President Weah Describes State of the Nation as Strong and Safe

Tuesday, 31st January 2023

Photo Credit: Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah reported to the nation via the National Legislature on January 30, 2023, that Liberia, under his stewardship, is proceeding well and flourishing in peace, stability, and health
“The state of our nation is strong; the state of our nation is stable; the state of our nation is peaceful; the state of our nation is vibrant, and the state of our nation is youthful,” the President declared.
President Weah acknowledged how far and how much the country has toyed to overcome some of the worst moments ever endured by its people and those within Liberia’s borders.
He told the people of Liberia that the past year marked a crucial historical milestone for Liberia, when “we celebrated 200 years of the founding of our nation.
“I need not belabor you with accounts of how much we have all been through as a people during these two centuries, including wars, pestilences, and economic setbacks and downturns. But together, we have remained strong and progressive, and have managed to always emerge triumphant and united, through and after every trial and tribulation, regardless of our ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, or political affiliations.”
The President further reported that in spite of the daunting challenges encountered along the way, he made it a duty and an overarching purpose to work towards preserving the peace of the nation, ensuring always that “we do not slide back into conflict. This has been the fundamental underpinning of all development and policy initiatives of my administration.”
He continued: “The record will show that we have achieved undeniable success in this endeavor,  while at the same time always ensuring that there is strict adherence to the rule of law, and protection for the constitutional rights of our citizens, as we consolidate our democracy and develop our Nation.”
The President is of the conviction the country's well-earned credentials as a nation of peace and democracy in West Africa will be put to the test in about nine months when Liberians go to the polls in October of this year.
He noted that these would be the fourth elections since the end of the war in 2003, and they would be an important benchmark for judging the extent of the consolidation of peace in the country. 
He said perhaps most significant is that the pending elections are the first to be primarily organized and administered by Liberia since the drawdown of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in 2018.
“And so, as we go to the polls in October this year, let us uphold and maintain our hard-won democracy. Let us conduct ourselves in a lawful and orderly way, so that the voices of the people will be heard, and the will of the Liberian people will prevail; because, as is often said:   the voice of the people, is the voice of God!”
According to the President, it's high time that Liberians continued to demonstrate to the world they are a peace-loving nation, and are capable and ready to undertake elections that include all Liberians in a free and credible process.
“Not only will our individual patriotism be put on trial, but our institutions of democracy will also be tested,” the President stressed. 
Then he said: “I am of the strongest conviction that this is a test that we can - and will - pass.  As you may be aware, I have continuously reaffirmed my commitment to free, fair, and transparent elections and respect the democratic will of the Liberian people.”
Discovery of Arms
While appraising the peacefulness and stability of the state, President Weah used the occasion to zero in on the recent discovery of arms by the Liberia National Police.
He said: “We were all recently in shock when we awakened to news of the discovery of a large cache of arms in a container at the Freeport of Monrovia. We applaud the vigilance of all national security agencies for their collaborative efforts in effecting this bust. Coming on the heels of the October elections, this development is a major cause for concern.”
He further reported that the National Police Force continues to pursue every possible lead in their investigation of this illegal act, including diplomatic measures to have the alleged perpetrators face justice.
Amid the somehow scaring situation, President Weah said it was important that Liberians work together and put aside political differences in ensuring that they peacefully abide together without the chaos of recent years.
“In so doing,” he noted, “it is both important and imperative that we summon our collective will to vigorously confront potential troublemakers and anarchists, by applying the full force of the law that is provided for such circumstances. We owe it to ourselves, to our children, and to our children’s children, to repel and eliminate any threat to our hard-won peace.”
Legislative Agenda
Divulging the administration legislative agenda in keeping with Article 58 of the Constitution, President Weah reported that the 54th Legislature has enacted almost two hundred 200 Acts, covering all aspects of national endeavor.
He named some of the bills passed as the Local Government Act and Land Rights Act, which he said have been considered by many as the most progressive pro-community land reform law on the African continent.
According to the President, the Local Government Act has established a system of  governance consisting of locally appointed and elected officials,  and grants them authority and resources to enable them to cater directly to the care and needs of the citizens in their respective counties, in the areas of health, education, roads, agriculture and other development needs.
The President asserted: “No longer must our people always have to come all the way to Monrovia to get better services, because most of the things done in Monrovia can now be done in the counties,” he said. “In a related development, you passed the Revenue Sharing Law in 2022 to enable revenue-sharing between central and local governments in Liberia.
“It was designed with the main objective of promoting domestic resource mobilization through fiscal decentralization for local empowerment. In 2019, during your second session, approximately fifty-four (54) pieces of legislation were passed, amounting to the second highest number of bills passed during a single session under this administration."
President Weah also highlighted the Power Theft Law, the Domestic Violence Act, and the Kamara A. Kamara Press Freedom Act of 2019.
According to him, the Power Theft Law seeks to address the increasing theft of electricity through illegal connections, tampering with meters and with transmission and distribution lines, as well as theft of LEC’s assets, including light poles, wires, and transformers. 
It establishes a system of prohibitions and penalties to deal with electricity theft, for which government intervention and protection is appropriate.
He made mention of the Domestic Violence Act, which is expected to promote gender equality and protect women and children from domestic violence. 
"This law is intended to reduce the entrenched gender inequality practices which were on the increase in our country. Let me assure you that these laws will continue to be fully and appropriately enforced under my administration," President Weah reported.
Speaking of the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom, the President declared that it is a very historic piece of legislation that codifies and decriminalizes free speech, as enshrined in our 1986 Constitution.
‘With the passage of this new law, we have cast into the dustbin of history all outdated criminal statutes that once restricted freedom of speech,” Dr. Weah said.