He recalled that the 14 years civil conflict, which left over a half million Liberians and many more traumatized and displaced, is sufficient lesson for all Liberians to eschew violence and trouble, which the President said, has got no place in Liberia’s fledgling democracy.
It can be recalled that recently, some agitating residents of Zwedru City went amok in demand of Representative YekehKolubah’s immediate expulsion from the city, a hostile reaction they justified on Rep. Kolubah’s incessant verbal attacks, including profanities against President Weah.
“If you love me, if you support me, please be peaceful and developmental,” the President said in reference to the Zwedruhostile incident. “Remember that I promised the people of Liberia that my administration will maintain zero tolerance for violence but will maintain the peace, build roads and improve the lives of all.”
Speaking Sunday, August 2, 2020 during regular worship service at the ForkyKlohJlaleh Family Fellowship Incorporated, the President called on all Liberians to be peaceful and adhere to the tenet of democracy, as violence is not the answer to Liberia’s development challenges.
He described the recent incident in Zwedru City as undemocratic, vowing that those culpable will be brought to justice. He added: “Everyone has the right to move about freely in any part of the country. There are ways under our democratic system by which citizens reject people whose behaviors or political ideologies don’t march theirs. Either you stay away from assemblies where they are found or you vote against them.”
The chief executive asked the Ministry of Justice to quickly investigate the incident in Grand Gedeh County. “Liberia will never return to its ugly past, certainly not under my watch as President of the Republic,” the chief executive maintained.
Even though the Political leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), Mr. Alexander Cummings, has pointed accusing fingers on the ruling establishment for such violence in Grand Gedeh County, the latest statement by the President condemning the situation and subsequently conducting an investigation into the incident is an indication that the Government of Liberia (GoL) does not condone any act that will serve as an obstacle to take the country to its ugly past, said a member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
In an interview with reporters upon his return to Monrovia, Cummings said he is very disappointed that the country’s political discourse cannot be organized in a civil manner and form, but only through violence, something he alleged that the current government is responsible for, an allegation the Heritage could not independently verify up to press time.
He told his partisans and supporters that the Grand Gedeh’s situation is a test for them, especially those in the opposition to vote in December against the ruling establishment to ensure that the needed transformation they need can be realized. “ Do not under estimate me despite my determination to restore Liberia to its rightful place,” the ANC’s political leader warned.
Giving a brief vivid picture of what really transpired as part of his side of the story in Zwedru City, the opposition politician said the situation was actually a tense one, but he credited officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia(AFL) including members of the joint secretary team for their timely intervention, which immediately calm down the entire episode.
“ We were told to leave by the Superintendent of the County, but we refused until we successfully completed our work, clarifying further that none of his supporters retaliated in throwing rocks back at those who were throwing rocks at them,” he asserted. “ For the records, the rocks did not hit me neither any member of my entourage, unlike other people and vehicles as well,” Cummings averred.
However, he regretted the situation, adding that such should not have even happened. Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police (LNP) is said to be investigating circumstances that led to the incident, which has been widely condemned.
One of the groups that publically condemned the incident is the Catholic Diocese of Cape Palmas. According to the Diocese, whose pastoral and administrative jurisdiction cover the five counties of the southeast of Liberia, averred that the silence by the government to speak on such crucial matter is a wrong signal, thus making perpetrators to believe that their actions were on point.
In a statement, which was signed by Bishop Andrew Jagaye Karnley of the Catholic Diocese of Cape Palmas, pointed that such response was necessary owing to the country’s dark history. The Catholic Church described the action by these residents of Grand Gedeh as “democratically unhealthy”, saying it poses serious danger and undermines the peace and security of the state.
“It also violates the fundamental rights of the members of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and other collaborating opposition parties to free movement and peaceful assembly as enshrined in Chapter 3, Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic Liberia which states: All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceful manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances and to associate fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions and other organizations,” said the Church.
“We have seen that when we become politically intolerant, we invite ourselves to breakdown and destroy, and undermine the foundations of Liberia’s peace, stability and development,” read the statement.
Among other things, the Catholic Diocease of Cape Palmas added that such attacks are in gross violation of the fundamental rights to free movement and peaceful assembly goes against the principle of political tolerance and peaceful co-existence despite differences of political association and ideology
Meanwhile, prior to the release of the statement by the Church, the government had not spoken on the matter.