Delivering a sermon at his church in Paynesville, outside Monrovia recently, the Nimba County Senator reiterated that the country does not need a court that would judge war or economic criminals for the nation’s prosperity and progress.
Rather, he stated that what Liberia needs most is a church of Jesus Christ that will redeem the entire nation.
Sen. Johnson, a former leader of the erstwhile Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), pointed out that President Weah, being a wise man, will not succumb to any pressure to endorse the establishment of said court here.
“I am confused, when we hear on the other side again the people say war crimes court. But I have a message for you. A world court is coming with Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming to judge the world and the judgment will start from the church-from the Deacons to the pastors. The Catholic priests, their Bishops [I mean everybody],” added PYJ amid cheers from the congregation.
However, contrary to the Sen. Johnson’s assertion, President Weah, while addressing the 74th United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in New York in the United States of America (USA)on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 on the Liberian state of affairs, said his government is a “listening administration” and will pay keen attention to Liberian people’s quest, citing specific issue of the establishment of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia that has long dragged on for more than a decade now.
He expressed the willingness of the Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC) led-Government to implement the recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report, one of which is the establishment of a war and economic crimes court in the country.
“What I have discerned from their cries is that it is important to bring closure to the wounds from the 14 years of Liberia’s brutal civil war, and that we need to agree on a mechanism that would guarantee the sustenance of peace, stability, justice, and reconciliation, as well as enhance our prospects for economic recovery,” the President told the gathering of world leaders at the UNGA.
He disclosed that since his last appearance at the UN there has been rising “chorus of voices” from people of all walks of life for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court.
“These voices include not only thousands of war victims, but also some of the alleged perpetrators, who seem to wish to either clear their names or their conscience,” the Liberian leader, among other things, added.
At the same time, President Weah raised his political credential at the 74thUNGA, disclosing that despite sporadic street protests and agitations against his administration, there are no political prisoners in Liberia.
In his second speech at the UNGA since his ascendency, President Weah noted that in his year and half of leadership, several protests have taken place from time to time but all of them ended peacefully.
He said his Government welcomed the protests, something he said, is “a positive manifestation of our democratic maturity.”
The Liberian Leader averred that he remains committed and focused to upholding the constitutional mandate, including ensuring all democratic rights of the citizenry and guaranteed the protection of all. President Weah said he would do all within his powers to ensure that peace prevails in Liberia, a charge kept for almost two years of his presidency.
“Our country is today a beacon of democracy in Africa, where freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of association and other political and democratic rights are respected, under the rule of law,” the Liberian Chief Executive told the UNGA.
He continued: “The political environment remains vibrant, with political actors and parties freely exercising their franchise and participating in various elections. I am delighted to report that there are no political prisoners in Liberia, and existing laws that hindered or threatened press freedom have been de-criminalized”.
In spite of all these, President Weah said the country is beginning to witness the emergence of a creeping threat to the democratic space, and to the hard-won peace and stability.
He frowned at what he termed as unacceptable action by some individuals, within and out of the country, particularly those who have lost democratically-held elections, who have resorted to incitement, threats of violence, misuse of social media, and hate speech, with the aim and objective of achieving power through undemocratic means.
“For democracy to thrive, all Liberians, including both the ruling parties and the opposition parties, must respect the rule of law, and abide by the procedures and regulations prescribed therein,” President Weah indicated.
“We must all learn to respect the mandates of the electorates, even when that mandate is not in our favor, and not be selective in our support for democracy only when we win,” President warned people bent on divisive and anti-democratic behaviors.
He further stressed that in the midst of uncertainty and heightened tension in global politics, security, and trade while at the same time the global economy is also under undue stress, security tension is on the rise in many parts of the world.
This, the Liberian Leader said, calls for all hands to come on deck for the good and development of the Country.
President Weah called on the UNGA and partners alike, to lend support and sustain democracy something he said is cardinal to maintaining peace and security, economic recovery and development in totality saying “trade protectionism and climate change are having unintended consequences especially on developing countries including Liberia.
“We strongly believe in the ability of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security, foster friendly relations among nations, and promote social progress, better living standards, and human rights. We continue to have faith and confidence in the United Nations as the best universal institution to guide the nations of the world in peaceful and harmonious interactions”, he emphatically stated.
Reflecting on the theme of the 74th General Assembly, “Galvanizing Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion,” President Weah intimated that itreminded him about the responsibility to focus on achieving the purpose of the United Nations in principle and practice, saying “my Government has developed and is implementing a national development plan which supports the theme”.
“Our Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) is intended to serve as our compass for reconstruction, development, and modernization. While it gives priority to poverty reduction, it is also intended to support the efforts of middle- and upper-income Liberians to grow and prosper,” President Weah averred.
Rallying support from Liberians and the UNGA, President . Weah said the PAPD equally centered on infrastructure development, road construction, road connectivity, and agriculture as well as emphasizing women and youth empowerment, qualitative education and good healthcare delivery”.
He said the PAPD is beginning to face significant implementation challenges, due to the continued decline in prices of our major exports, revenue shortfalls, and structural imbalances. Increasing inflation and currency depreciation tend to reduce the purchasing power of our citizens, thus placing further burdens on their standard of living.
President Weah said his government is cognizant of the challenges and committed to finding practical solutions to resolve them but require the collectiveness of all Liberians.
“Fellow Liberians, both at home and abroad, let me say that without peace, there can be no progress or development. All Liberians, therefore, have a responsibility to maintain the peace that we now enjoy, especially those of you who desire to be future leader of Liberia; remember, it was the love of liberty that established us as a country. It was our unity that made us the First Independent African Republic, and it will take our joint efforts to sustain the peace, develop and reconcile our nation and gain economic stability,” the Liberian leader added.