16 Days On The Road With President George M. Weah

396

Written by Philipbert S. Browne

Mr. Philipbert S. Browne

Even though we have absolutely no regret for being on the Nationwide Tour with the President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E George Manneh Weah, and an array of senior government officials, as we are looking forward to the second phase of the Tour, some individuals have been widely critical about our involvement and role played with the President and his delegation.

   Unfortunately, the editorial content of the Hot Pepper Newspaper is the sole responsibility of the Editorial Board of which I am not a part. I own the establishment, but the establishment is run by seasoned journalists who determine their own roadmap outside my consultation and interference. Trust me when I say they are one group of tough guys who spare no chance to say โ€œback offโ€ when the opportunity presents itself.

    Fortunately, when I ran the establishment, it was the Editorial Boardโ€™s policy that the National Chronicle/Hot Pepper newspapers dedicate one month to the President of the Republic of Liberiaโ€™s Annual Message. For the 12 years of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, we provided one month free coverage of her Annual Message without asking for or receiving a penny in return. I am utmost grateful to the Hot Pepper management that the policy is still in place and has been extended to President Weah.

    As close as the National Chronicle Newspaper was to President Sirleaf by extension, we at no point in the 12 years of existence of the Unity Party (UP) Government did President Sirleaf or any of her senior government officials pick up a telephone to call and say โ€œthank youโ€.

    Unfortunately, in less than a month, the President of the Republic of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, has called four times to say โ€œThanksโ€; Minister McGill has called endlessly to say โ€œThanksโ€; the Ministers of Finance, State without Portfolio and Foreign Affairs have also lend their voices in appreciation for the work done. At our end, we are humble and grateful that the President of the Republic of Liberia and some relevant members of his cabinet would find time out of their busy schedules to say “Thank you”. We are most grateful and appreciative to the office of the First Lady of the Republic for her kind words; we are humble and grateful.

   For those of you who are less busy and find the time to be critical, let me set the record straight: I did more for the Unity Party government than I might possibly do for the CDC Administration. I went with President Sirleaf to Washington, D.C. on two separate occasions: the first was to give President George Bush legacy, the second was a meeting with President Barack Obama. I was privileged to have gone in the White Houseโ€”the Oval Officeโ€”which happens to be the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America, and shake hands with the President of the United States of America, for which I am forever grateful to President Sirleaf. I also escorted President Sirleaf to New York for her farewell remarks to the United Nations. I was asked by President Sirleaf to escort her to South Africa on her State Visit with Jacob Zuma. Most importantly, I was put in charge, along with an array of senior media administrators, in formulating and protecting the legacy of President Sirleaf.

   With all the above, it did not cloud my judgment and objectivity; it made me stronger, more objective and resilientโ€”objective and resilient to the point of closing the National Chronicle Newspaper down and resilient to the point of opening the Hot Pepper Newspaper. So today, my question to my critics is, Why was it right to help President Sirleaf and the Unity Party Government then but wrong for me to help President Weah and the CDC Government now?

ON THE ROAD

I made all the necessary preparations in renting a Toyota Land Cruiser from Flash Car Rental Service and asked for the TEAMโ€™s permission to meet them in Ganta because I had some pressing and urgent international obligations to attend to. They granted me the excuse without any descending comment. Unfortunately, before the TEAM left Monrovia for Gbarnga to attend the Agriculture Trade Fair, the Father of Mr. Mohammed Kanneh felt very ill in Lofa and he had to attend to his father’s ailment. As a replacement, he sent one of his staffs who was very serviceable to the TEAM.

   By now, if you are reading this article, you are wondering about the composition of the “TEAM”. The “TEAM” was comprised of Publisher Sam O. Dean of the Independent Newspaper, Publisher Philip Wesseh of the Inquirer Newspaper, Published Stanley Seakor of the Analyst Newspaper, Publisher Othello Garblah of the New Dawn Newspaper, Publisher Mohammed Kanneh of the Heritage Newspaper and Publisher Philipbert Browne of the National Chronicle/Hot Pepper Newspaper. Unfortunately, it was our mindset that Publisher Philip Wesseh was too fragile, health-wise, for the road tour, and it was a great relief to the TEAM when he sent a representative to replace him.

   So I met the “TEAM” in Bong County on their way to Nimba County. At the border, the Bong County officials who escorted the Chief Executive to Nimba turned him over to the Nimba authorities and went about their merry way.

    The welcoming program in Nimba County was very impressive and brief. The traditional way of showing a clear-heart to a stranger was performed. After that, there was a brief stop at the Liberian International Christian College and then forward march to the Ganta Soccer Stadium for a Town Hall Meeting. The meeting was overly attended and went well. The People of Nimba were very excited about the visit and grateful for the many development projects put into place by the Weah CDC-led government.

   Speaker after speaker kept raining praises on the President and saying “thank you”, but the “thank you” would be the beginning of the woes of the President. As equally as they were grateful, the people of Nimba were overly demandingโ€”they wanted everything, not taking into consideration that the man whom they referred to as their โ€œfatherโ€ has 14 other children to attend to. The next day we visited the Capital City of Nimba, Saniquelle, and Yekepa, the administrative headquarters of ArcelorMittal.

   The third day took us to Bahn for the dedication of durable housing units for the integration of Ivorian refugees. We also visited Saclepea, where another town hall meeting was held, and the demands continued unabated.

   On the fourth day, we went to the Salala Rubber Plantation to dedicate a new plant/factory. After the brief ceremony, we went on to Tappita, and the President retired at the back of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital.

   Unfortunately for all of us on the road, a very friendly and lively EPS operative allegedly committed suicide. This was a major damp that dampened our spirit and brought sorrow to the crew.

    On the fifth day, we headed out for the border with Grand Gedeh. The Nimba authorities escorted the President and his delegation to the Grand Gedeh Border, hand-delivered them to the Grand Gedeh authorities, turned around and went on their merry way.

ย ย ย  MY PERSONAL ASSESSMENT OF NIMBA COUNTY: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

    Starting with the good, the people of Nimba, to a very large extent, seem unique in unity and the respect for law and authority. They are very self-sustainable in food production, and may soon be, if not, the food basket of the nation.

   Their sons and daughters are among the most educated in the Republic, and instead of putting all of their finances in one basket they are diversified. Nimba is developing very rapidly, and the people there are steadfast in their developmental drive. The sons and daughters of Nimba are doing extremely well to create job opportunities for their citizens.

    Even though the people of Nimba are the second highest contributor to the nationโ€™s economy through the collection of taxes, they are overly zealous and greedy. They want everything for themselves and have little or no tolerance for the remaining 14 political subdivisions.

    The roads in Nimba, with the exception of the stretch from Gbarnga to Ganta, are terrible, causing the county to lose millions in agricultural productions. The people of Nimba County are rough and rowdy, sometimes overly aggressive and disrespectful. This is the characteristics of the growing population of Nimba, in addition to the fight and competition to get by, economically.

    The most disgraceful part of the people of Nimba is that they do not regard women or womanhood. Everywhere we went in Nimba, without exceptions, we noticed little girls, far from the age of consent, pregnant. Little children around the ages of thirteen to seventeen were seen pregnant or mothering a child. When inquired, we were told that there were no rape laws in Nimba County.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.