Below is my personal transcription of George Manneh Weah’s interview by Star Radio Lower Margibi Correspondent Archie Weaver. Lie man says, I have listened to the interview at least 100 times and I am still shocked speechless. Luckily for me, I can use the pen to transform my thoughts into words.
In a previous article, I advised George to be a gentleman and concede. So much for listening to the advice of a friend. Now, I am more than confused with where he’s going because I have much love for my brother. He has brought many happy moments to me as a staunch Invincible (Invisible) Eleven fan, even prouder moments as a Liberian when I swelled my chest to tell numerous soccer enthusiasts I have met in the U.S. that he is a personal friend of mine. We hung out together, we talked politics together, and we played soccer together!
But where has that George gone?
Let me make it clear that George and the CDC are entitled to due process. As the “aggrieved party” they have every right to contest the elections. I am disappointed that more information is not forthcoming from the NEC. Unfortunately, some are considering their snail pace tantamount to dragging their feet. Some have even gone so far to speculate that they may be intentionally dragging their feet until the inauguration takes place. I find these speculations post haste. According to Part III: Complaints: Types, Section 7. Contested Election, article 7.1 of the Regulations on Complaints and Appeals (July 20, 2005) “Under the Liberian Constitution, Article 83(c) and the New Elections Law, Chapter 6, the primary method for complaint and appeal for parties and candidates contesting an election is through the contested election procedure (or post-election contestation) that seeks to overturn the results of an election. The statutory timelines and procedures … must be strictly complied with.” According to Section 7.4 of the same document, “As provided in Section 6.2 of the New Elections Law, for those complaints involving a contested election, the NEC shall have thirty (30) days to consider the complaint and undertake the necessary investigation before making its determination. In order to accept and consider a post-election contestation complaint, the NEC must find that the errors alleged were not harmless and that they were proved to have affected the results of the election.”
Certainly, the CDC must have filed their protest within the statutory timelines, which is “within seventy-two (72) hours after the occurrence of any event complained of, and in accordance with Section 6.6 of the New Elections Law, all such exceptions must be filed not later than five days after elections day.” If the CDC has so complied, the outer limit for a decision from the NEC is December 16th.
Hence, I will advise my friend to bide his time until December 16th and I will also caution my friend that if he really loves and wants a peaceful Liberia, he should desist from making incendiary (conscious, sub-conscious, or unconscious) statements until a decision has been rendered regarding the CDC’s protest. Subsequent to any dissatisfaction he may have with the NEC’s decision, he can utilize Section 11.1 which states “A complainant whose complaint is rejected in whole or part by the NEC may appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia…” However, the complainant must notify the NEC of their intent to go to court three (3) days before submitting their petition to the court and the NEC has three days to respond to the decision to go to court and an additional three days to review its decision and “communicate in writing its further decision based on” the subsequent review.
Given all of the above, George and the CDC must exhaust the due process before bringing their case to the court of public opinion which is sometimes constituted by easily misguided persons who may interpret/misinterpret the strong words of their leader(s) to be a call to arms.
I suggest that the handlers/advisers of the CDC standard bearer ensure that he goes nowhere near a microphone or press person for fear of what he may say. At the moment his statements are borderline seditious and treasonable. There should be no reason for him to escalate the rhetoric or inflame his discontented followers. Yes, it’s great for George to stand for a cause, especially one he really believes in but to be delusional to the point where he is declaring himself “President of Liberia” is simply incredible to me. Displaying “fraudulent” ballots, making declarations, and spewing accusations are just not enough to convince anyone of the massive level of conspiracy required to rig an election, especially one that was closely observed by the international community. The CDC must make a logical, legal case and pursue the due process of law instead of issuing strongly worded statements that could be destabilizing to the fragile peace we are currently holding on to and/or interpreted as inimical to peace in Liberia.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW
Star Radio Lower Margibi Correspondent Archie Weaver asked Weah if he still maintained he was cheated.
WEAH: I can tell you I am the president of this country. No matter what happened. Like I said to President Mbeki whether you take me out or not it will not change anything. What will change is, uh the peace prevail and justice be done. And give the mantle (word inaudible) to those who deserve it and those that were elected by the people. So uh if not if the world want to change that then we need to go on the table and discuss that when we discussing the country future. There’s no victor in the elections, even though I was but if they say that uh uh they are going to nominate somebody which of course is not right because we are talking about transparency, accountability and true democracy and uh uh peacefulness if they think that it just gonna go like that and this a revolution somebody has to go for the cause and we are prepared. We are prepared for uh Liberia to be free for Liberia to be staple (sic) run by an elected president the president that the people elected so I am back home, people say a lot of things I know they have the media they have everything they saying that I ran away from Liberia. How can I run from my country? There was legitimate government I stayed here with all the harassment and I stayed here. I served my nation. I cannot run no matter what the circumstances may be I will always be around here. You know I will always be around. This is my country and nobody can take me from this country.
Q. Ambassador Weah, you met with President Mbeki and President Kuffour what they asking you to accept and what they asking you not to accept?
WEAH: Well uh uh they telling me we need to have a meeting because it’s very serious. There should be no victor we should look for a way forward for a peaceful Liberia so I think it was a good message and uh Honorable President Mbeki was not thinking about who they select or who they elect. What he was thinking about is that uh how Liberia can be peaceful because it is very important for Africa so I think it was uh a very good thing.
Q. So as candidate for CDC what are you going to accept?
WEAH: I was elected by the people and I was elected by the people. I showed the evidence and uh As far as I am concern I am the president of the Republic of Liberia. So whether they accept that or not I was elected and uh the world must know that I won a peaceful election. Two times I was elected and uh we have to face that.
Q. So you still serious?
WEAH: Definite! I showed evidence and everybody know and uh so there’s a need for us to discuss and I am very happy that I am back home you know to see my supporters. I remain resolute no matter what happen you know and I will always seek for a peaceful Liberia and for Liberia to move on and for Liberians to enjoy the country once again.”