Liberia: Rep. Hanson Kiazolu Holds Wedding under Tight Security as Aggrieved Resident Chained His Gate Wedding’s Eve

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BREWERVILLE – Following a day of violent protest by aggrieved residents of electoral district # 17 in Monrovia County over the whereabouts of the US$30,000 given to their lawmaker for “legislative engagement, the wedding of Unity Party Representative Hanson Kiazolu took place under tight security at the Ambassador Christian Fellowship Church on the Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia during the late evening hours of Saturday, July 31.

The church is located in the Sayon Town Community in district # 15, Montserrado County. He married Tao Gotomo-his long time partner.

It can be recalled that on Friday, July 30, scores of aggrieved residents of electoral district # 17 stormed the residence of Representative Kiazolu and locked the fence of the main entrance demanding a clear explanation about the whereabouts of the money given by the government to each Representative and Senator for “legislative engagement”.

The news of the payment of US$30K each to Representative and Senator broke out last month during the outbreak of the new variant of the Coronavirus disease in Liberia.

At the time, the first portion of the money which amount to US$15,000 was being paid to each lawmaker.

The situation prompted public outcries in and out of Liberia due to the fact that, the vast majority of Liberians were faced with and combating economic, social and other constraints in the wake of COVID-19.

Civil society actors and pressure groups questioned the rationale behind lawmakers allocating huge sums of monies to themselves in the national budgets during a health crisis despite making fabulous salaries and benefits.

The amount which summed up to US$30K was given to each Representative and Senator for “legislative engagements” with their constituents. But since the money was given, not much has been heard from scores of lawmakers.

Few legislators are implementing developmental initiatives with their share of the US#30K, while others, including Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence have rejected their remaining portion of US$15K on grounds that the money should be diverted to the health sector to combat against the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

But the aggrieved residents of district # 17 complained that since the money was received by their Representative Hanson Kiazolu more than a month ago, not a single meeting or sitting has been called for the expenditure of the money.

According to them, nothing has been heard also from their legislator on the expenditure of the money and as such, they would disrupt the planned wedding of the Representative.

The incident was later prevented from escalating following the intervention of officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned at Zone six police station in Brewerville, outside Monrovia shortly after scores of supporters of Representative Kiazolu arrived on the scene.

Minutes after the happening on the eve of the wedding, Representative Kiazolu took to social media and claimed that the incident was an alleged armed robbery.

“At about 5 am (GMT), 4 men with masks on their faces attempted on my life this morning. They put a padlock and iron chain on my residential fence gate and started to throw stones and other objects into my fence. But God be God the residents in the community came in to help. In fact, one of those guys tried jumping over my fence from outside when some residents of the community saw him and his colleagues in the act and decided to prevent their action. The below photo shows the 4 men arrested sitting directly opposite my fence” he stated on his official Facebook page.

Prior to the wedding on Saturday morning, several threatening leaflets were found before the edifice of the Ambassador Christian Fellowship Church and in other areas.

“WARNING, WARNING, WARNING, REP. HANSON KIAZOLU/D-17 DO NOT ATTEND THIS WEDDING! MARRIAGE IS ORDAINED BY GOD BUT THIS ONE IS INFLUENCED BY 30K. HANSON KIAZOLU IS HEARTLESS; HE TOOK 30 THOUSAND USD AND DID NOTHING IN DISTRICT # 17 BUT IS NOW HAVING AN OPULENT WEDDING” one of the leaflets states.

The locking of the Representative’s gate by aggrieved constituents of district 17 and the dropping of threatening leaflets by unknown persons prompted organizers of the wedding to take precautionary measures against disturbance or disruption.

Over 30 Khaki-wearing militants from the vanguard Students Unification Party (SUP) at the University of Liberia backed by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) were strategically positioned from the main junction to the church edifice to provide security for the ceremony to go on smoothly.

FrontPage Africa Reporter who went to cover the wedding ceremony was denied from entering the church edifice following a mandate from Representative Kiazolu.

“You came to cover the protest for the men them ehn?? You have to be careful because anyone tries anything here, it will not be easy. I just am telling you and in fact, that man not entering the church”, Representative Kiazolu stated while pointing at FPA Reporter and giving mandate to the militants hired to provide security at the ceremony.

Though some unknown men in plain clothes attempted to forcibly enforce the mandate from Representative Kiazolu, the intervention of River Gee County Representative Francis Dopoh prevented them from doing so.

Representative Dopoh was serving as the Bestman in the wedding.

In a brief chat with FPA Reporter, Representative Dopoh pleaded that despite his intervention earlier, his colleague Kiazolu had insisted that his wedding should not be covered by FrontPage Africa.

According to him, the church also has a policy and it (church) was not in favor of any coverage from the media. He further pleaded for this writer to go outside of the church and continue his reportage strategically to avoid being attacked.

The protest at the home of Representative Kiazolu and the dropping of the threatening leaflets prompted scores of lawmakers, friends, well-wishers, and eminent citizens from district 17 to either snub or boycott the wedding ceremony.

Only Representative Dopoh and Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi were seen at the wedding from the House of Representatives up to the time this Reporter departed the entrance of the church around 6:40 PM.

The wedding reception took place at the Bella Casa Hotel in Sinkor, electoral district # 8, Montserrado County. It was reportedly planned for the Riverside Resort in district 16, Montserrado County-just a stone throw away from Representative Kiazolu’s district. But the decision taken by the organizers to surreptitiously change venue remains unknown.

Condemnations

At the same time, a pro-democracy and pressure group calling itself Concerned District Seventeen Citizens in Demand for Accountability expressed concern over the arrest and detention of journalist Togba based upon the alleged order of the Unity Party Lawmaker while discharging his reportorial duty.

The group’s condemnation was contained in a statement issued under the signature of its Chairperson James Johnson shortly after the incident on Friday, which led to the arrest and subsequent detention of journalist Togba and the others.

“Nyantee’s unfortunate arrest came at a time he had gone to carry live a protest being staged by aggrieved constituents of District Seventeen in Demand of accountability on the thirty-thousand( 30K) recently disbursed to lawmakers for Legislative engagements. While the group frowns on the manner in which the protesters exercised their grievances on the morning of July 30, 2021 at the residence of the honorable lawmaker, it strongly condemns the act of hooliganism meted against the Okay FM journalist and those protesters by hired thugs of Representative Kiazolu”.

The group calls on the PUL to investigate and complain the “uncivilized action” of Representative Kiazolu.

It believes that the lawmaker has done “zero to ensure proper representation and accountability”.

The group made specific reference to the alleged unilateral decision taken by Representative Kiazolu on the US$20,000 given by China Union as the district share of the Social Development Fund (SDF) the company paid into the coffers of Montserrado County.

According to the group, Representative Kiazolu allegedly only expended “five thousand on a palava hut and pocketed the remaining” money.

“This gross disregard for the peoples’ interest has been further exacerbated by the lawmaker’s action to pocket another 30k. We think the action on the part of the lawmaker to exercise this callous insensitivity against the people of the district by using the funds in question to finance pre-campaign activities in Cape Mount where he has decided to export failure and as well fund his third successive wedding is condemnable and unacceptable”!

“We call on constituents of the District to peacefully assemble tomorrow at the wedding’s venue to make known their plights and inform the lawmaker about their disapprobation to use their 30k to buy salads, fried chicken and alcoholic beverages to merry make at the expense of development when the District lacks running water and electricity”.

Reactions

The two scenarios prompted reactions from pro and anti-supporters of Representative Kiazolu on social media.

Barak Cooper: “Veteran Momo T Watson, and Pastor Isaac B Wesseh Jr., permit me to say this. Hon. Kiazolu’s action is irresponsible; his failure to stop his surrogates from doing provocative publications will compel me to go deeper. You can’t be recklessly handling our people, misrepresenting our district, and allow your surrogates to provoke us. We will respond radically!! Enough of all this nonsense!! Some of us are willing to die for a cost. Tomorrow will go down in history as the worse moment ever in Hon. Kiazolu political sojourn”.

 “Honourable Hanson Kiazolu is well protected by serious-minded Militants of the unity party. We dare any thugs from CDC to come around the Compound of Honourable Kiazolu. Bamboo will divide kola. The warning goes to James Johnson and others” Emmanuel Farr.

“Is getting married a legislative engagement? District # 17 is bereaved leadership-wise. Where is our 30K? The masses promise to react,” Emmett Kahler stated.

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