April 23, 2019
Welcome, Ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate.
Fellow Liberians, 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: 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.
In public discourses, 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 is also a clear demonstration of political will to punish people culpable of corruption. 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. In all of these national challenges, apologists of the regime continue to show an extreme sense of belonging.
It is therefore no surprise, ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate, that there is a rapid and astounding erosion of public confidence in the CDC-led Government.
When the CDC-led Government assumed the mantle of authority in 2018, the strength of the Liberian Economy stood at over 2 % growth rate. Today, economic growth has declined to below 0 %. Inflation has increased to more than 25 %, unemployment is worsening due to a growing wave of layoff exercises at major investments in our country. To complicate this economic nightmare, 25 million USD intended to stabilize the exchange rate was mismanaged, while some of the prime culprits, including Samuel Tweah and Nat Patray walk 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.
Lawlessness and disregard for the Rule of Law is on the rise. The recent unconstitutional impeachment of Professor Ja’neh from the Supreme Court Bench, 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 Weyalla, 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 impacts of the Government’s inability to address these challenges are being felt across the length and breadth of our 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.
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, the clear lack of strategies and to readjust, recalibrate and put the country on its proper trajectory of growth, unity and prosperity for all Liberians.
As if these situations are not enough to have the government busy formulating and implementing strategies to redirect the path of governance, 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.” 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. 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.
Further proof of the Government’s intolerance towards opposing views is the libel suits against Abraham Darius Dillon, our 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, meanly 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.
We would like to warn 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 are supposed to know that Democracy, the form of government that we subscribe to is one founded on freedom. The history of our 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.
Liberty Party acknowledges 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.
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, we urge 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.
Finally, we plead 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 our country; particularly the regrouping of Former Rebel Commanders by the CDC-led Government. As a nation and people, we have paid the hard price of civil unrest and detest any attempt to take our country back to its sad days.
Happy Easter to all Liberians as we continue to hope for a better Liberia.