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Weah’s US$1bn loan hunts opposition?

A Liberian clergy is sensing “double standards” among oppositions here over their lawmakers’ failure to resist the passage of two controversial road financing loans submitted by President George Manneh Weah’s government in the tune of nearly US$1 billion.

“How can you be a part of the opposition bloc propounding opposition views but the people who all of you in the same political institution go and vote in favor of the thing you’re crying against? That double standard,” Rev. Gardea Johnson said Wednesday, 27 June.

In a live talk show on a local radio station in Monrovia, the Senior Pastor of the Restoration Baptist Ministry questions the sincerity among opposition parties here, and suggests the removal of all political institutions from individual approach to a more institutional approach to get result.

Though Rev. Johnson says he has not studied the loan in question, he however argues that if it is not a loan that should pass, lawmakers from opposition parties should have voted against it while still remaining friends of those from the ruling establishment.

The Weah administration entered road financing loan agreements separately with foreign private firms including Eton and EBOAM SA, but these agreements continued to be questioned here by critics on issues of their credibility and ability to deliver, among others.

At the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate, Rev. Johnson says opposition political parties are represented by lawmakers that would make up a good number when combined.

“The point that I’m making here is that the fact that you have the number, go in there and say no and still be friend; still have the friendship and still say no,” Rev. Johnson says.

He argues that collaboration should be for the larger interest of the society, and not to have one set aside their policy and conviction in the name of collaboration. He wonders how people get elected on a party ticket to represent the aspiration of their constituencies but when they enter the Legislature, they sell their people out.

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The clergy says from the time he was born to this point he has never seen three independent three branches of government in Liberia. At the same time, Rev. Johnson says church members in government should declare their assets, describing it as a very important step toward fighting corruption.

He says all must get involved in the fight against corruption including the Church and the Mosque, alarming that what is taking place in Liberia is not corruption but “complete stealing at the highest level.” He also urges government to be willing to prosecute.

–By Winston W. Parley

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