Four leading civil society organizations (CSOs), including Accountability Lab, Center for Transparency and Accountability (CENTAL), Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) and Naymote Partners for Democratic Development (NAMOTE) have condemned the recent attack on representative aspirant Telia Urey and her team.
The CSOs’ condemnation came in the aftermath of reported violence across the country.
On August 17, 2019, violence erupted between supporters of Ms. Urey of the four opposition collaborating political parties and some suspected supporters of the ruling CDC in Logan Town, District #15 in Montserrado County.
CENTAL Executive Director Anderson Miamen told newsmen at a press conference on Sunday, August 18, 2019 that the attack on Ms. Urey and her team as well as the destruction of her vehicle — without prompt response from officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) — was “unacceptable, irresponsible, and counterproductive.”
This, the CSOs said, is tantamount to undermining the rule of law, peace and stability.
Although the country may be stable and peaceful as perceived by others, according to Miamen, “There is a strong possibility of reverting to conflict if political leaders are not careful about their decisions and utterances.”
He said that the Montserrado County by-elections has witnessed “unprecedented insults, attacks and violence, with poorly coordinate responses from the LNP and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which, accordingly, signal troubling time for the upcoming 2020 senatorial election and the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.”
“We call on President George Weah to take leadership of the nation and act to sustain the peace; we are of the strong conviction that the statement from President Weah that ‘Urey will win election only if George Weah does not exist,’ and the labeling of Ms. Urey as a little girl, might have served as adequate incentives for triggering the ongoing electoral violence in Montserrado County,” Mr. Miamen said.
In another development, the group has also condemned recent statements from Jefferson Koijee, Monrovia City Mayor, who also chairs the CDC Youth League, threatening to counter-protest saying, “we will meet flesh and blood.”
He also recalled a recent statement made by opposition leader Benoni Urey, referring to supporters of the ruling CDC party as “Cockroaches.” Such statements, Miamen said, was counterproductive to the peace and stability of the nation.
Mr. Miamen, who read the statement on behalf of the four CSOs, however called on the LNP to investigate and immediately release the electoral violence reports, including the recent violence at the headquarters of the Liberty Party.
“These should include the violence that took place in District #15, the destruction of a Unity Party vehicle assigned to Mo Ali as well as Telia Urey’s private vehicle; the allegation of abuse on Ms. Jackie Taylor, etc.; and take remedial action to avert their occurrence,” he said.
Mr. Miamen also called on political leaders to stop using the services of ‘disadvantaged youth’ (the Zogos) to instigate violence and, instead, rehabilitate them to meaningfully contribute to the country’s development.
Meanwhile, the group strongly encouraged the Liberian government to continuously respect the constitutional rights of all irrespective of statuses.
Miamen then expressed the belief that the violent action against Telia Urey as a candidate in a political race undermines the overall national effort to accentuate women’s political participation as well as representation in national politics, and could demoralize other women who harbor ambitions to enter politics.