The Analyst (Monrovia)

9 April 2013

Liberia: The Storm Passes Over - April 12 Demonstration Suspended

Until last evening, Liberia was on the brink of anarchy—at least so most Liberians presaged and expect. The battle line was drawn. The war drums were bellowing. Some Liberian nationals and aliens were fleeing the country according to some sources. Families were amassing foods and water and some business people were attempting to create artificial scarcity of basic communities to profiteer. As the planners of a mass demonstration this Friday combed communities, mobilizing for an all out turnout, government security forces were assembling men and equipment to meet any eventuality. Many well-meaning personalities and groups were restless, making calls here and there, holding meetings from one place to another. The ordinary people were bracing for the sounds of guns and bombs. But by the early evening hours yesterday, the storm appears calm; courtesy of leaderships of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia and the Campaigners for Change now defunct masterminds of the demonstration who announced a postponement of the showdown in a statement. The Analyst reports.

The leadership of one of the masterminds of the controversial April 12, 2013 protest has announced a suspension of the much-fear demonstration. In a statement, the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (CONTROL said it was calling off the demonstration in response to massive pleas from several quarters, including foreign embassies, the United Nations Mission to Liberia, Inter-religious council and other groups.

In a statement, CONTROL said: "Ladies and gentlemen of the press, CONTROL wants to inform the general public, our supporters, foreign partners and friends residing in Liberia and out of Liberia, the business community, the student and youth community, the religious community and our dear parents and family members that having built a very tough consensus amongst our county chairpersons, coordinators and zonal heads from the 15 counties of Liberia and having listened to the many pleas from several organizations and diplomatic missions in Liberia for the sake of peace and dialogue, we have decided to temporarily suspend our planned to listen to the cries of thousands of Liberians that are subjected to poverty in the midst of abundant resources."

The group said the decision to suspend the planned 'Peaceful Assembly' is a heavy "especially when we have built the consciousness of our supporters to join us in our quest to inform our leaders about the ills that are reducing hundreds of Liberians to street beggars. We are cognizant of the fact that no war ends on a battle field and that is why we consciously made some recommendations to the Office of the President of Liberia in order to show a sign of improvement in her policy implementation and move Liberia forward."

See full statement below:

COALITION FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF LIBERIA

C/O SURE-Liberia (Campaigners for Change)

The MarketPlace Building, Upper Carey Street

Contact #:0886514209/0886264240

PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In view of current development in our country especially the issue surrounding the planned civil disobedience against the Government of Liberia for its failure to listen to the many cries of the Liberian people, the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia in collaboration with the Campaigners for Change still believes that a constructive precedence should be set in order to put Liberia on the right political, economic, and democratic trajectory. Let history record that the greatest tragedy of this period where lives and properties were destroyed in Liberia during the bloody civil war was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

Consciously speaking, CONTROL believes that if we are to go forward in Liberia, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that the Government of Liberia should be very serious in listening to the cry of its people. Having seen the need in moving Liberia forward in our quest to peacefully assemble and to petition the Liberian Government to listen to the cries of thousands of Liberians that have been subjected to abject poverty, we want to state here emphatically clear that despite our disagreements in different forms and manners with the Government of Liberia, we still believe that there is a need for solution and the Coalition remains committed to this process in moving Liberia forward.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, CONTROL wants to make it clear also that it takes serious exception to the statements made by the Police Director, Col. Chris Massaquoi and the Minister of National Defense, Hon. Brownie Samukai where they threatened the masses by using lethal and non lethal force on peaceful citizens on April 12, 2013. CONTROL believes that such reckless statements and comments coming from the two officials of government are not in the interest of peace. Having emerged from a devastating civil crisis that destroyed every fabric of our nation due to the insensitivity on the part of past governments to properly govern our people, CONTROL believes that there is a need for the President of Liberia to now begin addressing the issue of corruption, nepotism and all the vices that have helped to destroyed the broken fabric of our nation. Let be very clear that no amount of weapons can scare the masses because they have the power in their hands and no one can take it from them when they decide to decide destiny of their country. Hon. Samukai and Col. Chris Massaquoi must understand that if only guns could have save a sitting president, then Charles Taylor, Hosni Mubarak, Col. Gaddifi, Laweren Gbagbo and several others would have been in power today.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, CONTROL is very pleased to recognize the efforts of the below organizations, institutions and individuals who really helped to mediate in this process. We must admit that their GENUINE PLEAD was in the best interest of Liberia.

Traditional Council of Liberia headed by Chief Zan Zan Kawor, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the United States Embassy in Liberia, the Civil Society Advisory Council, West Africa Network for Peace Building-Liberia Chapter (WIPNET), the Inter-religious Council of Liberia, The Muslim Council of Liberia, Liberia Council of Churches, the Office of the Vice President of Liberia, the Bishop of the Methodist Church of Liberia, several diplomatic missions in Liberia, youth organizations, media institutions in and out of Liberia, UNESCO Ambassador to Liberia, the leadership of the St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Liberia, ECOWAS Civil Society Movement of Liberia, United Rural Women of Liberia, eminent citizens Rev. Emmanuel J. Bowier, former Minister of Information and Mr. James Davis, the Junior Senator of Margibi County, Hon. Oscar Cooper, the House of Representative, our parents, friends and family members in and out of Liberia.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, CONTROL wants to inform the general public, our supporters, foreign partners and friends residing in Liberia and out of Liberia, the business community, the student and youth community, the religious community and our dear parents and family members that having built a very tough consensus amongst our county chairpersons, coordinators and zonal heads from the 15 counties of Liberia and having listened to the many pleas from several organizations and diplomatic missions in Liberia for the sake of peace and dialogue, WE HAVE DECIDED TO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND OUR PLANNED TO LISTEN TO THE CRIES OF THOUSANDS OF LIBERIANS THAT ARE SUBJECTED TO POVERTY IN THE MIDST OF ABOUNDANT RESOURCES.

This decision to suspend the planned "Peaceful Assembly" is a heavy one especially when we have built the consciousness of our supporters to join us in our quest to inform our leaders about the ills that are reducing hundreds of Liberians to street beggars. We are cognizant of the fact that no war ends on a battle field and that is why we consciously made some recommendations to the Office of the President of Liberia in order to show a sign of improvement in her policy implementation and move Liberia forward.

Additionally, CONTROL wants to state here also that while it is true that we still have the desire and quest to champion the cause of the downtrodden masses for a better living condition and for an equitable distribution of our resources, we want to hold as GUARANTORS all those organizations and individuals that have cried and appealed to us in order to suspend our planned "peaceful assembly" to engage the Government of Liberia to implement the recommendations put forth by the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia in collaboration with the Campaigners for Change. We also want to appreciate the Government's efforts in the recent payment of the retroactive salaries of our police who are striving to protect lives and properties despite the low salaries they receive. We believe that meeting the demands of the security forces by the Government of Liberia should not always come as a result of pressure from the citizens. The government must be conscious at all times to carry on its functional responsibility.

We also want to inform the general public that we are peaceful people and we have no intention to drag our country into war again. To those who may be disenchanted with our action to SUSPEND this peaceful assembly, we urge you to remain kind since a lot of national and international organizations including our parents, brothers and sisters and our elders have pleaded with us. As we also anticipate the commendation of the Fast and Prayer Day on Friday, April 12, 2013, the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia in Collaboration with the Campaigners for Change will also join well meaning Liberians at the Benson Street Mosque and at the 1st United Methodist Church to plead with the Almighty God for a transformed Liberia that will no longer be governed by wicked leaders. With tears in our eyes coupled with the frustrations of those we represent, we think is a need for smooth and quick action against corrupt officials in our government and nepotism which is now a way of life.

We know that we may be perceived as traitors in the cause by others but we will like to appeal to your conscience to watch what the Government of Liberia will be doing with regards to our recommendations. That is why the suspension of the protest is necessary so as to allow prompt action to take place.

GIVEN ON THIS 8TH DAY OF APRIL 2013 IN THE CITY OF MONROVIA.

SIGNED: ____________________________

HEZEKIAH O. BAO

SECRETARY GENERAL

COALITION FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF LIBERIA

APPROVED: _________________________

ARCHIE I. SARNOR

PRESIDENT

COALITION FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF LIBERIA

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