- ‘He Almost Got Me Killed’: Rep. Snowe Accused of Assaulting Hipco Star Takun J‘
- Dirty & Ugly Campaigning in Bong: Senatorial Race Candidates Holding No Punches
- “Insensitive to the People’s Plight”: Bassa Students Group Slams Liberty Party Rep.
- Celebrating the Day of African Child Amid Numerous Challenges, FGM Cases
- Liberia Senate Concerns Over absence of President, Vice President from Country
- ‘A Real Serious Problem’: Water & Sanitation Remains a Challenge For Grand Bassa
- Reconciling Nimbaiana a Major Challenge, Superintendent Dagadu Admits
- Liberia Troop Ready to Take Off for Peacekeeping Duties in Mali
- Dead Drunk: Lawmaker Mother’s Feast Celebration Turns into Tragedy in Bong
- ‘He Almost Got Me Killed’: Rep. Snowe Accused of Assaulting Hipco Star Takun J‘
- US Policy Shift? John Kerry vs. Hillary Clinton – A Liberia Tale Of The Tape
- Regulating Money Laundering: Planned Eq. Guinea Investment Violates Liberia’s Laws
- Power Drunk Kilby: Liberia’s Auditor General Seeking Chief Justice-Like Powers
- Ellen’s Transition Game: Key Aides, Nemesis Play Waiting Game In Succession Line
- ‘It is Only Fair’: Sirleaf 2011 Campaign Advisor Urges Weah to Give up Peace Post
- ‘Plot’ Thickens in Airport Authority Saga: Secret Tape Traps LAA Board Chair Bility
- Who Made It? Who Flunked? FPA’s 2012 Liberian Government Grades Are in
- A ‘Very Sick Bastard’: Lebanese Man Video Taped Sex Act With Liberian Girls, Ages 7-15
- After Congressmen's Warnings: Who Could Land On America’s ‘Sanctions’ List?
Become A Fan
Follow us on Twitter
|Weah’s Presdential Quest Not Diluted: Reviews Mixed Over ‘Peace Ambassador’ Gig||| Print ||
|Written by Wade C. L. Williams, email@example.com|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2012 21:42|
Monrovia - The appointment of Liberia’s soccer legend and political leader of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), George Manneh Weah as an ambassador for peace, has been greeted with mixed reaction in Monrovia and within his own party.
The appointment which comes in the wake of a FrontPageAfrica report that Weah had been shortlisted to chair the Reconciliation panel recently vacated by Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, is seen as a big step forward in the process of reconciliation in Liberia.
Weah a man of peace
Philip Nimely a resident of Old Road thinks Weah is the best man for the job given his track record over the years, using his years as a footballer in the 1990’s to contribute to the end of the Liberian civil war which left more than 250, 000 persons dead and helped disarm many child soldiers.
“Well I think that identical position is not strange to Ambassador Weah. Ambassador Weah was appointed as UNICEF good will ambassador it mean the same peace. Amos Sawyer at the time appointed Ambassador Weah as a peace ambassador,” Nimley told FPA in an interview on Wednesday.
“The ambassador was able to disarm ex-combatants who were given gun by those people who are around here riding luxurious car. Madam Sirleaf giving Weah this job is just for him to continue his peace work. Ellen understands that Weah is peaceful.”
The young Liberian believes that despite what people think politically about the football legend, they should give him a chance at his new role.
“This is not about what people think about ambassador but for Liberia. This is a step for reconciliation if the president has not done anything, for this one I give her a hand of applauses. Her appoint is timely and good,” said Nimney.
Appointment comes on heels of Gbowee Quit
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf broke the news on Tuesday during a meeting with political parties ahead of next week’s National Conference in Bong County.
Sirleaf reportedly informed the political leaders that with the National Conference Committee launching the Reconciliation Roadmap, Ambassador Weah had consented to work with the government as “Peace Ambassador,” and will assist with reconciliation efforts. He will put together his own Plan of Action as to how he will proceed.
The President said that, over several months, the National Steering Committee, with technical assistance from the United Nations system and others, has put together the Reconciliation Roadmap with much more specifics as to how it will be achieved.
‘Not a new agenda’
In an interview with the Voice of America, George Solo, National Chairman for the CDC Wednesday, echoed the view of Nimley that the acceptance of the post by Weah, is a manifestation of Weah’s commitment to peace in Liberia.
“This is not a new agenda of Ambassador Weah. As you are aware, Ambassador was very instrumental in the disarmament of young people working as a UNICEF Ambassador," said Solo.
Solo told the VOA that the CDC strongman has been a pillar of peace in Liberia and one of the custodians of the sustainability of the peace that the country enjoy presently.
"So it’s nothing new. It’s just a continuation of the manifestation of his commitment to peace,” he said.
Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee stepped down in October as head of a national reconciliation initiative after criticizing President Sirleaf for not doing enough to fight corruption.
Leymah Gbowee also said she and President Sirleaf had “differences in opinion on the pathway for national healing and reconciliation”.
George Solo said George Weah, by virtue of his acceptance to be Liberia’s peace ambassador, will also take over the chairmanship of national reconciliation because Weah believes the national interest supersedes the interest of any one individual.
“I believe he will be the chief patron of the roadmap for national reconciliation, and I think Ambassador Weah is well-placed to handle the reconciliatory process because he is one of the aggrieved parties who has agreed to put his personal qualms on hold in the interest of Liberia. I think this is a symbol of patriotism that needs to be congratulated and emulated,” Solo told James Butty of the VOA.
Mulbah Morlu also an executive member of the CDC said the party is elated that its standard bearer has been appointed to such a role in the Sirleaf-led government, terming it as prudent.
“This position was not lobbied for and it was not discussed; so when we heard that he was appointed as peace ambassador; to play a reconciliation role- any party will be happy,” Morlu told FPA Wednesday.
Continued Morlu: “I think this affords Ambassador Weah the opportunity to show to the world the kind of leader he is and I’m sure that the missing link since the civil war, will be cemented through national reconciliation and peace building across this country.”
Morlu believes this is the time for the CDC strongman to work across all spectrums of the Liberian society to foster lasting peace and reconciliation and with that Weah has the blessing of the party.
“He is going to be working with people from Unity Party, CDC and all political institution to foster national peace and reconciliation we are very glad for this opportunity and we the executive committee from the party wholeheartedly appreciate this and we are going to give our full support,” said Morlu.
“This is his personal decision but we at the party will make sure he succeeds which will be a success of the Liberian people.”
But another official of the CDC Jefferson Koijee, is taking the appointment with a pinch of salt. Koijee told FPA in an interview Wednesday Evening that though he welcomes the appointment of Weah by the President, he has some reservation that she might be up to some games.
“I want to be very frank with you Madam Sirleaf cannot be trusted; we still hold our views strong to what we told people that by electing Madam Sirleaf was an error,” said Koijee.
“Now she is calling on people all over the place to help her fix her government and she thinks that Ambassador Weah has the ability to help her do that and see how she can have a safe landing in term of leading this country.”
‘Accepting post undermines political dream’
Among some who are not happy about the soccer legend’s decision to accept the Peace Ambassador portfolio is Tom Lamford of Jamaica Road.
“For some of us, we are disappointed as far as Liberia political setting is concerned and George Weah being a major opposition leader within the Liberia political landscape,” said Landford.
“We felt that he could have work exceedingly hard from his own end to ensure his way to the presidency unlike working with this government that is deemed as been corrupt, nepotistic and so far.”
Lamford told FPA that he thinks accepting the position could prove counterproductive for Weah’s bid to seek the presidency the he feels could propel the CDC into leadership come 2017.
“We feel that George Weah accepting the pofolio to work as Liberia peace Ambassador could probably muddy his chances for the presidency in 2017.
Continued Lamford: “The issue of that pofolio though not political, cannot be divorced from the political aspect of that office. The context of Liberia political situation is that people tend to destroy you before your time. So, we are saying that Weah should distance himself from this government since in fact this government is not in the best interest of the Liberian people.”
Presidential Quest Not Diluted
But the CDC officials who spoke to FPA stressed that the role will in no way affect Weah’s chances of running for political office in Liberia come 2017.
“This in no way can dilute his quest to become president and standing up for the grassroot Liberians,” said Koijee.
“He still remains unwavering and the masses still see him as the man that will lead them. The party is still studying it who knows; Madam Sirleaf’s appointment could be an honest call.”
Morlu sees the position as a unique opportunity for Weah to steer the affairs of the country in term of peace and reconciliation thereby solidifying his position for the presidency.
“The views of the minority who think it weakens him; we appreciate that, but the majority of the Liberian people supports this process.”
“We do not think it weakens Ambassador Weah, but rather it increases his chances for the presidency. This is an endorsement of his presidency by giving him the opportunity to meet with policy makers and diplomats etc. this will also give him an opportunity to meet regional leaders, traditional leaders and interest groups.”
The party’s National Chairman Solo also told the VOA that Weah’s acceptance of the post does in no way mean that the CDC has abandoned its desire to be Liberia’s next ruling party. Instead, he said, it solidifies the party’s ambition.
"I think this further manifests that we are willing to stand up for all these positions and highlight all these necessary changes in our society with the frame of mind that the bedrock for all of these different implementations and exhibition of our civil liberty need to be on the basis of peace,” Solo said.
He said the acceptance does not change the dimension of the party as a major political player in Liberian politics and reawakens its efforts to speak against the ills in the Liberian society.
“I don’t think this changes the perspective and psychology of the Congress for Democratic Change of equal rights and accountability and proper governance," he said.
Weah, as standard bearer of the CDC, came second in the 2005 presidential election. In 2011, he ran as the party’s vice presidential candidate, and the party again came second.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 06 December 2012 02:59|