Editorial: Like Little Children Playing with Matches around Gasoline

— Dangerous Propositions by Rep. George and House Leadership

Two very important recent developments have claimed the attention of the public including the Daily Observer. Those developments are/were a proposal being floated allegedly by the leadership of the House of Representatives to have all Elections Magistrates in the 15 political subdivisions of the country resign their posts and reapply if interested.

The second development — and perhaps most significant but with a dialectical relationship to the first — are remarks made recently by Representative Solomon George imploring President Weah to appoint him as Police Director to ensure the disappearance of opposition elements.

Both developments are troubling and ought to claim the attention of all concerned Liberians for such is necessary to take concerted action against attempts to return this nation to its bloody past. This begins with the question of Elections Magistrates who, according to the proposal allegedly being floated by the leadership of the House, will be required to resign and reapply.

Other than for sinister reasons, there appears to be no rational explanation why the leadership of the House of Representatives is reportedly floating such a proposal calling for the resignation/dismissal of Elections Magistrates. 

They are not demanding the resignation of NEC Chairperson Davidetta Brown Lansanah, who is facing corruption charges but are instead calling for the dismissal of Elections Magistrates under the guise of a new law to be proposed.

Is it because they fear that the current crop of Elections Magistrates may not prove reliable in carrying out their bidding to rig elections results? The case of the missing Elections Magistrate from Grand Gedeh County who, in the wake of his refusal to change elections results, has mysteriously gone missing comes readily to mind. 

Further, according to family members, despite best efforts on their part including appeals to President Weah to have the Police locate/establish the whereabouts of the missing Elections Magistrate, there has been nothing forthcoming.

Given this development, reports that the leadership of both Houses appear poised to strike down those Elections Magistrates and have them replaced by CDC loyalists — all in an attempt to ensure that President Weah maintains his grip on power by any means necessary.

Apparently, according to a rights advocate, while other political parties are either asleep or busy feuding against each other, the ruling party appears to be turning all screws to ensure the success of their sinister plans, that is to steal elections results as was allegedly done in the recently concluded Lofa County Senatorial elections. 

And the surest way of accomplishing such a mission, according to rights activists, is to have the new CDC Elections Magistrates do the dirty job of vote count manipulation at the local level, in which case it could appear impeachable during final tallying and vote count at NEC headquarters.

But those planning or contemplating the use of such schemes are by no means unaware that there will be opposition to such attempts, according to rights activists, and that is why remarks by Representative Solomon George imploring President Weah to appoint him as Police Director is a serious provocation.

This is because, according to Representative George, as Police Director, he will ensure that opposition elements disappear — perhaps in the same form and fashion as did the Grand Gedeh Elections Magistrate who has since gone missing for a protracted period.

But the point that Representative George is missing is that this government and its officials by their conduct have created their nightmare and, that is, being decisively voted out of office in just about a year from now. And the idea that in just about a year from now, they could find themselves out of office is truly indeed unsettling. But making people disappear reveals a deep sense of desperation to cling to a yesterday long gone.

 After all, the CDC of yesterday when thousands would print their T-shirts and walk miles to attend a CDC program out of love and filial devotion to a soccer star and President is a far cry from the CDC of today, where cash is now being used as an inducement to attend CDC sponsored programs. Rather than trekking, state-owned buses are used nowadays to convey supporters to program venues.

Perhaps Representative George may be suffering from amnesia because, long before his arrival, others had similarly threatened the use of violence and even employed violence to stifle the opposition.  They all have met an untimely fate beginning from William Tubman to William Tolbert to Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor.

Tubman after 27 years of dictatorial rule succumbed in a London clinic allegedly after being “FIXED”. Tolbert met his end in a bloody coup d’etat; Doe met his fate at the feet of Prince Yormie Johnson; while the tough-talking ever-so-strong Taylor met his when a ragtag band of armed rebels banged at the gates of Monrovia. Now a convicted war criminal, he sits out his 50-year sentence in a lonely British jail cell.

What more can be said to Representative George? History tells us that those who forget the past are bound to repeat it but with devastating consequences. 

President Weah should take a special note because, to the utter disappointment of the public, he sat there sporting a quaint smile while Representative George berated the opposition and called to be appointed as Police Director to make opposition elements disappear. 

This is a very dangerous proposition and President Weah ought to call Representative George to order because, not only does it infer that the Police is/have been involved in unexplained disappearances, but it is a virtual declaration of war against the opposition, to which a justifiable and equal response cannot be considered far-fetched given the history of the Liberian people’s opposition to misrule, tyranny, and dictatorship. 

But his and those of both Houses’ leadership are dangerous propositions. It is like little children playing with matches around gasoline. President Weah should be mindful because he too could get caught in the resultant conflagration.