Postcard from Liberia

Liberians have become increasingly dissatisfied with President George Weah since the former international soccer star took office in January 2018. They feel the pinch as prices rise. At the same time, enormous sums of money have continued to disappear through corruption and maladministration.

Dissatisfaction came to a head on 7 June when thousands demonstrated around government buildings and a group calling itself The Council of Patriots handed in a petition calling for widespread reforms.

“We’re not demanding his resignation. We want him to reform the government and the way he runs the state,” said protester Myer Sayplay. 

The petition urges the president – a former international soccer star – to take “pragmatic steps” to stem corruption and heal Liberia’s wounded economy.

“When you vote for change and nothing happens, you get frustrated,” said another demonstrator, Peter Larman – who two years ago campaigned for Weah. 

Weah himself has said that the next budget will bring in pay reform for the first time in a decade.

However, he said, the government had acceded to an International Monetary Fund demand to stop borrowing from the central bank, a move that would inevitably curb government spending.

Several economists have advised that instead of borrowing less, Weah actually needs money to boost the economy – which is suffering the aftermath of an ebola epidemic, the post-civil war withdrawal of UN troops, inflation and currency devaluation.

//Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, Liberia

The postcards written by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.