Liberia: Zwedru Tense Amid Death News of Rep. Gwion

Liberia: Zwedru Tense Amid Death News of Rep. Gwion

….Alleged supporters destroy several properties

Zwedru turned tense on December 5, after supporters of the late Rep. Errol Madison Gwion ran amok, destroying properties following the announcement of his death early Tuesday morning.

Information reaching the Daily Observer suggests that the angry group of alleged supporters of the late Gwion went on the rampage shortly after his death was announced, destroying several properties, including two belonging to Senator Zoe Emmanuel Pennue. The mob alleged that Gwion died from ‘witchcraft activities’ masterminded by Sen. Pennue, who they believe may have seen Gwion’s recent victory as a threat to the Senator’s political base. 

Smile FM in Zwedru described the violence yesterday as “terrible and frightening,” forcing some residents and citizens to stay indoors and caused businesses to close for the day.

“We are in danger”, said one Lusinee, a businessman in Zwedru. 

“The guys are on the streets carrying out damages and singing slogans of violence,” he said.

Prior to ransacking Senator Pennue’s dream home, the mob set ablaze his present residence, leaving everything in ashes.

Some residents of Zwedru, who asked not to be named, quoted the angry mobs or supporters of the late Gwion, saying “Senator Pennue considered the late Gwion as being a main challenger to his 2029 senatorial bid.”

Pennue could not be reached for comment. The mob also accused a woman of bewitching the late Gwion, which they alleged subsequently led to his death.

The angry mob also turned on the office of the traditional chiefs in Zwedru, vandalizing the facility accusing the chiefs of not handling the witchcraft case seriously enough, which subsequently led to Gwion’s death.

The traditional chiefs’ office was said to have been built with funding from County Social Development Funds.

The mob also looted and burned down the home of the lady alleged to have cast the witching spell on Gwion. 

The situation brought Zwedru to a standstill, leaving the residents in shock and disbelief, prompting the Armed Forces of Liberia to intervene, finally bringing the situation under control.

It is not yet clear whether anyone was arrested in this incident. Many are blaming the outgoing administration of President George Manneh Weah for not doing enough to bring to justice the lawless behaviors engulfing the city.

Last year, some young people violently attacked the convoy of Mr. Alexander B. Cummings and Rep. Yekeh Kolubah, who were visiting Zwedru on a pre-election tour. 

Prior to the attack on Rep. Kolubah, some angry youth went on a rampage and set ablaze the police station. There was no indication of arrests in both incidents.

The late Gwion came into the political spectrum after he won a by-election in 2021, filling the vacancy created by Zoe Pennue, who got elected to the Senate in the 2020 Special Senatorial Election. 

During the 2021 by-election in Zwedru, Senator Pennue supported one Sokan against Gwion, but the late Gwion overwhelmingly defeated Sokan, his main challenger. 

Accordingly, Shortly after the by-election, the acting Election Magistrate in Grand Gedeh mysteriously went missing, leaving many critics to believe the disappearance of the Election Magistrate was premeditated.

In the 2023 election, Sen. Pennue was said to be supporting a female representative candidate in Zwedru against the incumbent, Gwion.

Despite allegations by supporters that the late Gwion was bewitched, some believed too that the late Gwion’s physical appearance had always been poor, indicating he may have been suffering from some undisclosed illness.

“It is hard to say, but the late Rep. Gwion always appeared sickly. We don’t know whether it was bewitchment afflicting him,” said a Zwedru resident who asked not to be named.

Gwion ran on the ticket of the ruling party, the CDC, in the October 10, 2023 election and overwhelmingly won, securing his incumbency.