The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) in partnership with the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) and NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, have called on stakeholders, including the leadership of the Council of Patriots (CoP) and the government to sustain the peace by upholding the rule of law, human rights, and free movement of citizens during Friday’s “peaceful protest.”
IREDD is represented by its executive director Harold Aidoo, while NAYMOTE is represented by its executive director, Eddie Jarwolo.
The group made the call on Tuesday, June 5, 2019 in a joint statement on concerns about the peacefulness of the impending June 7, 2019 protest in Monrovia.
CENTAL’s Executive Director, Anderson D. Miamen, said “collectively and with the support of development partners, Liberians suffered for the peace we currently enjoy. So, we must continue to jealously guide and protect, individually and collectively through our actions and deeds”.
Miamen said the June 3, 2019 violent situation on Broad Street allegedly involving supporters of Representative Yekeh Kolubah Montserrado District #10, and some of the “Zogos” (wayward youth), largely believed to be against the planned June 7 peaceful protest, undermines the country’s rule of law, peace and stability.
He believes that the reported tension between rival political groups on the Capitol Hill campus of the University of Liberia; and the increased negative social media campaigns are counterproductive to the growth and development of the country.
“Although stable and peaceful, there is a strong possibility of reverting to conflict, if Liberians are not careful about their decisions and utterances; no matter which side of the political spectrum they find themselves,” Mr. Miamen said.
He added, “While we unconditionally support exercise of the rights of citizens, especially organizers, supporters and sympathizers of the planned June 7 peaceful protest, as guaranteed by Article 17 of the 1986 Liberian Constitutions, we want to encourage all would-be protesters to do so within the confines of the law.
We strongly encourage organizing body of the protest, the Council of Patriots (CoP) to take full control over their members protesting in solidarity with their auspices,” Miamen said.
He therefore encouraged the Liberian government to continue “respecting” the constitutional rights of the protesters seeking to peacefully express their grievances about ongoing developments.
According to Mr. Miamen, the onus is on government to lead by example in maintaining and sustaining the peace in part through exercising extreme caution and civility in dealing with the protesters.
Miamen has meanwhile recommended to officers of the Liberian National Police remain professional, respectful to human rights and the rule of law by refraining from the use of excessive force against unarmed protesters.
He called on the media, government officials and members of the CoP to be conflict sensitive and ensure that peace, stability and democracy are sustained and guaranteed.
“We call on the international community, especially the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the United Nations and the European Union, and the American Embassy to closely monitor the situation in order to hold anyone, who will instigate violence, accountable for their action(s).