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EDITORIAL: Lawlessness Eclipsing Sanity In Liberia

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MORE AND MORE Liberians are losing faith in the justice system. 

WHETHER IT IS a fight over land or, as was the case Tuesday in the Kingsville, Margibi County area Monday, feeling a sudden abandonment by the rule of law, which led to police One person reportedly using live ammunitions on innocent bystanders protesting over ritualistic killings, an increasing sense of betrayal by those at the helm of power is forcing Liberians to take matters in their own hands in pursuit of justice.

EYEWITNESSES SAY AT least one person died as a result of the shooting when two others in critical condition after riot police officers reportedly shot at protesters in the Kingsville community.

THE PROTESTERS BEGAN blocking the roads leading  to Margibi and Bong County since Monday, demanding justice for the mysterious death of two children who went missing few weeks ago.

ELIJAH KPOLUMA AND THOMAS KOLLIE, believed to be between 10 and 11 years reportedly went missing since May 30 and 31, 2019.  Aggrieved Kingsville citizens complained that the missing children were later found with parts extracted from their bodies.

THE BODIES OF the two children were discovered on June 3, 2019 in the bushes of Kingsville, Montserrado County hours after they were sent on Thursday, May 30 and Friday, May 31, 2019 by their parents to sell but did not return home and were declared missing.

POLICE REPORTEDLY arrested four persons from the community, said to be linked to the act. However, those persons were reportedly released due to lack of evidence, according to the police.

ANGRY RESIDENTS, unhappy with the way the police have been handling their issue, organized a street protest to get attention from the national government.

ON MONDAY, the protesters said Police Support Unit Officers arrived at the scene, removed the road block and began engaging them. According to eyewitnesses, few minutes of tussle, police officers began to shoot at them, resulting to one person dead and other two persons injured.

THE INCIDENT Monday has struck fears amongst residents in the community with many blaming the justice system for failing them.

THE US EMBASSY IN MONROVIA immediately issued an advisory urging its government personnel including Peace Corps Volunteers and staff to avoid the area.  “All U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the area of the demonstration and to monitor local media to remain informed of developments as they occur,” the advisory warned.

US PERSONNEL WERE also cautioned to avoid the areas of the demonstrations, exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests, monitor local media for updates and keep a low profile.

A FEW WEEKS ago, the June 7 protest organized by the Council of Patriots brought thousands of Liberians together in hopes of waking the administration of President George Manneh Weah to the unfolding realities in Liberia today.

ALL THESE INCIDENTS paint a rather gloomy picture for the investment climate and further draws immense scrutiny on the justice system on a post-war nation yet to recover from the scars of war.

MEMORIES of the brutal civil war which killed scores of Liberians and sent thousands into exile are still vivid with many concerned that the more the government fails to put in place rigid measures to ensure that the law benefits all Liberians and not just a few who can afford justice, the more Liberians will continue to resort to taking the laws into their own hands with vigilante-style justice which does nothing but bring untold hardship and suffering to those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

THE POLICE AND OTHER security agencies must do all they can to maintain Liberia’s post-war peace.

SHOOTING LIVE ammunition on innocent Liberians simply demanding justice is bad.

WHILE WE WELCOME THE POLICE decision to launch an immediate joint investigation comprising the Professional Standards Division (PSD) and the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to probe into reports of shooting, authorities must include independent experts to join the investigation. 

SIMPLY ISSUING a statement that “any officer found culpable in the unconventional use of lethal weapon will be made to face the full weight of the law” is just not enough. 

THE JUSTICE SYSTEM has so far been lacking when it comes to appearing impartial, especially when a photograph making the social media rounds showing a police officer wearing a partisan T-Shirt at a political rally for the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change.

THE LNP in a statement Monday, urged the public to refrain from engaging into violence and taking advantage of the rule of law in addressing their plights. But how?

HOW ARE LIBERIANS expected to remain calm when their voices are being ignored? How are citizens expected to remain calm when two young children, sent out by struggling parents to earn daily bread for their families are later found with body parts missing and the police tells them that they do not have enough proof to hold the suspects?

HOW ARE LIBERIANS expected to remain calm when conditions in the country continue to deteriorate, when the US exchange rate is flying by the day through the roof and the average Liberian cannot provide for their families or keep their children in school?

HOW ARE Liberians expected to remain calm when government turns a blind eye to the plight of the people and calls critics and media enemies of the state; when concern Liberians are wrongly labeled for simply raising red flags about a bloated payroll of ruling partisans and the dangers of the country’s economy.

TODAY, THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund is demanding that the government slashes its wage bill and curb corruption to salvage the economy.

HAD THE GOVERNMENT LISTENED in the early days, it would not be in the position it is in today. 

LIBERIANS WILL REMAIN CALM when each and every one feels that they are part of the system, that they are benefiting from the country’s resources equally and no one is made to feel inferior to anyone because of class or ruling party status.

THIS IS WHY LIBERIA went to war, these are the very reasons one group of people felt marginalized and angry enough to turn against their own people.

AN ATMOSPHERE of lawlessness is eclipsing Liberia’s survival, citizens prefer taking the laws into their own hands rather than put their fate in the justice system. That should not be the case and the government of the day must realize this and put its house in order before it is too late.

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