Creeping Signs of Militancy a Clear Signal of Violence Ahead of 2023 Elections


LIBERIA HAS a long history of how student advocacy and protest led to national crisis as students are seen as the first group of people who express disenchantment against misrule and high cost of living.

ONE PARTICULAR student grouping with a long history of standing up against successive regimes is the state-run University of Liberia campus-based Student Unification Party (SUP).

DURING PREVIOUS regimes, members of SUP got brutalized and some were killed when they stood up to the government.

SINCE THE INCEPTION of George Weah in 2018, the regime has never been on a good footing with the student movement. 

AT LEAST on two occasions, SUP had accused Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee of using thugs, hooligans, and members of the Youth League of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to attack students on the main campus of the university.

BEFORE THE JULY 26, 2022 celebrations of Liberia’s Independence, the students announced that they were organizing a protest to call the attention of the international community against the suffering of the Liberian people.

AS THE STUDENTS gathered to commence their peaceful protest, group of youths believed to be from the CDC Council of Patriots, a pro-government group, staged a counter-protest, which turned chaotic and bloody, resulting to the public brutalizing of a member of the SUP students movement.

SUP AGAIN engaged in a series of activities such as public condemnations of individuals believed to be corrupt members of the CDC led regime, including former Solicitor General Cyrenius Cephas, an aide to Finance Minister Aloysius Howe and others.

THE STUDENT movement publicly booed these individuals and chased them out of the main campus of the University of Liberia, with the latest against Aloysius Howe believed to have angered officials of the CDC, which accordingly, prompted a sitting lawmaker Acarous Gray of the CDC to announce that he was moving to the University of Liberia campus to have lunch in the cafeteria of the university.

FOLLOWING the pronouncement by Representative Gray on last Friday, several members of the public, including his fellow lawmakers, appealed to him not to appear on the campus of the university in the interest of peace. 

OTHERS TOLD Representative Gray that his action to go to the campus of the university could amount to provocation.

IN A DEFIANT POSTURE, Representative Gray speaking on a local radio station, OK FM, said he has never been challenged by any individual or group of individuals and as such he will go to the university’s main campus to prove he is not a coward.

TRUE TO HIS WORDS, Representative Gray along with group of men, some of whom dressed in military outfits on Monday, March 13 marched to the main campus of the university, thereby disrupting normal activities on the campus.

EARLIER, sensing the imminent danger, the authorities of the university announced the closure of normal activities for the day.

THE ACT OF PROVOCATION by Representative Gray and his followers turned chaotic as stones were thrown between rival groups. Many bystanders recognized some notorious armed robbers and well-known criminal gangs’ leaders of being part of the group that was led by Representative Gray to the campus of the University – which is a very troubling sign.

SOME INDIVIDUALS got wounded and there are reports of serious bodily injuries to many as a consequence of Monday’s menace on the main campus of the university.

NOT LONG, another lawmaker, opposition lawmaker Yekeh Kolubah of Monsterrado District Eight, also went to the University of Liberia’s main campus along with his followers,  and upon entry, was hailed by the students as a “hero”.

THE APPEARANCE of the two lawmakers on the campus of the university with large number of followers points to the issue of militarization of the youth, which is a dangerous sign ahead of 2023 general and presidential elections slated for October.

FOR TWO lawmakers to take rival groups to the university is a sign that the country is threading a very dangerous path ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections.

IN RECENT WEEKS, all lawmakers of the CDC have created their own militant groups, distributing military regalia to young and zealous partisans.

REPRESENTATIVE KOLUBAH also announced that he was training opposition protection force to defend and protect opposition politicians during the electoral process.

THESE ARE disturbing signs ahead of the electoral process, especially when the Liberian National Police is seen as a partisan force. 

FOR LAWMAKER GRAY to ignore the clear signs that his entry on the campus of the University along with group of men could have sparked violence, and also for another lawmaker from the opposition Kolubah to lead a group of supporters to the university, is an indication of battle between supporters of the Government and opposition.

MILITANCY HAS never proven to be good for Liberia and the country is heading for trouble with the current trend of events.

LAWMAKERS should be the major contributors to educating the youth about the danger of violence, rather than leading vulnerable youth into fermenting violence.