Editorial: A Hard Reality and Fact that all Liberians Should Know by Now!

It was a tension filled afternoon. It was an afternoon of blood and gore perpetrated by thugs allegedly from the CDC youth wing.

Right before the eyes of a watching public, a group of young people, protesters from the UL campus-based Student Unification Party, were violently assaulted, leaving many wounded.

Another protester, bloodied by the attackers, was also stripped naked and violently assaulted. 

Not surprisingly, the Police, well-armed, was visibly present but did not lift a finger to prevent the attack.

Meanwhile the attack was being video-recorded by onlookers who beamed it on social media (Facebook), as the entire drama unfolded.

And this happened across the street from the United States Embassy on Snapper Hill, Benson Street, West.

The students, chanting the slogan “Fix the country”, according to sources, had assembled before the US Embassy allegedly to draw the attention of the American government to what they see as the poor manner in which the country is being governed under the leadership of President George Weah.

Shortly after the chanting protesters arrived,  the CDC-COP, a hardline auxiliary of the President, pounced upon the SUP protestors and later chased them, leading to SUP protesters being violently assaulted and wounded, according to video evidence. 

The ugly incidents received instant condemnation locally and around the world. According to an eyewitness account, one of the attackers allegedly boastfully repeated that their boss Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee had approved their action. 

It is not lost on the public that, while these gruesome acts were being perpetrated against citizens who exercised their constitutional right to peacefully assemble to express their displeasure with the state of affairs in the country, the National Independence Day Orator, Commerce Minister Mawine G. Diggs, told critics of the Weah administration that their “criticisms without the proffering of solutions or actions are just another level of hate.”

But this is not the first of such violent incidents perpetrated by thugs under the watch of the Liberia National Police under the leadership of Patrick Sudue.

The violence perpetrated against Telia Urey in Logan Town in 2019 by thugs with alleged links to the CDC during the District 15 elections happened under the watchful eye of the Liberian National Police. This happened just days after President Weah himself stood on the stage at his party headquarters, telling his partisans to “flog that little girl”. 

During that spate of violence as like this recent one which occurred across the street from the US Embassy on Independence Day, July 26, the Police, though present, did nothing to stop the violence which almost claimed the life of Ms. Telia Urey.

In both cases, so far, no arrests have been made and it appears unlikely that any investigation or official probe will be launched. And given the glaring video evidence livestreamed on social media from the incident, the police are calling for witnesses to aid in the investigation. Who will step forward?

Judging from what was relayed on social media to the world, it appears increasingly and frighteningly clear that strong-arm tactics and the use of unbridled violence with impunity in order to intimidate the political opposition, may be a constant feature in the run-up to the elections only 15 months away from now.

This newspaper has consistently warned against this trend and called on President Weah to rein in those around him who encourage and perhaps direct such action.

The reason is simple. Violence begets violence. Those who perpetrated such violence ought to realize that though Liberians by nature will accept and tolerate a lot, such should not be seen as docility.

This is because history, especially of the last three decades, has taught us that they will rise up in revolt. 

Perhaps, this is lost on the current national leadership. As a reminder, there was a time in the history of this country when similar acts were perpetrated by the youth wing task force  of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) of President Doe.

It was that youth task force which burned down the home of former Secretary of State, J. Rudolph Grimes, including his library with a vast collection of books and other historical materials on Liberia.

After the April 12, 1980 coup, followed by the execution of thirteen former government officials, Doe and fellow coup makers became instant heroes. For weeks, hundreds of traditional women took to the streets chanting praise songs, “Native woman born soldier…”

Only a year later the euphoria had petered out, replaced by a general feeling of consternation at the alarming level of abuses including corruption perpetrated by the new saviors.

Ruling by fiat, he imposed himself as president following elections in which it was widely believed he lost to opposition leader Jackson Fiah Doe.

Only five years later, Doe found himself begging for mercy at the feet of besieging rebel leader  Prince Yormie Johnson. But the mercy he begged and prayed for never came his way. He met a disgraceful and demeaning end.

Of even more recent memory is that of the mercurial and former rebel leader, Charles Taylor whose walking cane, he is reported to have boasted, was hewn from a tree beneath which no other plant grows.

He was toutehigh-securityowerful military leader and strategist, the Dahkpana (Gola for the most powerful mythical one-legged spirit), the “sabee pas sabee” (all knowing) man.

Today he sits in a lonely cell in a high security British jail, condemned to spend almost the rest of his life locked behind bars.