President George Manneh Weah is cautioning Liberians against claiming to be patriots, but opting to gain political capital out of a national crisis – coronavirus.Mr. Weah faces criticisms for allegedly personalizing government’s fight against the virus as “Weah’s Project” with giant – sized billboards erected for awareness containing only his image.
“Fellow Liberians, this is when we all show love and devotion to country. You can’t claim patriotism but opt to gain political capital out of a national crisis,” he said in a statement released on Unification Day, 14 May.
Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor has followed in Mr. Weah’s footsteps with separate billboards carrying her image, just as some lawmakers have done, leaving some members of the public to question the individual approach of government officials in the fight against the coronavirus.
Some anti – coronavirus buckets and other items being used to help the public in controlling the spread of the virus and spreading messages that promote health protocols intended to defeat the virus have President Weah’s photos, and other officials on them. Notwithstanding, President Weah suggests that now is the time for Liberians, including him, to put aside the political machinations for the sake of the country.
“There will always be time for politicking. All of our leaders, political, business, religious, or otherwise, should lend a hand as we grapple to rid our country of the deadly virus,” he says. As of 10:00pm Wednesday, 13 May, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) reported that Liberia has had a total confirmed coronavirus cases of 215, out of which 20 victims have died and 105 others have recovered, leaving 90 confirmed active cases.
Liberia is in the third phase of 14 days lockdown imposed by the administration to ease the spread of the virus as extensions of the lockdown measure became necessary here due to continuous reports of new cases of the virus.
In his Unification Day message Thursday, Mr. Weah says this year, Liberians celebrate the day under obviously challenging circumstances – when the world is reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, noting that the coronavirus has altered their way of life as it afflicts many of compatriots.
However, he says Liberians have shown remarkable resilience over the years, expressing confidence that it wouldn’t be long before the nation can make this crisis a thing of the past.“It is during moments like these that Liberians of all persuasion must unite against the common foe which threatens our existence,” he pleads with citizens.“We must come together as a resilient people to harness our positive attributes and direct them to eliminating this existential threat and forging a stronger nation,” Mr. Weah adds.
He assures that the government is doing all in its powers to lead this fight, adding that Liberia is beginning to see some progress, but cautions that citizens and residents must not let down their guard.
“I am counting on all Liberians to join hands in order to defeat this unseen enemy,” he continues.Meanwhile, President Weah says Unification Day grants Liberians another opportunity to soberly reflect on the purpose for which this nation was founded. He recalls that the for bearers of Liberia strives through blood and tears to lay the foundation for the nation, adding that they toiled to guard every inch of its territory in order to establish an enviable system of self-governance.
When more than a century later that system became threatened by Liberia’s cultural, political and even racial diversities, Mr. Weah notes that the nation’s progenitors developed different initiatives that highlighted characteristics to strengthen the bonds rather than those that divided its people, saying National Unification Day, a day to reflect that wholesomeness was legislated.
“As we do so, let’s kneel in supplication to the Almighty God for healing. I made a call to all Liberians and residents within our borders, a call to all religious leaders to observe today as a day of national prayers for our beloved nation,” he urges. He calls on Liberians of all faiths to invoke God’s presence and His mercy through fast and prayer in their homes or their various places of worship.He concludes that all Liberians, Christians, Muslims and all persons of faith should pray for God’s divine intervention.
By Winston W. Parley