Liberia: Quiwonkpa Denies Involvement in Nov. 10 Violent Clash in Nimba County

Anthony Quiwonkpa, a former representative candidate of Nimba County, vehemently denies allegations connecting him to the November 10 violence in the county, resulting in several injuries.

The clash occurred between supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), led by Quiwonkpa, and the Unity Party Alliance, led by Senators Prince Johnson and Jeremiah Koung, who is now the Vice President-elect.

“Nobody should be humiliated or disgraced in his hometown or anywhere because of his political views. It’s unfortunate what happened,” Quiwonkpa said. “But as a Christian, I hold no malice against anybody. These things happened before the election, and I felt it was important that I give my side of the story.”

Quiwonkpa, the son of the late General Thomas Quiwonkpa, previously served as deputy minister of state without portfolio in the Weah administration and campaigned actively for President Weah during the runoff election in Nimba County Electoral District #3.

The violent incident took place on November 10, just days before the November 14 presidential runoff election, in Zor-Zoalay, Quiwonkpah’s hometown. At least 12 people were injured and hospitalized, and several arrests were made, with individuals currently in police custody.

Senators Johnson and Koung have accused Quiwonkpah of instigating the violence. However, Quiwonkpah strongly denies these allegations, stating that the CDC had a pre-planned program scheduled for that day. Upon learning of Johnson's plan to campaign in the same location, Quiwonkpah claims he approached the Town Chief to clarify the situation, and Johnson later agreed to postpone their program to another date.

In a surprising twist, Quiwonkpah asserts that despite this understanding, the UP Alliance proceeded with their program, leading to a confrontation. He alleges that he was assaulted by some of Johnson and Koung’s associates when he inquired about the breach of the agreed-upon arrangement, prompting his supporters to intervene.

Describing the events, Quiwonkpah stated, "As we gathered for our program in Zualay, the MDR/UP people entered Zualay and began looking for me... Upon seeing me, they demanded that I give my support to the UP or risk arrest. When I refused, they attempted to arrest me, resulting in an assault." He continued, "This led to my supporters intervening to prevent my arrest... We were subjected to pepper spray, tear gas, and physical assault by security personnel associated with Senators Johnson and Koung. I even sustained an injury on my finger."

Quiwonkpa, however, expressed openness to reconciliation, acknowledging the election's impact on causing division among the people. He revealed that he sent a congratulatory message to the Vice President-elect and followed up with a call.

“If anybody knows me, they will know that Anthony Quiwonkpa is a man of peace. I hold no grudge. For those of my brothers who decided to brutalize me, my arms are open. You need to stop the negative propaganda about my reputation; you know that I did nothing wrong.”

“I am a Liberian, and I don’t feel happy that other Nimbaians will be calling my phone and abusing my mother. If I can do it again, I will choose President Weah. Because I feel that President Weah is the best person. And I hold no apology for that,” Quiwonkpa stated.