Liberia: ECOWAS Governance Report Foresees ‘Largest Protest’ Since Weah-led Government Took Office

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Monrovia – A monthly Thematic Governance Report by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS foresees the June 7 Save-the-State Protest in Liberia to be the largest since the administration of George Manneh Weah took office last January.

“If the protest hold, it would be the largest since President George Weah came to power in January 2018, though recent dialogue between the Government and the COP have gone a long way in dousing fears of violence during the protests,” said the report made public Saturday.

The report comes as the head of the ECOWAS Commission Mr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou completed a three-day visit to Monrovia in a bid to mediate between President Weah’s government and the organizers of this week’s protest.

The planned June 7 protests, according to the opposition, is to demand that President Weah ‘find a solution to the appalling economic situation of the country, affecting most of the populace’. Though the reasons are said to be majorly economic, the ECOWAS report said ongoing discourse has taken on a worrisome dimension with Liberian politicians accused of trying to create tensions, around the protests, between the “American-Liberian” elite,(opposition) who have dominated Liberian political life for 170 years, and the “indigenous”, such President George Weah.

“If the protest hold, it would be the largest since President George Weah came to power in January 2018, though recent dialogue between the Government and the COP have gone a long way in dousing fears of violence during the protests.”

From a monthly Thematic Governance Report by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS

The ECOWAS report pointed to an earlier planned protests in a couple of months ago, which drew hundreds of Liberians to the streets of Monrovia demanding accountability for the USD$25 million injected into the economy to mop up local currency that officials say has disappeared from the country’s central bank. “In the midst of a struggling economy and a volatile business climate, allegations of corruption represents the core of the socio-political tension in Liberia. Furthermore, the Council of Patriots, main organizers of the protests, says it is demanding cleaner government as well as justice for atrocities committed during Liberia’s civil war.”

The report comes amid renewed tension in the air regarding accusations that President Weah reportedly told the visiting ECOWAS delegation that his vice president was quietly supporting the upcoming protest.
Senator Sando B. Johnson(NPP, Bomi) made the revelation Friday during a call-in on the Henry Costa Morning Show.

The ECOWAS monthly report said the governance landscape of the region in the month under review is characterized by tension related to the legislative elections in Benin and protests in Liberia. “Empirical evidence illustrate an increase in socio-political and economic risk rating in Sierra Leone. Informatively, the economic risk particularly, is on an upward trend in April 2019 EARLY WARNING DIRECTORATE 2 Liberia and given that economic and financial factors appear to be at the core of planned protests in the country, a good understanding of these factors would elucidate on the situation.”

The report noted that the perceptions and insinuations of a potential Referendum on Constitution amendment in Guinea has led to the creation of the ‘National Front for the Defence of the Constitution’ a political platform composed of opposition and Civil Society groups, with the aim of impeding an amendment to the Constitution prior to the elections of 2020.

This report aims to analyze the impact of these developments on human security in the region in order to highlight potential challenges and proffer options for early response.

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