Some former government officials who did not heed the order of President George Weah to return government vehicles that were assigned to them could face his wrath after his two weeks’ ultimatum expires.
Though President Weah did not indicate how many vehicles are involved, he said some former officials of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-led administration are still in possession of vehicles assigned to them while serving in government.
He warned them to turn over those vehicles, an order he had stated prior to his inauguration.
President Weah declared this after he returned home after his three-leg successful visits to Senegal, Morocco, and France.
Speaking at an intercessory service held for his safe return home at the Dominion Church in Congo Town, Monrovia, President Weah said, “Our government is having a problem and these are just simple problems.
“People who worked with the former government are hiding and scrapping vehicles they used in the past government. They are stealing all the cars leaving this new government with the burden to buy new vehicles. What is a car that you cannot be honorable enough to leave behind?
“All of you who took government properties, you have two weeks to bring them back. If not, we will come for them. You have two weeks.”
He added: “We have to be true to our government. I am glad that I am saying it in a church. You got two weeks or we will come for them to be used for the benefit of our country.”
The ultimatum comes amid efforts by the Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA), Mary Broh and her team to retrieve GOL vehicles and other properties from past officials.
This is the second of such an ultimatum as the GSA had initially issued a similar caveat for those former officials to turn in government properties. The initial call might have fallen on deaf ears, but the reiteration by the President seems to add some weight, many officials say.
Many believe that President Weah is gradually realizing that, in spite of his overwhelming victory, it will take tough decisions and measures, sometimes against his own kith, if his administration is to succeed.
Weah’s declaration comes amid speculations about his tenacity, ability and courage to make tough decisions. Although some have considered him politically strong but ineffective, others say his success would definitely boil down to radical decisions and measures.
The President accused some of these former officials of damaging the vehicles and or stealing them while others were hiding the vehicles in bushes. He warned that his government will go for these vehicles if said former officials don’t honorably return them.
Afraid that his government will be accused of witch hunting, he indicated, “We don’t want people to start to accuse us of witch hunting, so the best thing to do is to bring government’s property back. I am not a professor. I am a practical person. I am not here to make the news but to make an impact if I am given the chance.”
“Enforcement only becomes necessary when it becomes unavoidable. Remember, it is initially diplomacy, then sanction, and then force when such a remedy becomes unavoidable,” a top government official told the Daily Observer on Friday.
“Are these stubborn officials saying that all their money and lots of gas slips they benefited from can’t be used to buy their own cars? They should have parked these cars immediately when they were replaced. They are taking this government for a joke, but we will teach those people some lessons,” he added, though he did not mention how many vehicles are involved or who are those still holding on to the vehicles.
Liberians Are Our Own Problem
President Weah also noted that no nation or people should be blamed for the underdevelopment of the Liberian state as the nation is what it is because of greed and corruption.
He blasted critics who believe that Liberia has benefited nothing from her historic and long existing relationship with the United States.
The US Government, Weah indicated, has always assisted Liberia but past governments failed to make these benefits trickle down to change the lives of other Liberians.
“There is no way you can suggest that the US is our problem. America is our ally and France is America’s ally so the friends of America are our friends.
“How can we blame America when we have failed to manage billions of dollars given to this country by America? Why do we want to blame people when we are in charge? Let us change our attitude. Everything that comes in is for the Liberian people.”
He added: “We want to succeed and we want Liberians to succeed. We want our people to benefit so we cannot blame America, China, and France for our setbacks.”
The President called on officials of his government, who have been given the opportunity to serve to do it with diligence. “Those of you with the opportunity to serve, you need to do due diligence and for Liberia to change we must change our attitude,” he said.
Meanwhile, many Liberians have indicated that if the President is to realize his good intentions that are summed up in his ‘Pro-Poor Governance’ mantra, he has to be tough as Liberian government officials always behave like “spoiled children.”
“Weah has to do what he has to do to establish a lasting legacy. But being lenient may make things difficult for him to move forward,” one of his staunch supporters, noted