Liberia: The Writings Are on the Wall

Supporters of the National Patriotic Party, a constituent member of the ruling coalition, marching towards Senator Johnson Church in Paynesville on Sunday

By OluBanke King-Akerele, Board Chair, Angie Brooks International Centre For Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development International Peace & Security (ABIC)

The Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace, and Security (ABIC) wishes to add its voice to that of the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC); the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA); the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL), and others, in condemning the events at the Christ Chapel of Faith of Senator Prince Johnson last, May 21 as captured both by video and reported upon in the media. 

Those developments do not speak well of the signatures appended by the political parties, including the ruling CDC, to the Farmington Declaration. Indeed, the events undermine the very objectives of non-violence, among others, in the lead up to the upcoming elections in October 2023.

As such, the Angie Brooks International Centre calls for an urgent, impartial investigation by the Ministry of Justice thru the Liberian National Police that should include independent international involvement. 

The investigation must be followed by appropriate charges and speedy prosecution of the perpetrators. This is very serious and should be seen as Conflict Prevention. The “writings” are on the wall. We do not want to have to wait for Conflict Management which will be the order of the day when things fall apart. 

To the extent that the ECOWAS Representative and the UN Resident Coordinator are co-Chairs of the Steering Committee that has been established for monitoring the implementation of the Farmington Declaration, they must act now. 

Not to do so would lead to serious of lapses in the monitoring. Let us remember how the independent assessment of the Rwanda Genocide condemned the international community for insufficient action in the wake of the then upcoming genocide, when there were clear signs of the writings on the wall.

Finally, where is the voice of President Weah? Mr. President your citizens need to hear from you in your capacity as President of the Republic of Liberia. We understand that President Weah has called Senator Prince Johnson. Well and good. However his people need to hear his voice on the subject in the same way as he spoke so eloquently at the signing of the Farmington Declaration some weeks ago.

Now is the time we need more than excellent peace speeches. We the Citizens need action to Sustain the peace for which Liberians and our international partners, in one way or the other, have paid dearly for over the years! We need the use of the President Executive power as given by the Liberia legislature, to mobilize Executive officers (Ministry of Justice, Liberia National Police and others with Legislative powers) to investigate the incident at Christ Chapel of Faith on May 21. 

Evangelist Prince Y Johnson is also a politician and Senator of Nimba County. This incident has political overtones and has the potential to involve retaliation which would escalate into major civil disturbance. We end with the motto of Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security (ABIC) namely that The Peace is in our hands!!