Liberia: House 'Not Ruling Out Another Attempt to Meet With Council of Patriots'

Some of the ex-rebel fighters at a recent press conference in Monrovia

House Speaker Bhofal Chambers says he is not ruling out another attempt to meet with the Council of Patriots.

The 'love for country' of the main organizer of the June 7 protest, the Council of Patriots (CoP), has been questioned by the leadership of the House of Representatives after the CoP a planned meeting with the Lower House to discuss the protest, which the House claimed is reaching alarming proportions that could threaten the peace and stability of the country.

Friday's planned discussion with the COP was supposed to be witnessed by the Peace Building Executive Director Edward Mulbah and Acting Peace Ambassador Eric Quaqua of the Liberia Peace Building and Peace Ambassador offices (respectively) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Over the weekend, in the House's first floor conference room, Speaker Bhofal Chambers told journalists that the Leadership's meeting with the CoP was intended to exhaustively engage the organizer of the protest to allay fears and that Liberians should continue to live in harmony, in peace and stability, contrary to the fear of the protest which is likely frightening the peace and stability Liberians are enjoying.

"For us, we are thankful for this day and we will exhaustively engage and bring some degree of reasoning in this entire exercise so as to mitigate whatever people may think or would occur, because we feel that living in harmony, living in peace and living in stability is a good thing," Speaker Chambers said.

"We are not here to carry any act of repudiation, neither are we here to state anything that would resemble denunciation. We are only here to tell our colleagues from the other side that Liberia is first and Liberia should be always. So we, patriots, we should constructively support our people and the state."

He added: "We were able to write members of the Council of Patriots through our secretariat as was mandated in the Plenary of the House of Representatives and the communication was written and sent on the 28th of May and was received on the 29th and at the hour of 1:50pm. Before then, discussion was held by our secretariat with the one who is supposed to be the spokesperson for the Council of Patriots, in person of Hon. Darius Dillon. He directed where the communication should have gone and it was sent exactly as he described, and was sent at the head office of the Liberty Party and was received by one Andrew Zuo ."

"So, we did our part and they were expected to be here at this time and we have not seen any sign, so we want to say we will not relent. Our effort remains unrelenting and we want to ensure as the preamble depicts in our constitution that all live in harmony, and so we also want for people to be law abiding."

Speaker Chambers indicated that the House is not ruling out another attempt to meet with the CoP.

It maybe recalled, prior to the CoP ditching the Lower House on Friday, the COP walked out of a Thursday planned dialogue with Senate after members of the CoP's request for an open meeting was rejected by the Senate.

The CoP team, headed by Abraham Darius Dillon including political commentator Henry P. Costa, told Legislative reporters that a discussion [with the Senate] in open will give the public sufficient reason why the "Save the State" June protest was necessary. They promised to return to Capitol Hill whenever the senate accepts their 22-count demand.

Some lawmakers, who were part of the Leadership meeting to meet the CoP said a patriot should be one who loves, supports, and defends one's country. That said, they described the action of the CoP as "unpatriotic".

Some lawmakers were appalled that the CoP would turn down their invitation. Other lawmakers, including Rep. Dorwohn T. Gleekia, the chairman on Peace, Religion and National Reconciliation, the proponent of the decision to invite the COP, couched their criticism in cautious terms to avoid confrontation with the CoP.

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