‘George Oppong Weah Presidency would be risky for Liberia’

By Winsley S. Nanka, CPA

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
September 1, 2005


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Former Margibi County Senior Senator and a long time member of the Transitional Assemblies in successive interim governments during the 1990s, David Menyongai says that “a George Oppong Weah presidency would be risky for Liberia. He argues that Mr. Weah is inexperienced and he lacks the capacity to govern”. Speaking to The Perspective during a phone interview, David Menyongai said he was reacting to the recent political developments in Liberia. Senator Menyongai believes that “opportunists and hustlers” who historically have benefited from a leader that does not have the sophistication to manage the affairs of state are exploiting Weah, although he too served during the Doe regime that was plagued by the same conditions that he is criticizing.

Speaking further, Mr. Menyongai noted that Liberia needs a “leader who has been tested.” This is not the time to experiment with the presidency of Liberia because Liberia is a “failed state,” and hence, it needs someone who has the capacity to govern. Menyongai further stated that “Mr. Weah lacks a fundamental understanding of government operations, therefore, if he becomes president, the democracy Liberians are trying to build would be at risk.”

Continuing, Mr. Menyongai, intimated that Liberia needs a leader who has a clear vision for Liberia. “At least we know where the other major candidates stand on issues. What is Mr. Weah’s vision for Liberia?” He asked.

Mr. Menyongai believes that political aspirant Weah’s contribution to Liberia in other areas is overrated. He claims that every business venture Mr. Weah undertook in Liberia collapsed. As examples, the Margibi County former senator said Mr. Weah operated a nightclub, a sporting goods store, and a soccer club in Liberia that all ended up in failure. Mr. Menyongai also claims that the political aspirant Weah does not believe in the competence of Liberians. He cites as an example that Mr. Weah left competent Liberian broadcast journalists and radio personalities in Liberia, instead he hired a Nigerian national to manage his radio station in Monrovia. However, Mr. Weah’s supporters see his investment in Liberia during the civil war as his commitment to providing jobs for his countrymen at a time when such opportunities were scarce.

In addition, the former senator in the Samuel Kanyon Doe government alleges that should Mr. Weah succeed, he would institutionalize violence in Liberia again because of the recent incidents reportedly attributed to his supporters. He cites as examples: (a) when a group of citizens challenged Mr. Weah’s voter’s registration, his supporters took to the street, and (b) when a group of Liberian citizens challenged Mr. Weah’s nationality his supporters again threatened violence, he said. However, when supporters of CDC threatened violence, Mr. Weah is reported to have cautioned his supporters against this idea and asked his supporters to be law abiding.

Meanwhile, the former Margibi County Senior Senator says Liberians must not be overtaken by emotion during these elections. He believes that the outcome of these elections would determine if Liberia remains a failed state. Concluding, Senator Menyongai stated that “Liberians need to look at the interest of Liberia in casting their ballots on October 2005.”

A member of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Response Team in the United States says that while the “CDC welcomes constructive criticism, the party will not give credence to unfounded and baseless allegations by individuals who policies contributed to Liberia as a failed state.” Speaking in reaction to Menyongai’s allegations, the member who asked not to be named also said the CDC is “focused on the campaign and the future of Liberia” and how the CDC would restore the basic social and economic infrastructure that have collapsed in Liberia as the result of past failed policies, which Senator Menyongai played a key role in formulating. “Our objective is the restoration of the critical systems in Liberia,” the member concluded.