Liberia: Stop the Violence

28 September 2020
editorial

LIBERIA IS RETROGRESSING gradually into violence of unimaginable proportion that could reverse hands of the clock and send this country once again nose-diving, amid a global pandemic.

AHEAD OF MIDTERM senatorial election in December, the country has witnessed spate of violence between supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and loyalists of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties, threatening whatever is left of the economy and social peace.

THIS IS DANGEROUS and must claim attention of the Weah administration immediately. Opposition lawmakers Abraham Darius Dillon and Yekeh Kolubah have suffered attacks repeatedly in the past several months for criticizing the CDC administration. The latest saw the home of Montserrado County Electoral District#10 Representative Kolubah completely ransacked on Sunday, 27 September by mobilized youths believed to have come from the CDC just as it occurred in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County few months back.

THE GOVERNMENT APPEARS to be comfortable with violence against members of the opposition, believing that such tactics would silence them into cowardice and submission. The ruling establishment is totally paranoid by criticisms, and is prepared to go after any citizen raising his or her voice, as is in the case of Dillon and Yekeh on critical issues.

SURELY, THIS IS not the type of democracy Liberians saw in the CDC and elected its standard bearer George Manneh Weah in 2017 as President. President Weah's conspicuous silence on the wave of violence across the country is not only worrisome, but disappointing.

THIS IS EVEN more dangerous as the country goes to the poll on December 8th to elect 15 senators with the ruling Coalition seeking absolute control of the Legislature, which it already has over both the House and the Senate.

THE WEAH ADMINISTRATION should understand that violently suppressing free speech and dissenting views are traits of dictatorship that undermine tolerance and national unity. The eastern European state of Belarus is a classic example of where tyrant rules with iron fist, crushing dissents at all cost.

LIBERIA SHOULD NOT be allowed to return to such atmosphere because our international partners, including the United States, the United Nations, ECOWAS and the African Union, among others invested a lot in this country to get us to where we are today as a people.

We call on the government to move quickly in ensuring the violence comes to an end no matter which side it emanated from to give way to democratic norms and practices, which are healthy for our democracy.

IN THE SAME vein, we want an immediate investigation into Sunday's violence that left Representative Kolubah's residence totally ransacked so that perpetrators are brought to justice. Anything short of that could be seen as government's complacency.

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