We listened to Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee on Thursday June 25, 2020 when he announced the establishment of an ‘anti-demonstration’ unit called, ‘Citizens Action Unit.’ This followed the violence that took place at the Nigerian and German Embassies in Congo Town last month.
Mayor Koijee said this citizens’ security group will be first responder to demonstrations in the various communities and put situations under control before the arrival of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
We listened also when he said the ‘CAU’ will work along with the Monrovia City Police in keeping the city free of violence.
But now, what is the need for establishing another security unit within the city when you have the Monrovia City Police that is being paid to maintain the peace of the city?
We think it is time that city government empowers the City police to help enforce law and order across the city instead of creating a citizens unit that will create more panic than good.
Already there are series of complaints over security brutalities, unknown people presenting themselves as state security officers, harassments and intimidations now becoming the order of the day.
How do you expect the CAU to work? Who regulates their activities? How will they be paid? what’s the relationship between the city police and officers of the CAU? How were they recruited in a very short period of time following the violence on Thursday June 25, 2020?
Too many unanswered questions, but we think these are fundamental questions that should be answered by the City Government of Monrovia if it means well for the safety of the residents of the city, but we believe strongly that the formation of the CAU is not appropriate taking into consideration the fragility and vulnerability of the country.
It is time that the joint security of the state takes seize of the formation of the CAU by MCC and instead work with the MCC in empowering the city police to be efficient and effective.
Even officers who are adequately trained are struggling with professionalism and respect for rule of law and forming another Unit will further increase the suspicion citizens have of the security system of the country.
There have been rumors of the overfilling of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) with some untrained individuals from the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) as means of accommodating them based on promises made to them during campaign period.
It has also been reported that there is a secret security unit called ‘Sabu Unit’ within the CDC, and so establishing such group will raise suspicion of impending brutalities, intimidations and harassments.
It is our hope that the MCC will listen and desist from forming the Citizens Action Unit and instead empower the city police to be effective and efficient in executing its duties.
Alphonso has been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters. Mr. Toweh holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution.