New Castle, Delaware -The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has extolled President George Manneh Weah, for his recent construction and donation of a modern edifice to the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) as its headquarters. ALJA says the gesture is unprecedented in the history of Liberia’s journalism. The Association thanked the President for the magnanimity. In a press release issued on April 24, 2019, ALJA also, commended Mr. Weah for the 10 seaters bus donated to FeJAL for operational purposes; and all those including Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, who attended and contributed generously to the Association’s headquarters fundraiser held on April 20, 2019, at the Monrovia City Hall.
ALJA said it is profoundly elated about the donations and the giant step taken by the Liberian Leader and his officials in strengthening FeJAL’s capacity in serving its members and the entire Liberian media. ALJA urged the FeJAL leadership to utilize the building, and the monetary and other material donations for the intended purposes.
The Association said it is mindful of critics who have questioned the President’s motivation as well as the source of funding for the construction; and called on FeJAL and all Liberian journalists to prove these critics wrong by demonstrating objectivity and impartiality in their coverage of events in Liberia in spite of the President’s donations. Meanwhile, ALJA is calling on the Liberian media to remain fearless and uncompromising in the discharges of its professional duties. The Association urged the Liberian media not to waver in the fight against the unbridled corruption and malfeasance in the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government.
In a related development, ALJA says its attention has been drawn to the rapid declining security situation in Liberia. The Association says the repeated news reports about mob actions by aggrieved citizens, and death threats and bogus libel law suits reportedly orchestrated by insiders of the CDC and the Liberian government against journalists, media institutions, and perceived enemies of the state are worrisome.
ALJA frowned on President Weah and his administration for being indifferent in addressing these critical state matters. ALJA asserts the President’s conspicuous failure to condemn or take concrete actions that would allay the fear of Liberians and restore law and order to the country is reprehensible. The Association notes Mr. Weah and the ruling CDC’s silence and inaction in addressing these critical state matters imply the government’s insensitivity to ensuring adherence to the rule of law in the country. ALJA says the current wave of mob actions against peaceful citizens coupled with vandalization such as the recent arson attacks on two police stations and a magisterial court in Weala, Margibi County by angry citizens are unhealthy for the peace, stability and political governance in the country.
The Association asserts the prevailing security situation in the country is reminiscent of conditions in 1989 that laid the basis for the ended 14 years civil strife, which caused the mass displacement of Liberians in and outside of the country; and the destruction of more than 200 thousand human lives and millions of dollars’ worth of properties. ALJA warned that unless concrete actions are taken now to mitigate the prevailing security situation, Liberia stands the risk of being plunged into another civil war again; adding, all is not well in the country politically, economically and security wise. In the meantime, the Association has lauded President Weah for his recent outreach to Montserrado County District Number-10 representative Yekeh Kolubah and other members of the Independent Legislative Caucus following days of heightened tension in the country. ALJA urged the President to be more proactive in speaking out and addressing issues of national concern before they spiral out of control.
Meanwhile, ALJA has condemned in the strongest term the recent 72 hours’ ultimatum given Representative Yekeh Kolubah, by a group of thugs simply referred to as former generals of Liberia’s disbanded warring factions to surrender himself to them or face arrest for reported comments made against the group and President Weah.
The Association said it is shameful and heartbreaking to hear former rebels such as Siafa Norman of the disbanded National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), Ofori Diah of the former Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy(LURD), and others, who callously raided villages in Liberia and murdered thousands of Liberians on flimsy accounts, make threatening statements against the safety of a democratically elected lawmaker while the Liberian government through the Ministry of Justice sits back and watch supinely.
ALJA says President Weah and the Liberian government have the constitutional obligation to defend and protect the lives of all residents of the country including Rep. Kolubah against imminent threats to their wellbeing. The Association urged the President to publicly condemn the former rebels and their recent threat to arrest Rep. Kolubah because failure to do so, would insinuate the government’s sanction of the threat made against him. At the same time, the Association has lambasted street protesters and social media broadcasters, who are fond of insulting Liberian government officials, especially President George Weah as a means of venting their discontentment about contemporary developments in the country. The Association notes such posture is distasteful; and it defeats the purpose of media advocacy.
ALJA said Liberians have the constitutional rights to assemble peacefully and be heard by their national leaders, but they must do so with civility; adding, “No amount of profanities spewed at President Weah and his public officials are capable of reversing the current trend of happenings in the country. What Liberia needs now is dialogue and peaceful coexistence where the rule of law would be respected by all Liberians regardless of political dispensations”. Story/FPA
Main pic/Moses Sandy, AJAL