The opposition Liberty Party yesterday issued a strong-worded statement reminiscent of incompetence and inefficiency in the Liberian governance process, saying that there is a rapid and astounding erosion of public confidence in the CDC-led Government. The party then pointed to instances of incompetence and lawlessness characterizing the CDC-led Government; The Analyst’s J. Dennis Weah reports.
The party pointed to economic recession and indicated that the strength of the Liberian Economy which stood at over 2 % growth rate today has declined to below 0 % with increase in the rate of inflation to more than 25 %, as unemployment is worsening due to a growing wave of layoff exercises at major investments in the country.
The Liberty Party press statement read by its National Chairman Steve Zargo who described the state of affairs and stated: … that with just a little over one year of the CDC-led Government, our nation continues to experience rapid decline in nearly all sectors of our governance framework.
The party reiterated that there is a sharp decline in the performance of the economy, the nation is experiencing widespread acts of lawlessness and mysterious deaths of prominent citizens with elusive promises of police investigation or none at all; incompetence of people appointed to strategic positions in the public sector is conspicuous; our health care delivery system portrays a life-threatening decline as a result of the lack of basic medical supplies to major health centers.
There is an uncontrollable exhibition of intolerance by public officials, the civil service is overcrowded by political surrogates of the CDC, without a corresponding and practical alignment with the size of the national envelop, accountability, a cardinal part of good governance, is grossly lacking, as it is also a clear demonstration of political will to punish people culpable of corruption, the Liberty Party said.
State of Economy
Noting that the economy declines from over 2 % growth rate to below 0 %, Senator Zargo, said on behalf of his party that the quagmire surrounding the missing 15.5 Billion Liberian Dollars and misapplication of 25 Million USD intended to temporarily strike a balance in the LD to USD exchange rate, is a classic case in point, noting that in all of these national challenges, apologists of the regime continue to show an extreme sense of belonging.
To complicate this economic nightmare, Senator Zargo asserted that the 25 million USD intended to stabilize the exchange rate was mismanaged with some of the prime culprits, including Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah and Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor Nat Patray walking around scot free.
“Although the international and local investigative reports into these missing monies clearly indict these two high profile government officials, the regime is yet to press any charge against them as in the case of Charles Sirleaf, Milton Weeks and others. Paradoxically, these Untouchables continue to represent the interest of our country in the negotiation of much needed international support to this government,” Senator Zargo accentuated.
Due to the declining state of affairs, the Liberty Party said businesses, particularly small Liberian businesses are collapsing, while the general security atmosphere remains tense.
“What is noteworthy and sad about these troubling national nightmares is the conspicuous silence of the president, his clear lack of strategies to readjust, recalibrate and put the country on its proper trajectory of growth, unity and prosperity for all Liberians,” the Liberty Party said.
He said lawlessness and disregard for the Rule of Law is on the rise and that the recent unconstitutional impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Professor Kabineh M. Ja’neh from the Supreme Court Bench as well as the growing wave of mob violence and killings across the country and the regrouping of Former Rebel Commanders to defend the government are a few signs of lawlessness characterizing the CDC-led Government.
“A few months ago, three young women were humiliated in Sinoe County for alleged witchcraft activities, with one person reported dead. Couple of weeks ago, at least two persons were killed in Ganta City by angry mob for alleged theft. Separate mob actions in Weala, Margibi County and Paynesville, Montserrado County reportedly left at least two persons dead. These plus several other incidents of violence speak to just how lawlessness continues to be the hallmark of the CDC-led Government,” the Liberty Party Statement maintained.
The impacts of the Government’s inability to address these challenges, the Liberty Party continues, are being felt across the length and breadth of the country from the public to the private sector.
“There is a growing wave of economic crisis complicated by insecurity. Youth unemployment, which the UN Mission in Liberia identified as the foremost threat to Liberia’s long term peace and security is on an unprecedented rise under the leadership of President George Weah,” the statement maintained.
“Enemies of the State”
As if these situations are not enough to have the government busy formulating and implementing strategies to redirect the path of governance, the Liberty Party’s Steve Zargo said the wave of intolerance against dissent by public officials and well-known regime apologists is extremely alarming.
“Today in our country, anyone who criticizes the government is branded as being hateful; irrespective of the facts provided and the constructive nature of the critic. This growing wave of intolerance for dissent stems from the President’s misplaced branding of critics of his government as “Enemies of the State,” the statement averred.
The Liberty Party furthered that well-known regime critics, including journalists and members of the public have reported threats on their lives by defenders of the CDC-led Government. Media institutions deemed critical of the government have suffered attacks.
Zargo said many Liberians, including some who voted the CDC into power, are baffled by the fact that a party that won national and international notoriety for its vocal, but most times misguided, ruthless and violent opposition to the former UP-led Government for twelve consecutive years would become so extremely intolerant in just a little over one year in leadership.
The Liberty Party diagnosed another proof of intolerance on the part of the government towards opposing views as the libel suits against its partisan Abraham Darius Dillon, LP’s Vice Chair for Political Affairs, and Henry Costa, arguably the most vocal critics of the regime. “The two are members of a group named and styled, “ Council of Patriots”, a group that is currently planning a Peaceful Protest against the shortcomings of the government, mainly economic hardship across the country.
“We would like to inform the Government of Liberia that Liberty Party takes seriously and is aware of the political emotions and intolerance driving these court actions and would do everything legally and politically reasonable to protect these two individuals, as their advocacies continue to benefit the greater interest of the country,” the Liberty Party stressed.
The Liberty Party warned public officials instituting such court actions as a means of clamping down on dissent to immediately desist as it would only heighten the wave of political tension blowing across the country.
These officials, Senator Zargo said, are supposed to know that Democracy, the form of government that Liberia subscribes to, is one founded on freedom. The history of the country is replete with the very harsh consequences of people attempting to subvert and manage the freedom of the people. We caution the government against taking actions that would set our nation on a path of reliving its national nightmares of the past.
The president must rise to the occasion and begin to show leadership in the face of all that is happening to our country. He doesn’t need to be told that he is presiding over a deeply divided nation.
On June 7 Public Protest
Liberty Party also acknowledged information of a planned peaceful protest by a group of Liberians, “the Council of Patriots” on June 7, 2019 to remind the government of the growing wave of economic hardship, uncontrollable corruption, flagrant constitutional violations, mob violence, clamp down on non-adherents, etcetera across the country and proffer solutions towards mitigating these problems.
“We welcome the pending peaceful protest as it is a fundamental tenet of Democracy for the people to freely assemble and petition their government when it is so required. Our decision is further informed by the demonstrated indifference the President and officials of this government continue to show in the face of the bruising economic hardship being faced by our people,” the party said.
As a party that is acclaimed for adherence to the Rule of Law and given the sad history of recent violent protests organized by the CDC while in opposition and during the recent Montserrado County By-Elections in district 13, the Liberty Party urged the organizers of the protest to remain peaceful and act in keeping with laws.
“On the Strength of Article XXXX of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, it is the rights of the people to at any and all times assemble and express themselves on issues affecting their wellbeing. During the course of the planning and implementation of the planned protest, the CDC-led Government must also take cognizance of its constitutional mandate to provide security for the protestors and constructively advert any plan by surrogates of the government to provoke violence as was done by Mayor Jefferson Koiji and his supporters in District 13,” the Liberty Party warned.
Concluding, the Liberty Party pleaded with the UN, EU, AU, ECOWAS and all our foreign partners who invested so much in our peace process to keep eyes on the trend of events unfolding in Liberia; particularly the regrouping of Former Rebel Commanders by the CDC-led Government.