As the organizers of the June 7th Save The State protest, Council of Patriots (COP) make the final rounds in creating awareness for tomorrow’s assemble on Capitol Hill, Monrovia, the Liberian leader has emotionally vent out his anger on those who he noted are always in the habit of publicly insulting and ridiculing him will not as of the end of the June 7th protest no longer tolerate their actions.
President George Manneh Weah Speaking when he dedicated a market in the Monrovia suburb of Duport Road in Paynesville on Thursday, June 6, 2019, defied such individuals to continue their attacks on him, noting, “Those that are constantly insulting the President. I want to be cleared for this. That after this, there will be no citizen in this county. I defy you… that will be insulting the President and think you’ll walk the streets freely.”
Ever since he and his ruling CDC took office some 15 months ago (January 22, 2018), the former Liberian football icon-turned politician has been at the receiving end of a barrage of sarcasm, ridicule or insults publically on the Social Media and even on some local radios.
Ordinary people have also come up with folk songs ridiculing the Liberian leader, with one of them going viral on Facebook and being aired on some of the local radio stations.
The head of the CDC government then boasted of being the only Liberian President in the country’s 172 years of independence who has signed the law decriminalizing free speech.
Section 11.11, Criminal Libel; against the President; Section 11.12, Sedition and 11.14, Criminal Malevolence of the Penal Laws of Liberia, which tend to impede freedom of speech and expression and acts committed thereof are considered to be criminal.”
The document further said: “Therefore, the purpose of this Act is to repeal these sections of the penal laws that have the tendency of making Liberia non-compliant. In view of the above and in government’s commitment to uphold the Constitution, the declaration of Table Mountain and other international treaties related to the press and press-related activities, we request that you pass into law this legislation which will repeal these sections of our penal law that has the tendency to impede freedom of speech and expression that we have vowed to protect.
“Liberian codes revised, penal law of 1978 of the Republic of Liberia, Chapter 11, by repealing sections 11. 11, 11.12 and 11.14, to be known as the Kamara Abdullah Kamara act of Press Freedom.”
However, in his June 6, 2019 statement at the opening of the Duport Road market, President Weah warned his critics that while the Liberian constitution gives them the right to freedom of speech, this right must be exercised with responsibility.
This was in an apparent reference to Article 15a of the Liberian constitution which says, “Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible for the abuse thereof. This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this Constitution.”
“Our country is a country of law. People have all the rights to speak out, criticize government or anyone but that right comes with responsibility. Very soon, those who take to public platforms and go beyond the bounds of free speech and insult me and incite the public to violence will be held in consistent with the laws,” President Weah said.
Urging his audience who included market women to spread the news of his defiance of his critics far and wide, President Weah said, “if you’re here, carry the news.”