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From rats to snakes, another African president chased out of office by animals

April 20, 2019 at 07:29 am | News

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Staff Writer

April 20, 2019 at 07:29 am | News

Liberian President George Weah. Pic credit: UPI

Liberian President George Weah has been forced to work from home after snakes were found in his office on Thursday.

Two black snakes were found emerging from a hole in the reception area of the foreign affairs ministry building that serves as the presidential office, according to the AFP.

The office of the president has been in that building since a fire gutted the presidential palace in 2006 during independence celebrations.

The president would now work from home until the building was fumigated, the press secretary, Smith Toby, said. All workers have also been asked to stay away until Monday, April 22.

“It’s just to make sure that crawling and creeping things get fumigated from the building,” Toby told the BBC.

The AFP reports that officials are yet to confirm the species of snake found, though Liberia is home to several poisonous and harmless snakes that are black.

This is not the first time that an unwanted animal has forced a head of state from his office in Africa. In 2017, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was forced to work from home after rats damaged his office during his long period of overseas medical absence.

The rats damaged the furniture and air conditioning in the president’s office in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, while he was in the UK receiving treatment.

Many Nigerians raised eyebrows about the reasons given for Buhari working from home, considering concerns about his health at the time.

But government officials insisted that he had to use his private residence for official duties since his office required renovation. Buhari returned to his office inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after spending almost three months working from home.

However, Liberian President Weah would return to his office on Monday after the fumigation whether or not the snakes are found and killed, Toby said.

Workers had attempted to kill the snakes when they appeared near the building’s reception but failed.

“There was a little hole somewhere [through which] they made their way back,” Toby said.

Officials started to fumigate on Friday, Toby said.

“That building’s been there for years now, and [because of] the drainage system, the possibility of having things like snakes crawling in that building was high,” he told the BBC.

Weah, who was in the news recently for opening his own church, caused controversy after asking his citizens to pray for two hours every day for God’s intervention in solving some of the country’s enormous economic problems.

The former football star further urged his countrymen and women to hold an all-night prayer vigil on the final Friday of each month for God’s blessings and guidance.

When Weah assumed power in Liberia in January this year, he promised to reform the economy that has been struggling to recover following the 2014-15 Ebola crisis, to fight corruption and nepotism and bring in a new era for the West African country.

Critics say these are yet to materialize, adding that the president should think of practical ways of tackling the problems instead of asking for divine intervention.

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