Liberia: Ruling Party Chair Accuses Assaulted Opposition Figure of Playing Victim After Latest Attack in District 15 Saga
Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
Monrovia – The Chairman of Liberia’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC), Mr. Mulbah Morlu has accused Ms. Telia Urey’s camp of playing the victim hours after supporters believed to be from her rival candidate, Abu Kamara, in the disputed District No. 15 representative race reportedly threw stones and damaged her vehicle Saturday.
Mr. Morlu, in a Facebook post Saturday laid the blame for the latest saga on the doorsteps of Ms. Urey.
Mr. Morlu wrote: “The Ureys provocative action to relocate their party office to almost the doorpost of Abu, explains the violence; as residents advised they remain at their original office, they hauled rocks in a pickup and began stoning Kamara’s yard. The Ureys must stop playing victim after throwing stones.”
Shortly after 2pm Saturday, Ms. Urey posted on her page that she and her supporters had come under attack. “Once again, we have been attacked by CDC thugs! I was hit by a rock! This is becoming too much.”
In a live Facebook video post, lasting two minutes, 33 seconds, Ms. Urey is seen being rushed out of her headquarters by her supporters. “Don’t push me, they say I should go, don’t tell me…. Stop holding me”, she is heard say.
“The Ureys provocative action to relocate their party office to almost the doorpost of Abu, explains the violence; as residents advised they remain at their original office, they hauled rocks in a pickup and began stoning Kamara’s yard. The Ureys must stop playing victim after throwing stones.”Mr. Mulbah Morlu, Chairman, Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change
Another of her supporters is heard saying that outsiders believed to be rival supporters were trying to enter the building where she appeared to be under siege.
Some of her supporters can be heard telling Ms. Urey not to go outside the building as the attack appeared to be at the doorsteps of the building of her headquarters.
FrontPageAfrica has been unsuccessful in getting a response from Ms. Urey but talk show host, Henry Costa, in a live post Saturday said the District No. 15 candidate had come under serious attack.
Said Mr. Costa: “It’s very, very serious what is happening in our country. I’m doing this live. Apparently, the people on the other side, despite all of the efforts we have made, especially on our platform in the past week to just urge people to be peaceful and to just apparently it hasn’t yielded any results and the other side cannot control their people.”
Mr. Costa explained that he and Ms. Urey had gone to attend a wedding in the district of one of her supporters but the parted ways after she went to visit the headquarters of Kelvin Bayo, an independent candidate in the just-ended District No. 15 race.
Ms. Urey had reportedly won the support of Mr. Bayo who tallied 652 votes for 4.99 percent after the final count by the National Elections Commission, in the upcoming rerun.
“Lawlessness is hitting the roof. Violence and Vandalism have become the new normal. The debris and scars of our dark past are fast evolving. Terror is back in the land. This is an incipient warning of a breakdown in governance and a crackdown on democracy. No rule and order. LNP has become a partisan police force.”Mr. Martin Kollie, Student Activist
Last week, the National Election Commission announced a re-run of the elections at six polling places in the district after an election dispute hearing in which Urey claimed and proved electoral fraud. The ruling CDC has said that the Elections Commission’s decision was influenced, hence, they’ll boycott the re-run.
On Saturday, Mr. Costa dismissed suggestions from the ruling party that Ms. Urey had relocated her campaign’s headquarters in the territory of Mr. Kamara. “Right now, as I speak to you, Telia is under heavy attack. Her bullet-proof vehicle has been completely destroyed. She’s at the headquarters of Kelvin Bayo, one of the candidates who ran in District No. 15 and Kelvin Bayo is supporting Telia in this re-run in six precincts.”
Mr. Costa explained: “She and I went to a wedding today in District No. 15 of one of our supporters Kendrick Pelenah. So, I left her at the wedding and I went to run other errands and she then went to Kelvin Bayo’s HQ. She’s inside the campaign HQ right now as I speak to you.”
“The people in power cannot control their supporters, we are trying to keep this place safe, we’re trying to keep this place peaceful but it’s difficult to do this when the people cannot control their partisans, they cannot. This is sad. There’s a police depot right in the district – stone throwing went on for more than one hour. This is wrong.”Mr. Henry Costa, Talk Show Host, Telia Urey Supporter
Mr. Costa says a group of young men completely destroyed Ms. Urey’s vehicle which was outside Mr. Bayo’s campaign headquarters. “They are throwing stones on the building heavily; they’ve broken all the windows.”
A separate video posted by Ms. Urey’s camp shows a moving Nissan Land Cruiser running into a building in the District No. 15 area. “Some of you are taking it for joke, this is crazy, this is how things break down,” Mr. Costa lamented.
The talk show host, one of Ms. Urey’s strongest supporters said in his live post that he had spoken to both the chief of police, Patrick Sudu and his deputy, who informed him that they were aware of the attacks on Ms. Urey but had not sent officers on the scene, nearly an hour after the attacks had taken place, even though there is a police depot in the area. “I’ve spoken to 102, I’ve spoken to 100 and they assured me that they are sending officers there. In fact, when I called 102, 100, they were already aware of the attack. This is serious folks. The government people are not doing enough to stop their people.”
Mr. Costa further explained that after destroying her vehicle completely, attackers threatened to bring gas to burn the building. “They have threatened to burn the building while Telia and her supporters are inside. I’m not calling on people to go there to throw stones back at them but I’m simply saying this so people can be aware that Telia Urey is under heavy attack right now.”
Mr. Costa appealed for calm while saying that the ruling party does not have a monopoly on violence. “We cannot live like this. They are not the only ones who have the monopoly over violence. We do not want to go and send people to go and return the favor, it will be chaotic. We don’t’ want to do that. We ourselves if we wanted to return the favor, we could do that. I have spoken to Telia and she is under attack.”
Mr. Costa accused the ruling party of being unable to control the supporters of Mr. Kamara. “The people in power cannot control their supporters, we are trying to keep this place safe, we’re trying to keep this place peaceful but it’s difficult to do this when the people cannot control their partisans, they cannot. This is sad. There’s a police depot right in the district – stone throwing went on for more than one hour. This is wrong. What are we witnessing in our own country? You can’t move in a certain area and people attack you? It is unacceptable. This is how violence begins.”
The attack on Ms. Urey is drawing widespread condemnation. “This is sad reality in Liberia today. President George Weah, if you cannot lead our nation, you must resign,” said Mr. Benjamin Sanvee, former chair of the opposition Liberty Party tweeted Saturday.
Student activist Martin Kollie told FrontPageAfrica: “Our democracy was on trial under Doe and Taylor. It is now on retrial under ex-Soccer Star George M Weah. Things are falling apart so quick. Lawlessness is hitting the roof. Violence and Vandalism have become the new normal. The debris and scars of our dark past are fast evolving. Terror is back in the land. This is an incipient warning of a breakdown in governance and a crackdown on democracy. No rule and order. LNP has become a partisan police force. The judiciary is corrupt and toothless. The Legislature is rubber-stamped and houses a group of racketeers. Both branches are controlled and manipulated by a domineering and an inept Executive.”
Neither Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean or authorities of the Liberia National Police responded to inquires Saturday.
This is the second time in recent weeks that violence has hit the district. On June 10, at least one person was injured and two others flogged following a political violence in run-up to the District No. 15 race
The incident in the Blamo Town community, Logan Town, reportedly left supporters of Ms. Urey’s team seriously injured.