Liberia: Weah Govt. Official Draws Congau- Indigenous Line Ahead of June 7 Protest
Monrovia – Racing against time to quell the noise surrounding a planned protest against the George Weah-led government, some Liberian officials have taken to the social medium Facebook to threaten organizers and sympathizers, going as far as suggesting that a counter-protest is in the works to resist those planning the June 7 protest dubbed, Save the State.
The most recent comments from the controversial Eugene Fahngon, Deputy Minister for Press and Public Affairs at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism goes a step further, bordering tribal lines and insinuating that those organizing the Save the State protest are predominantly from the
Americo-Liberian descendants, Congau, pitting them(the Congau) against the indigenous or
Fahngon’s ‘Assembly of Country People’
Mr. Fahngon is threatening to lead a protest on Day Two of the Save the State protest on June 8, 2019.
Mr. Fahngon writes: “Nov.12,1985 the patriotic forces. Dec.24,1989 National Patriotic Forces; June 15,1990, Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL); June 7, 2019 Council of Patriots…. I will exercise my constitutional right to freedom of association as provided for in article 78 …… I will march from the ATS (Antoinette Tubman Stadium) to the SKD (Samuel Kanyon Doe) Sports Complex on Saturday, June 8, 2019 alongside the assembly of country people (a c p) to show appreciation to president Weah for the great job done in a year and half. My regalia will be emblematic of our fallen heroes to the canons of Matilda Newport and the patriotic forces as seen above who made us kill each other in a senseless and brutal war.”
Minister Fahngon adds:
“With the deaths of over 250 thousand Liberian citizens still fresh on our minds, most of whom indigenous Liberians, the council of patriots have invigorated and necessitated the assembly of country people. The likes of Benoni Urey who was listed for the illegal purchase of arms that killed Liberians during the Taylor regime; the likes of Charles Brumskine who authored the infamous status of forces agreement that saw the reduction in ECOMOG troops leading to the deaths of thousands of Liberians…. The likes of Sen. Oscar cooper alias captain marvel whose alliance with the NPFL produced nothing but massacres in Lofa, Harbel, Duport Road…etc. The likes of Sando Johnson; Chief Custodian of the NPFL and of course Gen. Yekeh Kolubah.
After allowing members of the patriots consortium to enjoy peace and democratic leadership for 12 years, the people of this country cannot afford to surrender their country to militant aristocrats. Therefore, they’ve decided too , to organize under the banner “the assembly of country people”…..
To suggest that holding a rally to appreciate a leader for restoring hope and confidence to a lost generation in addition to massive development, under the banner of “assembly of country people” is divisive……is to suggest that the council of patriots assembly is genocidal.
I Eugene Lami Gbayangbatumah Fahngon, will on Saturday, June 8, 2019 ….in the exercise of my constitutional right and in conformity with the law; march alongside the “assembly of country people ” from the a t s to the SKD Sports Complex. I believe that the assembly of country people means…….people from the country of Liberia.”
While Minister Fahngon says the views expressed are his personal, and not the government’s, many have taken the government’s silence over the minister’s rants as well as the rants of others, to mean that the negative comments have the government’s blessings.
Senator: ‘Fully Aware of Country People Assembly
Senator Sando B. Johnson-(NPP Bomi County) told FrontPageAfrica Sunday that those in the hierarchy of the ruling party must stop the likes of party chair Mulbah Morlu, Rep. Acarous Moses Gray (CDC, District No. 8, Montserrado County) and Fahngon from making statements which could bring the government into public disrepute.
Senator Johnson says the issuing of threats and insults on the organizers and the public of the June 7 peaceful assembly speaks volumes but warned, “the threats will not help but rather strengthen our resolve for the assembly.”
Added the Senator: “We are fully aware that the so-called Assembly of Country People organized by Government officials is intended to cause chaos in the country on day two of our peaceful protest. This will not help you people but put of all of you in trouble. We will remain and continue to be peaceful in all of our activities regarding the protest. If you people choose the path of violence or to put intruders in our protest to cause unnecessary trouble, the blame will be on the government and the CDC, because the world and the Liberian people will be the best witnesses to determine the troublemakers. You are calling for meeting of the some organizers in pretense of you wanting to be seeing as a person who wants a dialogue, but at the same time organizing a counter protest to cause chaos, you did the same thing with ex rebels generals that almost brought to a standstill, The COP leadership of the June 7 protest is an uncompromising group of intellectuals and cannot be used like the ex rebels generals.”
As division heightens, those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder continue to experience hardship.
In calls to the Henry Costa morning show last week, several female callers lamented the lingering hardships they are being forced to endure.
‘Every day is a Living Hell’
Mardia, a caller from Jacobs Town, caring for her two daughters by selling potato greens to survive says, “Everyday is a living hell. The thing we are going through in this country here, that’s the hell we are in. The problem these people brought to us here. The only thing I want to tell you, please start telling us how to start mobilizing, where we will gather, where we are getting our T-Shirt to get in the street. George Weah and his people are not treating us right.”
Mardia says things were much better during the former regime of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf compared to now. “We used to sell every day and was able to feed our families; but now people are eating two-three-day soup. Nowadays, our market just spoiling on the table because people are not buying like before. This is the kind of poverty life we are living in our own country just like it was during the war time.”
Ma Elizabeth, another caller wailed: “The thing we put ourselves in, only God can take us out. The way things hard in this country. I’m a mother of six living children, to find food it’s not easy, to send the children to school now it’s not easy, to pay their last school fees, it’s not easy my son. June 7, me and my children, we will be in front of Oppong Place until he can answer us.”
Princess Karpeh, another caller into the show lamented: “We are really suffering in this country. I put my trust in the president but at the end of the day, things are not working out for us. We are not seeing anything, nothing happening for us. We are dying, go in the market, go see food prices, things are increasing on the daily basis, our mothers, fathers can’t take pay. What is happening in this country? We voted for change but nothing is happening.”
Bendu Dukuly from Duala adds that the conditions these days are dire. “Do you know that even the free school that was announced, students are now facing lots of challenges. We go to Fendall in the morning and we await current. The entire building is dark and some of us that plan our classes up to 5pm, it’s not easy for us. We have not been having classes. Our night classes have not been successful for the past two weeks. No current.”
Pitting Country Against Congau
All this as the government recently announced an ambitious new measure to delay the submission of the FY 2019-2020 National Draft Budget to House, which is expected to include significant shakeups and twenty five percent salary cuts across the board for civil servants. “Our budget process has been such a way that the revenue that we collect and the expenditure we do every budget year are misaligned. In other words, our spending is a little bit higher than what our true revenue potential is and that could lead deficit financing, borrowing. So, we are working to bring down that expenditure in line with what the true revenue potential is,” Finance and Economic Planning Minister Samuel Tweah said
Some women who are planning to be among the numbers protesting on March 7 say Minister
Fahngon crossed the line. “We try talking but it seems George Weah, he doesn’t want to understand, says Ruth Bryant. “He thinks that we are on the football field. His people are saying that we who voted for him are Congau people. Is it a bad thing we did by voting for him? My mother and father from Maryland, so, he’s telling me, I’m Congau woman too? President Weah, the women of Liberia. If you know that woman born you, come to yourself. Since you don’t want to hear the cry of the Liberian people, the day something ready to happen, only your one will be there.”
Another woman identified as Leemu from the Paynesville area laments: “This Congau vs. Country thing, I don’t think it is important to the government. For me, I sell in the market. I’m someone who used to have it in the past regime but because things are so bad now, I end up eating into my savings. Then around me, the crime rate has increased. At my house, every night I’m hungry. Whether Congau or not June 7 I will be on the street. We the women, we regret putting George Weah in power. We are paying 50 LD for rice, some of us dropped out of school because we can’t afford to pay the fees. George Weah needs to listen to the Liberian women. We are tired, we are suffering. You can’t eat good food when you don’t have plenty money on you.”