As Protest Numbers Swell, CoP Says, ‘We’re Not Going Anywhere’

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Henry Costa with Mo Ali (at his right) led protesters to the Capitol on the morning to January 6, 2020 to begin their protest.

By Hannah N. Geterminah and David S. Menjor

The protesters are gradually swelling in their numbers, amid the huge presence of joint security, including riot police, officers of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), the National Security Agency (NSA) and other security personnel on the principal streets of Monrovia. Earlier this morning, the atmosphere in the city was likened to a public holiday with sparse traffic between Duport road, Paynesville up to 12th street, Monrovia, where the police placed a road block to redirect traffic to Jallah Town. The Jallah Town road is where heavy traffic begins, bound for central Monrovia.  Cars are not using the Tubman Boulevard after 12th street, leading to the Executive mansion and Capitol. The main gates to public buildings on Capitol hill, including the Temple of Justice and the Capitol, are closed. All schools, including the University of Liberia, as well as businesses in central Monrovia are all closed, which could result in the loss of millions of dollars in government revenue collection. People are seen in smaller gatherings listening to their radios, while others tune in to social media news feeds on their mobile devices.

By 1pm, the number of protesters had swelled, nearing the June 7, 2019 proportion.

Small beginnings

In spite of the initial low turn out of the protesters, even by-standers appear to be adding to the protest numbers. Howbeit, Council of Patriots chairman Henry P. Costa remains optimistic of the protest achieving its aim.

Costa, told journalists earlier today that the CoP and its supporters will not leave the street until the President responds to their petition, which was submitted in June 2019. he added that the group is not detered by the initial low turnout, as the Government has instill fear in citizens. “We’re going anywhere, we’re right here. We will not leave until the president responds to us. The president has already had impact because things in the capital has still.”

The CoP, organizers of the protest, had earlier demanded that the President “step down” due to what they referred to as his inability to manage the economy and govern the country. However, after much intervention by Liberia’s international partners, with led to the cooling down of the stalemate between the government and the CoP, the CoP reframed its protest message, calling on President Weah to “step up” and address the demands of the people as expressed in the CoP’s petition from June 7, 2019.

Tubman Blvd on the morning of January 6, 2020

The protesters, through their leaders, have said they will remain in the street until their demands are met. However, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe has told the public that the government has agreed to allow the COP stage a peaceful protest just for a single day.

Mixed messages

Also conflicting statements released Sunday, January 5, 2020 within the the Unity Party and the Liberty Party, respectively, may have also contributed to the initial low turnout of the protest on January 6.

On Sunday, Unity Party chairman and executive member of the CoP, Wilmot Paye, issued a statement effectively distancing the party from the planned protest. Shortly afterward, Mo Ali, Assistant Secretary General for press, publicity and outreach, issued a statement saying that “The entire Executive Committee of the UP and party faithfuls still affirm and support, as declared by its Standard Bearer, Amb. Joseph N. Boakai, any peaceful gathering of any group of Liberians as provided for by the Constitution of Liberia. The UP, encourages Liberians from all walks of life to help ensure the fulfillment of the country’s constitution including but not limited to the staging of peaceful assemblies.

“The UP also appreciates the Ministry of Justice commitment to adhere to those basic democratic principles and provide security for any and all Liberians who desire to assemble peacefully,” the UP official statement said.

A similar mixed-messaging emanated from the ranks of the Liberty Party as well, with one of its spokespersons issuing a two-page endorsement of the CoP’s protest. However, the political leader of the party, Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, denied any knowledge of the endorsement, even though her fellow executive member of the Liberty Party and colleague in the Senate, Abe Darius Dillon, is an executive member of the Council of Patriots.

Not about numbers

A group of Pprotesters ascend to Capitol Hill from Buzzy Quarter for the January 6 protest.

The protesters have started gathering in the street singing, “George Weah da rouge we will talk it today and this kind of stealing we never see it in Ellen time…”

Senator Dillon said, “the latest protest is not about numbers because all of those who stay home do so as another form of protest and we that are brave to get in the street are here to Express our frustration to the government and demand response from the government about June 7 petition because the government is in possession of our quest that is the reason why they always talk about it.

Senator Darius Dillon: “The latest protest is not about numbers because all of those who stay home do so as another form of protest…”

Next protest: the Legislature

He said the LP political leader, Senator Karnga Lawrence, did not distance herself from the protests…. the COP is not about political parties that is why I, an Executive member of the LP and Senator, am protesting because I stand for the Liberian people not the government [which] I am a member of, or my party. After today, the next protest that will be led by me will be among my colleagues. I will call on Montserrado County and those that believe in Liberia to be in this capital building as a continuation of the protest. Many of the problems Liberia faces today come from this building.

“The government sent an incompetent person here and we from the Senate confirmed that person,” Sen. Dillon told journalists at the protest ground at the Capitol. “When [the] President sent the ETON deal and plenty people in this building passed it, it shows we have problems in here. When one president destroys the judiciary by removing a sitting associate justice and the plenty people did it even against their conscience shows they have problems. The few of us that are standing tall will be very resilient and resolved and call our people to put the Lawmakers on their feet, because 80% of the problems comes from us. If you have a strong Legislature, you will have the President doing the right thing, not violation of the Constitution; because if the President wants to do bad work, we have the right to stop it.”

He said the President had a long meeting with the legislature and some of those things discussed involved lawmakers asking to the president to reorganize his cabinet because many of them are incompetent. According to Dillon, “the President responded was it was the Senate who confirmed them, which tells us that we are not working. The legislature needs to work for the country, not the government,” he said.

9 COMMENTS

  1. With mixed messages coming from the opposition political parties, I thought all collaborating opposition political parties were speaking in uniformity in support of the rights of Liberians to protest as enshrined in the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. In my view, this protest should have been headed by all the collaborating political parties and not the COP. The COP is only filling in the void created by opposition political parties and their failure to hold the Weah-CDC’s Government accountable on behalf of the Liberian people.

    Again, I’m not surprised at all since all the Liberian opposition political parties have nothing new to offer the Liberian people in terms of departing from this same old trickle-down economic structure of governance, that continues to create economic hardships of Liberians, while those in government pay themselves hefty salaries and incentives.

    Hopefully from this experience, Liberians will begin the process of re-thinking their support for this criminal regime and their supporting opposition political parties pretending to have solutions to their problems. Well, this too is Liberia and we are watching with critical eyes, ears, and minds to propose a different and people-friendly agenda for the prosperity of all Liberians and the Nation.

  2. Hey guys! Continue the job work. This is another bad tree started germinating in this country and Liberians are sitting ignorantly watching. Every lovely country in time of hard economic that is the time to be united and fight back the situation. Every country in the world can experience economics recession including the US, but through their patriotism they can overcome. That is while Africa,s remain beggars amongst the continents most especially Liberia. Such radicalization called protest began in 1979 although I was not around, but most Liberians welcome the idea thinking that is the best way to settle down political dispute which culminated into full-blown of civil crisis that destroyed many generations, but today we all are feeling the same pinch regardless of background. Liberia,s God just force us here but we don’t love this country.

    Henry Costa with his so called culprits what they have to show in this country. They are enemies of the state. They don’t want to see any good coming out of Liberia for sake of their selfish political gain. They are just waiting for any political vacuum so that they can even fight amongst themselves for who to go for the position. Radicalization or so-called protest have in no way save this country. Anytime you open radio or newspaper you cannot hear about any development agenda but bulk of nonsensical issues how you will expect development? Although I am not a supporter of President Weah, but a patriotic Liberian. You argue that the president or the government cannot listen to your plights because you people are not independent body, or any CSO. You people were massively defeated in the elections and regrouped yourselves to steal state power. Such cheap political rhetoric can no longer work. Your political tactics have instills more fears in Liberians and that of the outside world. Very stupid and idiotic group that preached egotism, covetousness and political methodology skill that can not defend your logic.
    Woe to you Costa, Liberia,s wins

  3. Mr. Leewaye, it looks like you are not living in this real world, or you are living on utopia. You need to adjust yourself to this real world so that you know the happenings around. The cop and the collaborating political parties are no different. It just putting new wine old bottle. The likes of Cummings, nyonbleed and paye who later pretended to be out of the protest were all involved. They are subversively threw hands and hid them behind their backs. They are traitors. For God sake, Liberia has been involved into 14 years of unrest, after the war, with the helped of international community, instead of utilizing the helps by building the economic they evilly initiated fabulous salaries that even came second in Africa after Kenya living the private sector which is the bone of the economic vulnerable. PAYE forget the time he was taking $ 9,000 USD as deputy minister of commerce, or Dillon $ 3,000 USD as cos. Wow! your bring back all these fabulous salaries so that we can put them in the economics to regain our flamboyance life.

    Opportunity come once! Go in the streets and protest. That will not solve the problems that you and your past corrupt regime created. Foolish and stupid people.

  4. Mr. Leewaye,
    The existence of CoP came about because of a merger of the opposition political parties of Cummings, Urey, Boakai and other notables including Costa the shock jock! You’re right… there’s a tremendous amount of spin on the news from Liberia, therefore it is hard to get down to the truth. However Mr. Leewaye, without being comical, it “seems” as if the CoP is badly fragmented. Most of the organization’s operatives or (notables if you will) were MIA in today’s protest march. Common sense dictates that Cummings the Liberian angel, Urey the financier, Boakai the elder statesman (or call him sleepy Joe) were not seen today because something is not right.

    Last week, just before the year 2019 came to an end, a young firebrand named Rufus Nuefville made some allegations about the inner workings of the CoP that cannot be ignored. First, Nuefville stated that he was an originalist in the formation of the CoP. Nuefville broke ranks with the CoP according to him to form the ICoP, because the CoP organization is splintered and double-deals. Those are not his words but mine. Some people, probably you included dismissed Nuefville as a loose cannon or maybe a blabbermouth. Well, I took him at his word then and now. Ironically, some of the allegations Nuefville made in his denouciation of the CoP last week, somehow became a reality today. Some notables were MIA……(missing in action) during the march.

    It seems that when push comes to shove, the Costa group (meaning the operatives) cannot be trusted to stand the test of time. There are reports (maybe a spin) that Kolubah was unhappy with Costa and many people today. If the information is correct, the question is why would Kolubah become visibly upset at his bossom buddies? Well, maybe, something “ain’t” right in the CoP.

    Mr. Leewaye, it’s good for people to protest if they have a good reason to do so. A protest is a form of expression and it is something that is permissible constitutionally. Today’s demonstrations in Monrovia was not as good as the last one. It made no sense for protesters to light up their stoves (or cook pots) on the campus of the Executive Mansion to cook. Come on. Costa and company will turn their supporters and sympathizers off if they fail to put a stop to cooking on the grounds of the Mansion.

    For once, let’s not blame Weah. If protesters are allowed to cook while they protest, where will they go to use the bathroom? Where will they dump their garbage? Or take a shower?

    • Another classic example of this man’s “fairness across the board.” Such a muckraking troll and for 30 pieces of silver? But no matter the amount of distractions by paid anti-people’s elements, victory is certain! The annals of history are replete with exemplars wherein, the people have always won. Always! Just a matter of time.

  5. “‘We’re Are Not Going Anywhere’” by Henry Costa & CO seemingly is sound of music in the ears of this reporter. After all, political crises mean attention and money for media outlets as deaths to funeral homes. So, sadly, amid inherited hardships for which domestic revenue mobilization, coherent tax policy, and other economic measures have been recommended by USAID-contracted NATHAN, the hilarious shysters are strenuously shepherding another upheaval. Ironically, they do so while accusing others of putting forty pieces of silver before patriotism to not be accused of the vice. Liberia is in deep sh.. with these guys supposedly opinion influencers.

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