Once Upon A Time: When Mother and Son Fuss Over National Wealth, Whose Right And Whose Wrong?

By Joel Cholo Brooks |

Flash Back: President Weah apparently seeking the advise from the than Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Last week Monrovia, Africa’s oldest city was overwhelmed with unhealthy allusion when the former Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a tweet suggested to the current Liberian leader, President George Manneh Weah, that “The opulence displayed at the lighting of the Liberian President Christmas Tree was indeed impressive, but with the country’s difficult economic climate it is an affront to the thousands who have not been paid and are hungry.”

This tweet from the former President who ushered in the current President after her regime is not taken lightly.  In a couple of harsh responses, President Weah said:  “Madam former President, let me refresh your memory about what Opulence is: Opulence is when Chevron gives 10 million USD or CSR and you gave it to your son to squander.”

But this tweet by the former Liberian leader did not go down well with President Weah who instead took the airwave to expose the former President Sirleaf by publicly giving cynical definitions of opulence, President Weah continued:  “Opulence is when you have 4 billion in Foreign direct investment, but leave Liberia in abject squalor and poverty; Opulence is when you have 11 budget shortfalls in 12 years and yet spent tens of millions of failed projects like the Executive Mansion repair fiasco, Opulence is when after 12 years of billions of dollars of Foreign Aid, you still leave the country with 1 billion dollars debt that my government is now paying back.”

“There are a 1000 more examples, but let me leave you with these for now.  Opulence is not when you use an old Christmas Tree and Choirs to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus,” President Weah in a rather emotional state of mind told the former President Sirleaf.

Another comment also challenged President Weah to respond to an alert by the US Embassy near Monrovia cautioning its citizens to take some good amount of cash along with them because the country’s Central Bank has run out of cash.

The war of words between both notable persons of Africa’s oldest republic generated  lots of comments on social media, with Liberians expressing their reactions on comments from both leaders amid the unbearable situation being faced, including the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 which sweeping away the millions of lives globally with Liberia been of no exception.

President Weah on Tuesday evening, December 18, 2018, lit the National Christmas Tree on the grounds of the Executive Mansion.

Before switching on the Christmas Tree, President Weah described light as life, and invoked God’s blessings and merry tidings upon Liberians as they celebrate this year’s festive seasons.

“We all know that light is life,” the President said. “As I light these lights on the Christmas Tree, it is my prayer that our good God will give each of us long life, joy and peace of Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”

Lighting of the Christmas Tree is an annual activity often performed by the President of Liberia to symbolically usher citizens into the festive season of sharing, giving and compassion.

In a rejoinder to Madam Sirleaf’s tweet, President Weah who prides himself as the only President who has carried out more developments than any President in Liberia’s history, posted to Facebook late Monday evening:

Madam Former President, let me refresh your memory about what OPULENCE is:

OPULENCE is when Chevron gives 10 Million USD as CSR and you gave it to your son to squander.

OPULENCE is when you have 4 billion in foreign direct investment, but leave Liberia in abject squalor and poverty.

OPULENCE is when you have 11 budget shortfalls in 12 years and yet spent tens of millions on failed projects like the Executive Mansion repair fiasco.

OPULENCE is when you spent over a million dollars for Oil Law Consultations; only to bring your high school student grandchild to speak to experts.

OPULENCE is when after 12 years of billions of dollars of Foreign Aid, you still leave the country with 1 billion dollars debt that my government is now paying back.

There are 1000 more examples, but let me leave you with these for now. OPULENCE is not when you use an old Christmas Tree and Choirs to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus.

“Madam Former President, let me refresh your memory about what OPULENCE is: … OPULENCE is when you have 11 budget shortfalls in 12 years and yet spent tens of millions on failed projects like the Executive Mansion repair fiasco,” the Liberian leader replied to former President Sirleaf.

With all of these jabs from both leaders of our country, this writer believed that with such unhealthy tweets coming from people who should be considered as good image of our country must be discourage, and further create those things that will forge Liberia ahead amongst the comity of nations.

Here ends my story

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About Cholo Brooks 14335 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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