Liberia: COP Vows to Stage Protest Over Government's Refusal to Issue Registration Certificate

Monrovia — The Chairman of the Council of Patriots (COP) has alarmed over the alleged delay and refusal of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government of President George Manneh Weah to officially register the COP as a legal institution operating in the country.

The group's Chairman Henry Costa claimed that for several weeks now, the government, through the Liberia Business Registry (LBR) has allegedly reneged to register the COP.

He pointed out that over US$200 and other relevant documents have been submitted to the LBR, but a certificate of registration is yet to be issued.

He made these comments on the Costa Show via social media from the United States of America on Wednesday, August 5.

Mr. Costa added that despite efforts made to contact the Registrar-General of the LBR, Mr. Samson M. Dee, the COP has not been issued a registration certificate by the government.

He described the alleged move by government as an act of "dictatorship", noting that, the current situation is a "provocation" that will not be accepted by the COP.

He maintained that the alleged refusal of the government to register the COP has the proclivity of stirring chaos in the nation.

"We presented our documents, including our article of incorporation to the LBR to incorporate and register the COP as a bonafide and legal entity within the Republic. But for several weeks now, they have refused to register the COP. They have not complained of any problem with the documents that we submitted".

"We presented the money for payment- a little over 200USD. They have the money and documents but these people have refused to register our organization. Yesterday I contacted the Director of the LBR, Mr. Sampson Dee and he had nothing to say".

Inter-Religious Council aware

Mr. Costa disclosed that his group has notified the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), through its President, Bishop Kortu K. Brown to intervene into the matter.

The IRCL is a conglomeration of the National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL), and the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC).

"We have informed Bishop Kortu Brown because every time we want to take action, they are there saying

'your take it easy the peace of this country depends on your'. I contacted him out of respect and he said 'we will take to the government"

He continued: "We don't need to beg the government to register our organization. It is our constitutional right. You come to register an organization and because you are known to be a government critic, they refused to register the organization".

Threats of "Unspecified actions"

The COP is credited for staging two of Liberia's largest protests since the end of the country's civil war.

On June 7, 2019, thousands of Liberians, led by the COP, staged a peaceful protest in the country over the increase in economic hardship, corruption, bad governance under the regime of the former World best footballer-turned President

The citizens also protested against the accumulation of multi-million dollars properties by President Weah just a few months after his ascendancy to the Liberian presidency

On January 6, 2020, COP also staged another protest in demand of the full implementation of recommendations contained in its June 7 petition presented to the Government of Liberia (GOL).

Among other things, the group called for the prosecution of Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah and the former Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Nathaniel Patray over their roles in the controversial US$25 million mop-up exercise.

COP believed that bad governance, rampant corruption, favoritism, lawlessness, rape, and extrajudicial activities, remain the order of the day under the Weah-led administration.

Sounding a fresh warning on Wednesday, Mr. Costa disclosed that numerous "unspecified actions" will be taken by the COP over the latest decision taken by the government to delay the issuance of their registration as an organization.

"Let me say this, the COP will take unspecified actions and we will not listen to anybody. If you do not tell the government now to give us our documents, we will take actions and we will not listen to any International Community or Bishop".

"We will give the government ultimatum and we will protest until the COP is registered. What kind of nonsense is this? We submitted our papers and paid you the money. Sampson Dee told his people not to register the COP".

Mr. Costa continued: "We are coming for y'all; we are getting ready to make that town hot; we will not accept this. From now to Friday if you do not register the COP, we will announce a decision next week. We will protest".

He maintained that Mr. Dee, head of the LBR, does not have the power to deny citizens the right to register their organizations, adding that, "every Liberian has the right to register an organization to associate or affiliate".

International Community challenged

Meanwhile, Mr. Costa has challenged the International Community, including the United States, European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to intervene and compel the CDC led-government to act accordingly.

He said Liberia's international partners must help ensure that President Weah does not muscle critical voices or groups within the country.

When contacted via mobile phone, the Registrar-General of the Liberia Business Registry (LBR), Samson M. Dee promised to call back in 15 minutes.

Following nearly an hour, Mr. Dee refused to call, something which prompted this writer to place a phone call to him on his personal cell number 0886764901.

In a telephone conversation with this writer, Mr. Dee again promised to call back after he has "consulted with those in charge of registration processes at the LBR on reasons why the COP has not been issued a registration certificate". But he, however, failed to call back after several hours of waiting up to press time.

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