Liberia: Collaborating Political Parties, Council of Patriots Threaten Separate Sustained Protests against Weah-led Administration
MONROVIA – The four major opposition political parties have announced the staging of a series of sustained protests beginning October 28, but the Council of Patriots (COP) – a movement which forms a formidable part of the opposition block – also intends staging a separate protest for reasons similar to the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP). Theirs would start on November 16.
The CPP which comprises the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP) and the Unity Party (UP)
Their reason for protesting, according to them, is to mount pressure for the National Elections Commission to clean up the 2017 Voter Roll and cancel the just-ended voter roll update in a bid to ensure a fair and transparent election.
CPP: “We cannot overemphasize the importance of protecting your votes and ensuring that your voices are heard at the ballot box. A fraudulent and rigged election could be detrimental to our peace and stability.
“This decision comes at a time when our country is on a path of imminent decay as our systems fail us. We cannot overemphasize the importance of having a free, fair and credible elections.”
The protest was also necessitated by refusal of Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh to grant them a Writ of Mandamus which would have compelled the NEC to carry out the clean-up exercise.
In a press conference held at its headquarters in Monrovia on Wednesday, the Chairman of the CPP asserted that “By the brazenness of her decision, Associate Justice Yuoh has issued a warning to the CPP and the opposition community that challenging the integrity of the current electoral process is an exercise in outright futility. This is despite the fact that election remains the most sacred process of our democracy, and is a trigger for conflicts. By her decision, the Associate Justice also leaves the CPP sadly impressed that the Supreme Court, the anchor of our democracy, is wanting in courage, grievously stricken by a lack of independence, and overcome by external political considerations and maneuvers.”
The CPP argued that Associate Justice Youh action is tantamount to shielding the NEC from answering to what is unavoidably at the heart of the credible conduct of the ensuing Mid-term Senatorial Elections.
In their Thursday’s statement, the CPP indicated that “This decision comes at a time when our country is on a path of imminent decay as our systems fail us. We can not overemphasize the importance of having a free, fair and credible elections. We can not overemphasize the importance of protecting your votes and ensuring that your voices are heard at the ballot box. A fraudulent and rigged election could be detrimental to our peace and stability.”
COP: ‘It’s Us They’re Afraid Of
The Council of Patriots whose members are dominantly members of the CPP, believes their protest would rather make an impact. Shortly after the CPP released the statement, the chairman of the CPP, Mr. Henry P. Costa posted to Facebook: “Don’t let them fool you. It is the CoP they’re afraid of. We will still protest beginning November 16. We named 10 reasons for our protest. You have done just one, 9 more to go.”
Mr. Costa was, however, referring to the call of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority decision to have GSM companies in the country to rescind the sudden increment in the prices of voice call and mobile data which was introduced on Thursday as a result of the surcharges.
With majority of the CPP leadership also being leaders of the CoP, it is not clear how the two institutions would organize the simultaneous protests which are expected to be sustained until demands are met.
In its press statement the CPP noted that: “The unabated divisiveness, the rampant corruption, the increasing wave of violence on peaceful Liberian citizens by well-funded CDC thugs and state security actors paid with our tax dollars cannot continue. Enough is enough. We can longer sit back and allow this madness to continue unchecked. Our constitution under article 17 clearly guarantees us the right to peaceably assemble in order to draw the government’s attention to our disenchantment, frustration, agony, pain, and suffering at the very hands of a government that swore an oath to protect us all.”
According to the CoP, the legislature has flagrantly neglected its solemn duty to checkmate the excesses of the administration.
Like the CPP, the CoP has resolved to stage a nationwide nonstop peaceful protest beginning on Monday, November 16, 2020 and will continue until their concerns are addressed by the Weah administration.
Reasons for their protests include: the unresolved US$25 million mop-up scandal; the government’s failure to pay health care workers and address their grave concerns; the fraudulent just-ended voter roll update exercise and its implications on the pending senatorial elections; the wave of violence against peaceful citizens by CDC thugs and state security actors; the worsening economic crisis in the country and its accompanying hardship on the lives of Liberians with no mitigating efforts by the government; the unexplained failure of the much heralded COVID-19 stimulus package for which 50 million dollars was borrowed from the IMF.
Others include the consistent abuse of our constitution and disregard for the rule of law; the violation and abuse of our national budget law led by Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah; the increase by up to 100% or more in the cost of voice call and data services thereby reducing access to these services by vast majority of Liberian and the recent gravely disturbing scandal of government officials selling our passports and conferring upon anyone who can afford to pay, our prestigious diplomatic portfolios, on an industrial scale.