We Urge All to Be Peaceful During December 30 Protest

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OVER THE LAST few days and just a day to Monday, December 30, the day on which the Council of Patriots’ (COP) has planned to stage a ‘peaceful’ protest in Monrovia, until certain of their demands are met to cull off the protest, the rhetorics coming from both sides of the aisle have not been helpful to the peace and stability of the State. 

AHEAD OF MONDAY, the tension in the air over Monrovia is high. One can literally feel the intensity of what kind of Monday and the other days that follow is going to be like. 

ALSO, THE RECENT shows of support coming from elements in favor of the regime, have also heightened the fear of those who want their country to stay peaceful despite the present hardship that their country is experiencing. This is not only with those people who are backing the government, even supporters and organizers of the protest themselves, too, have been adding fuel to the fire that has been building since the COP announced few months ago that they would assemble tens of thousands of Liberians in the streets.

INITIALLY, THE COP had said their protest was targeted at getting President George Manneh Weah to step down from the Presidency. Mr. Henry Pedro Costa, who is the Chairman of the COP and who, inarguably, has the loudest of voice among the COP’s voices, have been very succinctly heard on many occasions saying that they were going to gather with only one objective that the President steps down.

COP ACCUSES of the President of many lapses, which according to them are wonton violations of the Constitutions and for those, they were calling on the President to vacate his office. 

HOWEVER, COP, it seems have now tuned down this particular stance of their protest — the call for the President to step down — they have nonetheless, maintained that they intend to remain in the streets until other demands they have made are addressed substantially by the President. 

ACCORDING TO THEM, they have made some concessions, including rescinding on their demand that the President steps down but that the government through President Weah is adamant that it is not going to make any concessions.

AMONG OTHER things, the COP wants the President publically publishes the full report of the investigation into the handling of the US$25 million that the government said it used to mop up excess Liberian dollars from the market.

BEFORE MR. COSTA arrived from the US on December 19, the rhetorics weren’t this high. Since his arrival, the tension in the air has increased very high ahead of Monday, December 30th as both sides have been trading accusations and even threat to the peace and stability of Monrovia, which has been the epicenter of all the hullabaloos. These threats have been very visible. As Costa drove on into the city with his crowd of supporters on the day he arrived, the Police made a stupid security blunder by creating a blockade in the heart of the city after allowing the man and his supporters to travel miles into the capital. There was a standoff and a brief violent situation occurred leaving some innocent people hurt and teargassed. 

ON CHRISTMAS EVE, Mr. Costa reported in one of his live Facebook videos, that as he finished his morning show, The Costa Show, and was leaving his office building, he was attacked by stone-throwing thugs, whom he accused of operating under the commands of the Mayor of Monrovia and also having ties to the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). Two of Costa’s bodyguards were wounded by those men, who wielded sharp instruments, including knifes and machetes. 

IN HIS LIVE VIDEO, he vowed that should he be attacked again, he would defend himself and if means someone getting killed, it will happen.

COSTA’S COMMENTS landed him in soft trouble with some of Liberia’s international partners, including six diplomatic missions nears Monrovia. 

THE AMBASSADORS and Chargés d’Affaires a.i. of the United States, the European Union, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom called him in to clarify what he had said that day in his live video. These diplomats had accused him of using “inflammatory language.” They even issued a joint statement, which they asked Costa to clarify and also called on the government to provide security for the protestors. They even requested them to be peaceful.

COSTA TOLD THIS newspaper that this is what he had said in the video:  “I said that I would defend myself next time if attacked, and that my bodyguards would fend off any future attacks, even if it means killing the attackers. Looking back, I regret those comments.”

EVEN THOUGH he has now withdrawn those comments, the rhetoric and momentum of trouble have now been built from his side. We hope that his supporters who look up to him for “mandate” and “order” will know that he didn’t actually mean what he said that day of causing bodily harm to another person.

ALSO, THE GOVERNMENT, which is charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties, is not doing much to uphold its part of the bargain as thugs are left to run wild doing what pleases them. 

THIS ISN’T GOOD for the peace and stability of the State. Liberia has been relatively at peace with itself and neighbors since August 2003 when former President Charles Taylor went into exile in Calabar, Nigeria. 

FRONTPAGEAFRICA urges everyone, who are the custodians of our peace to tune down their rhetoric and help maintain the peace and stability of the State. Liberians are right now already going through a lot of hardship. The last thing they would not want to be added to their miseries will be instability. The good old book, the Holy Bible states in Proverbs: “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.” 

WE URGE ALL, if the protest will go ahead, to remember to remain peaceful.  

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