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Martin Kollie: ‘Liberia Is Fast Transitioning From Democracy to Dictatorship’

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Monrovia – A renowned Liberian Youth and Student Activist has informed the United Nations, through its Secretary-General António Guterres, that Liberia is transitioning from democracy to dictatorship under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government of President George Manneh Weah.

In a letter dated October 22, 2019 and addressed to the UN Chief Scribe, activist Martin Kollie disclosed that almost every sector of Liberia has been hit with crises due to what he called “bad governance and leadership breakdown.”

He maintained that Liberia risks slipping back to the dark days of carnage and anarchy as a result of the present situation in the country.

“All is not well in Liberia. The Republic is fast transitioning from democracy to dictatorship. The signs of an anti-democratic and totalitarian hegemony under President Weah are rapidly evolving and becoming even clearer day after day,” he stated.

Activist Kollie added that free speech and press freedom guaranteed under the Liberian laws and other international documents signed by Liberia, are under vicious attack in Liberia.

He named the latest action of the government to forcibly and arbitrarily shut down Roots FM 102.7, a critical media outlet owned and operated by popular talk-show host Henry P. Costa, the delay tactics being played to grant license to Punch FM of Patrick Honnah, verbal threats and attacks on FrontPageAfrica publisher Rodney Sieh, as some of the attacks on free speech and press freedom.

 “The government in power has and continues to fiercely muzzle these fundamental and cherished democratic values upon which our collective sovereignty is anchored. Such panicking precedent is posing serious threat to our peace, stability and national security,” he indicated.

He noted that “iron fist” is being used by the President to clampdown on free speech and free press.

He said latest “bloody” crackdown on unarmed and peaceful protesting public school students in Monrovia on October 15, 2019 reechoes ‘the Reign of terror’ in Liberia.

Several students of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), funded and supported by the Liberian government, were severely flogged and brutalized during a protest intended to call government’s attention to the decision taken by their teachers to stage a go-slow action in demand of their three (3) months’ salary arrears previously owed them by government.

Activist Kollie indicated that the Rule of Law is no more as a compromised Court System is being used as a vindictive corridor to repress media workers and voices of conscience.

According to him, the future for journalists and a free press in Liberia appears gloomy, while the media climate, which should be friendly and unhampered, has become even more hostile, polarized and paralyzed under Weah-administration.

“There have been harsh consequences for independent and critical media institutions. Only in Liberia, vocal and fierce critics of the Weah-led Government are branded as ENEMIES OF THE STATE by President George Weah himself. This clearly tells you the extent at which journalists and voices of dissent are antagonized, censored, harassed, and bullied.

He added that the Liberian Chief Executive has allegedly neglected his commitment to upholding international, regional, and local statutes and protocols that guarantee free speech and press freedom, including Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1991 Windhoek Declaration, Article 15 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, as well as the 2007 Table Mountain Declaration, 2010 Freedom of Information Act, the 2019 Kamara Abdullai Kamara Act of Press Freedom, and the  2007 Telecommunications Law of Liberia.

The Liberian student and youth activist further drew the UN’s attention to the appointment of Tarplah Z. Davis, alias Zoely Zoe, as Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of Defense is a case in point in which Liberia is returning to the dark days.

Mr. Davis threatened to “kill” protesters and perceived critics of President Weah in a podcast on the social media, barely few days prior to his nomination.

Among other things, activist Kollie further recounted the mysterious death of a senior staff of the Central Bank of Liberia, Matthew Innis, who was believed to have had credible information relating to the missing L$16 billion in March 201, and other CBL staff who may have had information, Kollie Ballah, a truck driver, as some of the unwholesome acts taking place under the watch of the former soccer legend.

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