Liberia: Gov’t Given One-Month ‘Grace Period’ to Meetup with Demands
Monrovia – The Liberian government now has a “grace period” of a month to meet with some or all of the demands of the Council of Patriots (COP) if Abraham Darius Dillon’s words are anything to go by.
Report by Alline Dunbar, [email protected]
Initially or days leading to the main protest day, COP members threatened that they would have remained in the streets for days if President George Manneh Weah did not act with “immediate effect” on some of their demands, including dismissing Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah and Central Bank Executive Governor Nathaniel R. Patray, III.
But Dillon, COP’s official spokesman, who read their press statement Sunday, June 9, at the headquarters of the All Liberian Party (ALP), announced that they were giving the government a one-month ultimatum to meet up with all of their seven key demands.
As he read their press statement and statement of gratitude, Dillon referred to the June 7 planned, peaceful protest, as a day of “reaffirmation of their democratic rights.”
“The Liberian people have indeed spoken; they spoke truth to power,” he added.
He boasted that everyone within COP are proud to be Liberians because they demonstrated to all at home and abroad that they reject bad governance, poor leadership and the reckless plundering of Liberia’s resources.
He thanked the Almighty God for a peaceful assembly and asked His wisdom as they collectively seek to save the state from failing.
Dillon acknowledged the fact that all Liberians are patriot and will not rest until they offer their best.
While acknowledging the mediating role played by the international community, he expressed COP’s dissatisfaction with some parts of the ECOWAS’ release. According to him, they expected the ECOWAS’ statement to have taken into consideration the guidelines kept by the peaceful protesters.
He listed them: “The Council of Patriots religiously followed all the protocols agreed with the government including but not limited to the following: no use of drones, use of specific routes, use of agreed protest site and the need for citizens to remain peaceful throughout the protest.”
COP maintains that ECOWAS’ statement should have mentioned that government failed to honor its own obligation that it will send the Vice President to receive the petition on behalf of the President; adding: “A failure that angered the protesters.”
On their third issue with ECOWAS, he stated: “The censorship of social media on the day of the protest which undermined additional mobilization efforts.”
Another of their qualms with the regional body is that ECOWAS didn’t mention in their release that that ahead of the protest, there were deliberate attempts by government to send waves of panic through to the public. “Armed men were seen in communities and parading in the streets instilling fear. That armed men, armed security officers, were prohibiting free movement of citizens by making the presentation of identification cards a pre-condition for participation in the protest,” he stressed.
“Let it be made clear that the current administration have chosen to perpetuate bad governance,” he stressed.
Another of COP’s member, Mr. Henry P. Costa, who was the main brain behind the formation of the COP, which organized the June 7 #SavetheState protest, read the petition at the press conference.
The petition read by Costa included seven key issues: Governance, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, National Peace & Reconciliation, Integrity & Accountability, Corruption, Economy, Education, Health & Agriculture, Basic Rights.