Monrovia – Students of the University of Liberia over the weekend blocked the vehicle of the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel McGill from attending a fundraiser on the university’s Capitol Hill campus.
Minister McGill had been invited to serve as chief launcher of the fundraiser, organized by the Centennial Class of the Graduate and Professional School. McGill, who had joined an array of guests including the Special Representative of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia, Babatunde O. Ajisomo, to grace the occasion was prevented from stepping out of his vehicle at the entrance of the auditorium by the students.
The university students, predominantly of the Student Unification Party (SUP), surrounded the Minister’s vehicle, chanting “rogue, rogue” and battle cries. They refused to leave the premises despite the intervention of the administration and the Centennial Class’ officials. All effort exerted failed and after more than half an hour of waiting, the Minister was forced to vacate the area for fear of his security and the disruption of the fundraiser, which was being held to construct a multipurpose peace hut at the University.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica later, the Secretary-General of SUP, Ephraim T. Nyumah, stated their action was the students’ way of repudiating the Weah-led Government’s over the handling of the country. Nyumah said it was unacceptable for government’s officials to continually be seen in public gathering donating money and making hefty pledges while civil servants are not being paid.
According to him, the Weah-led Government has failed on all of its promises made to the Liberia people, chief among them are the pledge to fight corruption and reduce poverty. He pointed out the Government’s failure to prosecute those responsible for the mismanagement of the US$25 million and the harsh living condition of the citizens are some of the visible signs of the administrations’ failure. “They came to power on the mantle of change, but what change do we have now? Is it a change of corruption?” he asked rhetorically.
“We as students of the University of Liberia, we as citizens of Liberia are not impressed with the manner and form in which President Weah is running the country. So, we assemble there peacefully to remind him that under this administration we have US$25millon used in a mop up exercise that cannot be accounted for today.” Minister McGill is not the only top government officials that have been shun by the students of the University of Liberia of late.
Following the firing of former UL President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, and immediate appoint of Dr. Julius S. Nelson by President Weah, the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Wilson Tarpeh, was booed by the students when he visited the Capitol Hill campus. Prof Tarpeh, who served as Vice President for Fiscal Affairs of UL had apparently passed by to greet faculty and administration in the wake of the change in leadership, but was greeted by jeers and anti-administration slogans, something that prompted his swift departure from the campus. President Weah was overwhelmingly elected in 2017 with the hope by many Liberians that he would change the status quo and improve their living condition.
Nearly two years later, that hope, for some, is being dashed amid a failing economy and allegations of mismanagement of public funds. This has led to series of protests, some by oppositions, supporters and civil servants – either for bad governance or salary and incentives. Little has been done to diffuse these resentments that are being felt and expressed in every street corner and work places. For the students, publicly shunning these public officials, especially those near the presidency is a way of sending out the message to the President that they are not happy with the way he is steering the affairs of state.
“Minister McGill is a beneficiary of the Weah’s administration. Like the President, he is amassing considerable wealth over a short time, while the citizens are languishing in poverty. Their refusal to make their assets public while acquiring more wealth shows they are corrupt and we will shun them. The Government is incompetent and lacks what it takes to run a state,” The SUP Secretary-General vented. source frontpageafricaonline
Main Photo: Nathaniel Mcgill, Minister Prsidential Affairs