be blaming America,” Mr. Weah said Friday, 23 February upon return from state visits to France, Morocco and Senegal.
Weah’s comment comes amidst concerns that America’s long presence in Liberia has stalled the country’s development in a way. Mr. Weah said while he was in France, he was personally confronted by an unnamed individual inquiring as to whether he didn’t think that the United States’ domineering role here has been the problem of Liberia’s backwardness.
But Mr. Weah told a thanksgiving service organized at the Dominion Christian Fellowship in Congo Town for his safe arrival that “there’s no way you can suggest that America is our problem.”
He questioned why somebody would want to blame the United States for Liberia’s under development when billions of United States Dollars are pumped here, yet still the country lacks better schools and hospital.
On his first presidential visit to France, the French government pledged ten million euros grant towards the maintenance of roads here, among others.
The United States under its millennium challenge package just after the Ebola crisis approve over two hundred million dollars here part of which has also been directed towards road maintenance.
He wondered how can America be the problem to Liberia “when we have record” that America has “given us billions of dollars, we did not use that money for our own benefit?”
The former international soccer star who succeeded Africa’s first elected female President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf further wondered why “we” will want to blame people when “we are” in charge, urging that a new approach be taken and that Liberians change their attitude.
He, however, urged those who have the privilege to work in his government today to do due diligence, while calling on members of the clergy to pray for his government that it would receive the needed support from friendly nations and partners to carry out its agenda.
He said “If we are to build hospital, we must do it. If we are to build schools, we must do it. There is no theory … that will go against the people’s needs and wants. People’s satisfaction is what makes a good government.”
Mr. Weah vows to ensure that all agencies, bureaus and ministries will have a different approach because he wants his government to succeed and he wants Liberians to succeed and benefit as well.
He emphasized that he wants his government’s work to be in the interest of the Liberian people so that tomorrow they cannot blame America, France or China for Liberia’s setbacks.
On why he chose to visit France on his first western trip and not the United States, Mr. Weah said, such arguments were in the wrong direction, because why he is trying to seek developing partners from across the broad spectrum, people are trying to pitch him against the United States.
He argued that America is Liberia’s ally and France is America’s ally, concluding that a friend of America is Liberia’s friend. “America is our friend, we are allies and we will ever be allies,” he says, adding that Liberia’s interest and America’s interest are the same.
“France and America share great friendship, and we extend that friendship to France. So I did not choose … France over America. I was invited to France in your interest and I went there to execute my duty,” Mr. Weah adds.
He says he knows that “our Friend, our Big Brother [President Donald Trump] will soon call him to go to the United States to speak on Liberians’ behalf. According to Mr. Weah, Liberia wants to maintain its partnership with the US in the interest of the government here.
He says Liberians need to take a new approach [on] how they do and say things and how they interact with each other, recalling that he accepted an invitation and went to Senegal and France to see leaders there in the interest of the Liberian people.
President Weah said he was glad that he and his French counterpart had a fruitful conversation about Liberia, noting that everything was good until he monitor the Facebook and saw something else.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah