THE DISMISSAL of Minister of Post and Telecommunication, Cllr. Cooper Kruah, by the George Weah government, is a shameful attack on democracy and a clear sign of political intolerance. The reason for his dismissal – attending a rally of the opposition Unity Party – is a blatant violation of his fundamental right to political association and a dangerous precedent for the country’s political future.
CLLR. KRUAH is the chairman of the Movement for Democratic Reconstruction (MDR) – the party from which the Unity Party’s Joseph Boakai picked his running mate for the October elections.
IT IS CLEAR that Pres. Weah’s action is in retaliation to MDR’s withdrawal of political support to his government and rather choosing to support an opposition party.
WHILE WE HAVE no say in this political gameplay, we see the President’s action as being dangerous to our democratic growth and it could breed the consolidation of a one-party state.
AS A democratically-elected government, the Weah administration should respect the right of every citizen to express their political views freely, regardless of their position or affiliation. It is unacceptable that a government that claims to uphold democratic values would take such punitive action against a member of its own cabinet simply for exercising his right to free speech and association.
THIS IS NOT the first time the Weah administration has demonstrated its disregard for democratic principles. Over the past few years, there have been several instances of intimidation and harassment of opposition members, journalists, and civil society activists. The dismissal of Minister Kruah is just the latest in a long line of actions that undermine democracy and the rule of law in Liberia.
BY DISMISSING a cabinet member for attending a political rally, the Weah government is sending a chilling message to all Liberians that a second-term Weah-led government would only appoint or employ bonafide members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). And this would be a clear violation of constitutional rights and a blatant attempt to silence dissenting voices. This is not the way a democratic government should behave.
THE WEAH government must respect the fundamental rights of all Liberians to express their political views freely, without fear of retribution or punishment. The government must also take concrete steps to ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected and that the country’s democratic institutions are strengthened.
WHEN POLITICAL loyalty is the only criterion for hiring, there is a risk of nepotism and cronyism. This can lead to corruption as people are appointed to positions based on their connections rather than their qualifications and expertise.
WHEN ONLY MEMBERS of the ruling party are employed, there is a risk of polarization in society. This can lead to social and political divisions as people feel excluded from the government and the decision-making process. This can ultimately undermine democracy and social cohesion.
THE DISMISSAL of Minister Kruah by the George Weah government is a shameful attack on democracy and a clear violation of his fundamental rights. We see this not just as an attack on the opposition block, but on all Liberians with dissenting views and opinions on the CDC-led government, especially as the October elections draw closer.