-As Lawlessness Takes Center Stage
Danger is said to be looming in Liberia with Montserrado county electoral district#15 believed to be the source.
Since the inception of the CDC led government, there have been widespread violence ranging from demonstrations at concession areas, street protests, attacks on law enforcement officers, hate messages on radio stations and social media among others with the government doing little or nothing in such direction to curb the situation.
Recently there were some disturbances at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission NEC between supporters of the four collaborating opposition political parties and the governing Coalition for Democratic Change while awaiting results of Investigations of the disputed Montserrado County electoral district#15 elections results as the two leading candidates, Telia Urey and Abu Bana Kamara claimed victory.
However, this violence is said to have extended to the district ahead of the NEC’s mandate to conduct re-elections in specific areas in the district.
It can be recalled on August 17, 2019, violent erupted in the district between supporters believed be of the opposition political parties and the governing CDC with Ms. Telia Urey’s vehicle been destroyed in the process.
The ‘bullet proof’ black Toyota land Cruiser jeep of Ms. Telia Urey was reportedly attacked which resulted into several of her supporters being injured in the process.
Speaking to a local daily following the incident, Ms. Urey recounted that she along with her supporters were visiting the headquarters of another candidate in the recently held elections.
Ms. Urey told FPA that she along with some members of her campaign team was in a meeting with Kelvin Bayoh’s team when the attack commenced.
“I went to meet Kelvin Bayoh’s campaign team at their campaign office, which has been the late Representative Adolph Lawrence’s office since 2011. While in the meeting we heard noise outside and then rocks on the roof. Then through the windows and this went on,” she told a local daily in Monrovia.
The Montserrado County district#15 candidate added: “They completely damaged the roof of the building. At the end, they even brought gas to burn the place down. When I smelled the gas, I didn’t think we were going to make it.”
Meanwhile, there have been some condemnations from the public following the incident on Saturday. On his official facebook page, Kimmie Weeks who recently participated in the Montserrado County senatorial by-elections said “Extreme elections violence happening now: Opposition candidate Telia Urey’s car has been allegedly damaged by a mob and she is in a house with people threatening to burn it down. The President and the Liberian government should respond to this situation now. Mr. President, please do not allow it deteriorate further. A simple urgent message to all ruling party supporters to desist from violence and the rapid deployment of police officers to protect the candidate is in the national best interest. Please act now.”
Nimba County electoral district seven Representative Roger Domah also wrote on his facebook page “We denounce violence of any form. The police must make arrest. Leaders must lead to save the state.”
At the same time, the ruling CDC has condemned in the strongest possible term fresh acts of violence perpetrated against candidates Abu B. Kamara of the CDC and Telia Urey of the four collaborating opposition parties. The party added “The Executive Committee warns that such acts of violence are a threat to the peace, democracy and the economy of the country. Violence has no place in our politics, irrespective of the scale and tone of our political differences.”
Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police has also condemned in the strongest term the violence. A statement from the LNP says the LNP views such action as counterproductive to the peace and stability of the state.
The statement said “The contingent of Police who firstly responded to the scene was unable to arrest violent actors. When reinforcements arrived, the alleged perpetrators had absconded. In view of this, the LNP has launched an investigation into Saturday’s violence. Members of the public, especially residents of District #15 are urged to assist with any useful information including videos and pictorials to ensure that those responsible are made to face the full weight of the law. The Public can be assured that violent actors in today’s violence will be made to face the full weight of the law.”
At the same time, the Executive Mansion has termed the violence as ‘unhealthy for peace, and development, with President Weah calling for investigation into the Saga
An executive mansion release said “The attention of the Executive Mansion is drawn to the appalling electoral violence which occurred on Saturday, August 17, in district 15 between supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change and the four collaborating opposition parties.
Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean and the Liberia National Police have been mandated to carry out a thorough and expeditious investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice, irrespective of who is involved.
The maintenance of the peace is a high priority on the government’s agenda, and it will spare no effort in ensuring the protection of lives and properties.
Electoral violence in all its forms will not be tolerated, and individuals who disrupt the peace will face the full weight of the law. President George M. Weah has mandated the Liberian national police and other security agencies to be proactive and bring to book anyone engage in violence.
The government remains committed to ensuring that all Liberians exercise their democratic rights. Notwithstanding, political parties should ensure that their supporters remain peaceful at all times. Political leaders will be held accountable for disruptive behavior, regardless of their political alignment.
Meanwhile, the President urges candidates and political leaders to restart the process of engagement under the auspices of the National Elections Commission Inter-Party Consultative Dialogue, while at the same time warning against the use of vitriolic rhetoric that could lead to violence.
The Liberian leader has called on residents of district 15 to refrain from violence. He said it is the responsibility of every Liberian to maintain the peace the country enjoys.