Kokoya, Bong County-President George M. Weah has rejected an appeal from the citizens of Bong County seeking executive clemency for their children who are being detained in both Bong and Nimba prisons for vandalizing public facilities in the county.
Several youths of Bong Count took part in a violent demonstration during the latter end of 2018 at the MNG Gold mines where lot of properties were destroyed including public and private facilities. Most of them are still languishing behind bars in the Gbarnga and Sanniquellie prisons.
Mr. Weah told the locals who had gathered in the David Dean’s Town in Kokoya District, Bong County, where the incident was said to have occurred during a Town Hall meeting on Saturday February 13, as part of his nationwide county tour that only the courts can acquit them.
“When people break the law, they have to face the full weight of the law. And nobody should think that they can pressure my government to release them from jail,” President Weah accentuated. “Your children should learn how to dialogue.” He added saying “…If the law acquits them because they are not wrong, so help me God. But if they are wrong, they will be punished by law.”
His comments followed an appeal contained in the citizens’ petition read out at the Town Hall meeting by their local Representative Albert Hill of District #1 asking that their childrenwho violated the law be set free.
But President Weah reminded them that it is wrong for angry youths to be going around burning police stations-no matter who they are whether motorcyclists or whatever group they are.“You cannot burn down a police station.” Said Mr. Weah. “It is the same police station that try to protect you.”
The president said an attack on a police station is an attack on the state and government. “If you burn a police station, you are burning the state. It means you have no respect for your government.”
“I want you to put me on record,” the President told the Bong citizens, “I am a non-violent person. Anything that is wrong, I don’t support it.” He opined that there is a need for people to understand that civil liberty is important and that peaceful dialogue for resolution is important.
Mr. Weah whose comments went beyond the borders of Bong County said parents should warn their children who are into motorcycle transport to desist from engaging in violent acts when there is an accident.
“Your children should learn how to dialogue. If you have a child who is riding a motorbike to make money, that child should be discipline. They are driving thru cars and when there is an accident, they try to burn the bus. The people on the bus were they all driving?” the President quipped.
President Weah noted that going forward these violent behaviors will not be encouraged. He gave an example of his son Champ, who was recently arrested in Paris, France for violating a curfew, saying he could not support him in his act of disobedient.
“Look, the other day, my son, and I hope he takes note-the other day there was curfew 3: AM, he was outside. The police arrested him. He says, he George Weah son, the people said no, you are not George Weah son. They called me. I asked him, he said I was outside. I said no Champ, you cannot be outside, and there is a curfew. So they (police) will do their work. If you are not guilty, they will let you go. Not because I am your father and I am the president of another country…-no that will not happen-even in this country that will not happen.
Meanwhile, following the Town Hall meeting in Kokoyah District #1, President Weah and delegation proceeded to District #2 in Jourquelleh to assess the condition of a child who broke her legs out of excitement to see then candidate during the 2017 Presidential campaign when the kitchen felt on her and another, a boy, injured.
The president asked the children’s guardian to bring them to town to stay with him if possible but he wants to ensure that they are cater to.
By Othello B. Garblah