Collaborating Opposition Political Parties Take Issue With UN, ECOWAS
By Robin Dopoe, Jr. and Joeraisee I.P. Joe (intern)
Liberia’s four collaborating opposition political parties (CPP) have taken exception to the joint statement of the UN and ECOWAS which, the parties said, cast blame on both the ruling party and opposition political parties for August 17, 2019, by-election violence in Logan Town, Montserrado County District 15, leaving several people injured.
Pending an the conclusion of an investigation of the incident, the UN and ECOWAS missions in Liberia in their joint statement, issued August 19, 2019, appeared to take a neutral position when they urged Liberians and political parties to reject violence and avoid using inflammatory language or hate speech that could further increase tensions.
“We condemn the violence that occurred on Saturday, 17 August in District #15, Montserrado County, between supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change and supporters of the Opposition Collaborating Political Parties,” the UN and ECOWAS joint statement said.
“We commend the Government of Liberia’s swift move to defuse tensions and foster dialogue between antagonists,” the joint statement continued. “We, therefore, urge the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police (LNP) to carry out a prompt and impartial investigation into the unfortunate incident so that those responsible are held accountable, regardless of their political affiliations.”
But in reaction to the UN and ECOWAS joint statement, the four collaborating political parties (CPP), ALP, UP, LP, and ANC said the statement by both organizations “is rather not in recognition of the spate of the deliberate and unprovoked assault and aggression inspired and proceeding from President George Weah, during the campaign launch of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change.
“The UN and ECOWAS, being fully abreast of the incidences of willful and brutal attacks against members of the CPP, all under the watchful eyes of the LNP, ignored in their joint statement, the registered complaints to them by its candidate, Telia Urey. Of particular concern is the insinuation that these acts are said to be perpetrated by parties including CPP supporters and not, as they were flagrantly perpetrated and carried out by CDC hooligans.
“We wish to state emphatically that these waves of violent attacks against members of the CPP are not only well planned and executed, but they are also state-sponsored. Coupled with this, is the conspicuous silence of President Weah and the account of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and other state security actors regarding these attacks,” the four parties in a press statement said.
The CPP press statement added that the assassination attempt on the life of its candidate, Ms. Urey and her supporters, occurred in the presence of members of the LNP who stood idly by and witnessed CDC thugs carry out mayhem against their supporters.
CPP statement furthered said the call by President Weah for a cosmetic or symbolic dialogue with their candidate is unrealistic because the President has proven to be the instigator of the conflict.
“We are therefore taken aback that such a hypocritical gesture by President Weah is hailed as any genuine intervention aimed at arresting the Saturday’s incidents. The Government of Liberia simply allowed the CDC’s attack to reach its finality. To date, no arrest has been made!
“The CPP wishes to make it emphatically clear that violent attacks and the assassination attempt on the life of Telia Urey have rendered her disadvantaged and created an unleveled playing field in the electoral process in District #15,” CPP said in their statement.
The August 17, 2019, by-election violence in District 15, Logan Town, was the second in few weeks after the June 10, 2019, incident in Blamo Town community, Logan Town, which led to several people being injured and properties damaged.
The August 17 election violence, which led to Ms. Urey’s vehicle being damaged, came a few days after the National Election Commission hearing officer announced a re-run at six polling places in the district.