To achieve a peaceful and stable country, therefore, Liberians must help themselves and not truncate the rule of law or frustrate the healing of old wounds. For example, punishing people with blood on their hands during the wars will help the healing process. Yet it should be done carefully so as not to create more problems in the future. Weah can learn from Rwanda and South Africa how they dealt with reconciling former foes after the 1994 genocide and the crimes of apartheid respectively.

Also, Liberians have a responsibility to protect the freedom of the press, of association and uphold other human rights. Weah has promised not to encumber freedom of speech. However, during a recent press conference, the president accused BBC journalist Jonathan Paye-Layleh of having been ‘against him’ during his times as a human rights activist in the civil war.  Fearing reprisals from Weah’s supporters, Paye-Layleh fled the country, but returned one month later.

Liberia’s Daily Observer newspaper has urged Weah to use Paye-Layleh’s return as an opportunity to resume the national reconciliation process. Going forward, the president should refrain from any action or speech that could create anxiety or be used by supporters to repress real or perceived opponents.

Besides the need for a free press, the country will require strong civil society organisations to act as watchdogs. Other vital state institutions, including the judiciary and police must be guaranteed their independence so that they will be capable of defending its constitution.

Over the last three months, Weah has demonstrated the will and temperament to hold Liberia together. Just as the international community came to Liberia’s rescue during the Ebola crisis four years ago, so it must rally round again to help its rookie president succeed.