New Liberian President George Manneh Weah said the best way to help the poor is to ensure that public resources do not end up in the pockets of government officials.
Weah, a United Methodist and former soccer star, was officially sworn in as president of Liberia at a ceremony in the country’s capital Jan. 22. Weah succeeds fellow United Methodist Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
During the induction ceremony, Weah said the overwhelming mandate he received from the Liberian people during his campaign was to end corruption in public service. “I promised to deliver on this mandate,” he stressed. “Though corruption is a habit amongst our people, we must end it.”
Weah, a member and usher at Georgia Pattern United Methodist Church, pointed out that it is time for government officials to put the good of the people above their own selfish interests. “We must pay civil servants a living wage, so that corruption will not be an excuse for taking what is not theirs,” he warned.
Amidst huge applause, Weah told the Liberian people that corrupt officials who will not refrain from enriching themselves at the expense of others will be prosecuted.
He said the government owed citizens clarity on fundamental issues, such as their rights to land, freedom of speech, and how national resources and responsibilities are going to shift from the capital of Monrovia to the rest of the counties.
He further pointed out that people expect better cooperation and more action from the government.
“We can do better, together,” he said, adding that the fundamental human rights that people deserve must be held up and measured against the actions of their government.
Weah attributed his presidential victory to the youth of the country, as well as women and those who make their living by selling in the markets.
Quoting U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s famed Gettysburg Address, Weah said his government is “the government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
He also thanked the U.S. people and government for their dedicated support over the years.
“The Republic of Liberia has a strong historic relationship with the United State of America, which has manifested itself in several ways and that relationship will even be stronger under my administration,” he said.
By E Julu Swen