Speaking recently at a news conference minutes after the violent protest by a group under the banner of the Youth League of the Council of Patriots in the main street of the Tubman Boulevard, outside Monrovia, the MCC boss did not mince his words as he vowed “fire for fire.” According to Koijee, in direct response to any would be protest before the arrival of law enforcement agency, he would organize what he termed as a “Citizen Action Unit ” or CAU that would counter attack and arrest those “trouble makers.”
Koijee pointed out that he would not preside over a ghost city where everyone would be laws unto themselves, stressing that he would do everything possible to protect the City of Monrovia.“We will not tolerate this. This was a terroristic threat. This sends bad signal to the international community. The act to create fear is totally unacceptable. We will do all to have you protected. Your rights of protection will not be gambled. We condemn this in strongest term,” he indicated.
“We will commission the citizens action unit to combat violence in their communities. To ensure a clear cut vigilance. We are disappointed, we are dismayed,” he added.But the assertions by the MCC boss have been condemned by dozens of Liberians, including civil society organizations, who think that such comments undermine the peace and stability of the country as it would create further chaos than protecting the peace.
Speaking at a joint press conference, four major civil society organizations, namely: the Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Institute for Research & Democratic Development (IREDD), NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development and Accountability Liberia Lab condemned the assertions by the MCC boss. The four collaborating CSOs accentuated that it was unfortunate for a mayor to make such statement that is unhealthy to the peace of the country."Such statement is unwarranted and counterproductive to Liberia's peace and undermines the role of the Liberia National Police and other security apparatus in the country,” the groups indicated.
They then called on the mayor to desist from making such statements on grounds that it also factors in violence and undermines peace."We urge Mr. Koijee to desist from making such utterances as it equally tends to ferment violence and jealously protect the peace as any violence and instability will worsen the already difficult economic conditions of the country,” the statement added. The joint statement was signed by NAYMOTE Executive Director Eddie Jarwolo, CENTAL Executive Director Anderson Miamen, Accountability Liberia Lab Executive Director Lawrence Yealue,and IREDD Executive Director Harold Marvin Aidoo Sr.
It can be recalled that during the early morning hours of Thursday, June 25, 2020, some members of the Council of Patriots(COPs) set up unauthorized road blocks and burned car tires on the main street near the Nigerian Embassy in Monrovia.The protesters were conveying their disenchantment over alleged plan by government to increase charges on internet through GSM companies.The incident, which started shortly after 6:00 am, prevented motorists, commuters and residents ofthe Old Road Community, Congo Town from moving as flames of fire were seen on the main street near the German Embassy, near the Zone 3 Police Deport in Congo Town.
At the same time, the Transparency and Accountability in Liberia(CENTAL), Institute for Research & Democratic Development (IREDD), NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development and Accountability Liberia Lab. have categorically denounced the action of the protesters, saying it has the propensity to undermine Liberia's peace and instill fear in citizens and development partners as well as create a sense of insecurity.Speaking at a joint press conference held at CENTAL in Monrovia, the groups said: "We call on the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police to timely investigate the matter and prosecute those who masterminded and executed the violence."
According to the Executive Director of CENTAL, Mr. Anderson Miamen, while they support the rights of individuals or groups to protest or voice out their frustration about any happenings in the country, they must do so legally and on a civil approach.Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Council of Patriots, Mr. Henry P. Costa, in a brief interview with OK FM, claimed responsibility of the violence and bragged that he has no regret of the action carried out by some members of his organization.