Former Liberian Envoy Calls For More Protests Until President Weah Reshuffles Gov’t, Dismiss Officials Sanctioned by the U.S.

Mr. Gabriel Williams

Sacramento, CA – 8/22/22: A former Liberian diplomat to the United States is calling on President George Weah to immediately reshuffle his government and appoint competent and credible individuals, following the recent imposition of sanctions on three senior Liberian government officials by the United States due to their alleged involvement in rampant corruption.

According to a press statement, Mr. Gabriel I.H. Williams said the sanctions imposed by the United States on Liberia’s Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel F. McGill, Solicitor General Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Tweahway have caused a serious loss of public confidence in President Weah and his government, He added that it was in view of reports of the alleged looting of Liberia’s national coffers by the President and the criminal few within his inner circle, that Weah’s government was recently described as being “kleptocratic” in nature by U.S. Congressman Christopher H. Smith.

On August 15, 2022, The United States imposed sanctions on Minister McGill, Solicitor General Cephus, and Managing Director Twehway for their alleged involvement in public corruption in Liberia. The United States government has charged that the three sanctioned individuals have contributed to Liberia’s worsening corruption.

In the press statement, the former Liberian diplomat noted that the sanctions imposed on the three close associates of President Weah indicate that Mr. Weah and the few in senior government positions, like Mr. McGill and his alleged criminal collaborators, have proven to be incapable custodians of the public trust, considering that corruption, secret killings of defenseless citizens, and rape of babies and little girls have become widespread with impunity in Liberia.

It is in view of the foregoing that Mr. Williams is calling on President Weah to immediately reshuffle his government and appoint individuals with proven competence and integrity to serve the public good. He demands that Mr. Weah announce the dismissal of those individuals, who have brought disgrace to our country at a time post-war Liberia must be seen internationally to be threading a path of sustainable peace and progress through a government that demonstrates commitment to democratic governance, such as accountability and the rule of law.

The former Liberian diplomat to the United States is also calling on Liberians of all walks of life, especially leaders and members of civil society groups that have championed the cause against corruption in Liberia, to launch a public protest against the Weah government until the President yields to public demand to dismiss Minister McGill and his alleged criminal collaborators, who he has simply tried to shield by suspending them from office. He also calls on Liberians to pressure President Weah to reshuffle the entire government by appointing individuals with the competence and credibility to ensure public trust in the government.

Mr. Williams cautions the Liberian police and soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia not to be used by Weah’s “kleptocratic” government” to terrorize the people who are advocating for their rights under his government, which continues to demonstrate that it is not accountable to the people. He warned the Liberian police, which have become increasingly partisan as a lynch mob for Weah’s regime, to learn from what happened recently in neighboring Sierra Leone, where angry anti-government protesters attacked and killed many police officers, who the government had unleashed to terrorize people protesting against widespread government corruption and incompetence, and extreme economic hardship.

On April 22, 2021, Mr. Williams, a former leader of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), and two other former leaders of the PUL, Messrs Emmanuel D. Abalo and Isaac D.E. Bantu, wrote a letter to the Biden administration, calling on the U.S. to sanction government officials who are allegedly involved in widespread corruption in Liberia.

The letter, which was addressed to the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, drew the attention of the U.S. to an alarming state of bad governance in Liberia and urged the Biden administration to institute relevant diplomatic actions to prevent economic collapse and unrest in the post-war country, the press statement concluded.

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