CoP Releases Final Petition, Gives Gov’t One Month to Respond

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Flashback: The Council of Patriots could not deliver their petition on June 7 (pictured) due to some deviations from the prior arrangements. In a press conference two days later, they have released the full petition to the public.

“Those with the heart of Pharaoh will certainly live in denial and refuse to listen. Those with a passionate and humble spirit will understand that leadership requires more than just being elected. It is a call to serve.” -Council of Patriots 

In what could be summed up as a “Thank You” press conference held at the headquarters of the All Liberian Party (ALP) in Monrovia, The Council of Patriots (CoP), on June 9, finally released its final list of demands for President George M. Weah’s action. The CoP says it is giving the President one month to fulfill the demands.

Present at the press conference were former Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai; ALP political leader Benoni Urey; Liberty Party vice chair for political affairs, Darius Dillon; Student Unification Party of the University of Liberia, Martin Kollie; Unity Party secretary general, Mo Ali, Henry Costa and other supporters of the CoP.

“On Friday, June 7, 2019, Liberia made history against all of the suspicion, threats, intimidation and arrests,” CoP said in a statement. “The unprovoked actions of Government to undermine our peaceful assembly by even stooping as low as preventing and denying Liberians, business People, international organizations and even their own partisans, of using the Internet and social media.  Despite humiliation through all kinds of security checks and patrol, Liberians were determined to make a statement to the world. We, Liberians, made that statement together. All Liberians are Patriots and love our Dear Country and will not rest till we offer our best.” 

The Council of Patriots extended gratitude to God for His wisdom and to all Liberians and Friends of Liberia, as well as ECOWAS, UN, EU and all of Liberia’s development Partners for for their support. Thanks also went to “the security forces, though wrecked by a spoiled system, to turnout to join us on this journey,” the CoP said.

“We had one of the largest turnouts in recent history and incessantly knocked on the doors of the halls of power. Those with the heart of Pharaoh will certainly live in denial and refuse to listen. Those with a passionate and humble spirit will understand that leadership requires more than just being elected. It is a call to serve.”

The Council of Patriots said, “the petition was not presented because the President, as our Leader, chose to deal with us not as his fellow citizens but his subjects, not as his people but as his enemies.” 

Responding to the statement released by ECOWAS on June 8, the day after the protest, the CoP said: “whilst we commend our international partners, we expected that the ECOWAS Release would have taken into consideration the following issues and concerns:

  • that COP religiously followed all the protocols agreed with the government including, but not limited to, the following: non-use of drones; use of specified routes; use of agreed protest site; and the need for citizens to remain peaceful throughout the protest;
  • that government failed to honor its own pledge that it would send the Vice President to receive the petition on behalf of the President –  a failure that angered the protesters;
  • the censorship of social media on the day of the protest which undermined additional mobilization efforts
  • non-mention of the fact that ahead of the protest, there were deliberate attempts by government to send waves of panic through the public. Armed security men were seen in communities and parading in the streets instilling fear; and,
  • that armed security officers were prohibiting free movement of citizens by making the presentation of ID cards a precondition for participation in the protest.”

CoP observed that the Weah administration “has chosen to perpetuate the bad governance culture of holding political prisoners – a practice in which previous governments indulged.  Currently, about TWENTY (20) peaceful and law abiding youth and students are being held at the central prison in detention. We call on the government of Liberia to release those peaceful citizens that have been abducted by the state.” The CoP said they also noticed the use of foreign security forces on the day of protest wearing state security uniforms. 

According to the ECOWAS statement, “… surprisingly the organizers of the protest introduced and extraneous demand by informing that their petition would only be delivered upon immediate release of the students and others that were detained by the Liberia National Police few days ago.

“It is disappointing to note that, with all the elaborate mediation efforts and arrangements made by the government, Local and International Stakeholders, the petition that was to be delivered to the government, could not take place,” ECOWAS said.

Yet, the Council of Patriots insists that “the petition was not presented because the President, as our Leader, chose to deal with us NOT as his fellow citizens but his subjects, NOT as his people but as his enemies.”

President Weah had earlier designated Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor to receive the CoP’s petition on behalf of the government, even though their earlier demand was that the petition be delivered to the President himself. We gathered out there as early as 7 am GMT to deliver our petition, waited for 11 hours on the government but they failed to live up to their own decision to send the Vice President to receive the petition.  

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to announce to the Liberian people and the world, and do place the government of Liberia on constructive notice that we are hereby releasing our LIST of DEMANDS as contained in the PEOPLE’S PETITION. We expect the government to respond to these demands within the period of one month after which we will determine a new course of action,” the Council of Patriots concluded.

The final full text of the final petition is given below, as delivered: 

PETITION TO SAVE THE STATE

MONROVIA, LIBERIA
June 9, 2019 

Whereas the 1986 Constitution guarantees to citizens of the Republic of Liberia the right to freely, peacefully and lawfully assemble to petition their Government and elected Representatives to take action or avert any negative action as appertain to the welfare of the Liberian State and People;

Whereas since January 22, 2018 the Government of the Republic of Liberia, acting through its three (3) Branches (the Executive, Legislative and Judicial), has been flagrant, defiant and belligerent in its conduct to the total displeasure of the People of Liberia for whose happiness and satisfaction “all government is established”;

Whereas, We, the Citizens of Liberia acting under the banner of the Council of Patriots (COP), are convinced that the deteriorating economic conditions will continue to worsen mainly because of the intransigence of President George Weah and senior officials of his administration;

Grateful to the International Community and Donor Partners, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United Nations, and European Union for their continuous support to Liberia’s Peace and Development;

Aware also that since the inception of the CDC-led administration the leaderships of the three (3) Branches of Government have ignored calls, cries and concerns from citizens on all matters of State, and have instead chosen to prioritize their individual and personal interests and/or aspirations above the national interest, as evidenced by but not limited to the following:

  1. Continuous flagrant violation of the Liberian constitution and laws including the recent unconstitutional removal of Associate Justice Kabineh Jan’eh in spite of public outcries and disapproval;
  2. Suppression of press freedom and rights, freedom of speech through threats against the BBC’s Jonathan Payleyleh; continual molestation and harassment of Roots FM; denial of basic rights to Isaac W. Jackson, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO; denial of operational license to Punch FM; and the conversion of the Liberia Broadcasting System-owned and operated ELBC into a partisan propaganda organ;
  3. Construction and acquisition of scores of luxury private buildings by the President in the wake of his refusal to publicly declare and publish his assets;
  4. Failure to comprehensively address the issue of Liberia’s missing 16 billon Liberian dollars to date and the 25 million United States dollars yet unaccounted for and lack of effective action taken against individuals responsible and the betrayal of the public trust;
  5. According Presidential protection and privilege by announcing a “retirement” plan for Governor Nathaniel Patray and ignoring any responsibility of the TEMT headed by the Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah, the unlawful injection of billions of over-printed Liberian banknotes without removing legacy banknotes, and also for the unlawful act carried out in the use of some US$25m withdrawn from Liberia’s foreign reserve for a dubious mop-up exercise;
  6. Failure and lack of capacity to address the rising inflation and exchange rate thus imposing unbearable hardship on the Liberian People
  7. Flagrant disregard for international law and national reconciliation and disinterest in addressing war and economic crimes as documented in the TRC Report, and general disregard for the rule of law and good governance;

Now therefore We, the Citizens of the Republic of Liberia, acting in one accord under the banner of the Council of Patriots (COP) comprising Patriotic Citizens, Civil Society Groupings, Pressure and Interest Groups, Youth and Student Organizations, marketers, transport operators including motorcyclists, taxi drivers, etc.; teachers and education workers, health workers, farmers and Political Parties;

Do hereby demand from our National Leaders serving through the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches of our Government as follows:

I. Governance, Human Rights and Rule of Law

  • Electoral Reforms: Urgently proceed with efforts to amend and/or repeal the current Electoral Laws;
  • Immediately commission an independent investigation into the hasty impeachment of Associate Justice Kabineh Jan’eh, which has undermined the integrity and independence of the Judiciary at a time when Liberians are craving for justice and commence immediately, in collaboration with the Liberian National Bar Association, an overhaul of the Judiciary, including the reconstitution of the Supreme Court Bench;
  • Launch an immediate independent investigation into the mysterious death of Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Assistant Director Matthew J. Innis which occurred at the same time reports from two forensic audits into the missing billions of newly printed Liberian banknotes were released and extend same to other questionable deaths;
  • Establish a Court to address Claims, Corruption and strengthen Criminal Court E which is responsible to try Rape cases;
  • Demonstrate respect for human rights, human dignity and Press Freedom through the comprehensive review of our laws that restrain the exercise of basic freedoms especially the media freedoms;
  • The immediate disbanding of the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) and the criminal prosecution of its members for complicity and involvement in the illegal conduct of the US$25m infusion and mop-up exercise; In this regard, special reference is made to Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray for which they must be dismissed and prosecuted for criminal culpability under their direct charge the bogus mop-up exercise was conducted and missing billions mismanaged;
  • Immediately demobilize all former fighters re-deployed into various entities/security agencies thus reigniting fear, creating a threat to peace and undercutting the restructuring of our national security sector; and investigate how such a violation of the peace agreement of 2003 have been allowed to occur;

II. National Peace & Reconciliation:

  • Immediately establish a Task Force with clear mandate to implement the Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), particularly the recommendation for establishment of a war and an economic crimes court in Liberia without delay (The Government of Liberia should make a request to the United Nations for such a court before July 26, 2019);
  • Immediately ensure direct budget allocation for the implementation of TRC related recommendations;
  • Immediately take steps to curb, through public denunciation, reprimand and/or condemnation all anti-peace, fanatical, sectionalistic, tribalistic and divisive utterances by officials, friends, associates, political actors (whether of the CDC or otherwise) which seek to promote division and disunity in violation of the Liberian constitution;
  • Immediately address the return and re-deployment of ex-fighters and generals into our security apparatus in complete violation of the Accra Peace Agreement, efforts to implement security sector reforms and address the question of impunity;  

III. Integrity & Accountability

  • Immediately implement the comprehensive audit of all government ministries, agencies and parastatals of the period of this Administration and legally address past audits;
  • Immediately conduct a comprehensive audit of all expenditures on Liberia’s Foreign Reserve Account and the National Budget;
  • Conduct a comprehensive audit of all and any of the dozens of personal infrastructure and/or building projects undertaken by President Weah at several locations in Montserrado County since he assumed office including the purchase of private jet and yacht; (This is a constitutional requirement);
  • Immediately give account of how more than US$3m of the Ebola Emergency Fund contributed by donors and placed in Government’s Consolidated Accounts was withdrawn and expended, for which reason many of Liberia’s major international Partners have protested and demanded restitution;
  • Immediately suspend all negotiations for loans and any new concessions with unrecognized lending organizations until at such time when integrity institutions and systems are restored to operate without interference and within the limits of the law;
  • Immediately launch an audit of all infrastructural and ongoing road projects;
  • Immediately give account of all Social Development Funds (SDFs) paid by various concessionaires for the benefit of the counties in which they operate;
  • Immediately de-ratify both ETON Finance and EBOMAF financing agreements.
  • Immediately halt the unlawful awarding of contracts to businesses with close ties to the President and senior members of his administration;
  • Reconstitute through independent vetting all integrity institutions to ensure independence;

IV. Corruption

  • For the purpose of transparency, President George Weah and his officials should immediately make public (publish) “assets” they are reported to have “declared” to the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and ensure that they are verified;
  • Immediately establish a special court to try all corruption cases in Liberia so that indictments cannot linger indefinitely and so that justice can truly be served to those accused;
  • Beginning effective fiscal 2019/2020 reallocate to health institutions all appropriations for medical check-ups and benefits for public officials serving in the three (3) branches to improving the country’s health system (Less attention is paid to Liberia’s health sector because most officials can travel abroad not for cases referred by hospitals but also for as simple a process as seeking a medical check-up, which is why priority consideration is not given to the country’s health sector);
  • Legally expel all individuals previously convicted for crimes in their countries who are now operating in Liberia;
  • Immediately provide explanation as to which individuals within the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) or the Government of Liberia received or approved the injection of the new Liberian banknotes into the economy without effectively removing from circulation the equivalent quantity and/or value of legacy banknotes (This is a recommendation and/or request from Kroll’s Associates); and address the role of the TEMT Chaired by the Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah, as well as its culpability;
  • Immediately stop funding activities of the First Lady. There is no such office legally created under our Constitution;
  • Immediately conduct a comprehensive audit of the National Legislature;

V. Economy

  • Develop, design and implement an economic reform plan to revive our declining economy and address financial and fiscal reforms; comply fully with the Budget and Public Financial Management (PFM) Laws by stopping the habit of off-budget spending;
  • Restore integrity to our Forestry sector by taking urgent steps to maintain the current monitoring system as the contract with SGS will soon end;
  • Immediately desist from withdrawing funds from Liberia’s foreign reserve;
  • Immediately cease any and all actions, intentions, desire and attempts to reduce civil servants’ salaries at any time in the short-, medium- and long terms;
  • Immediately give a full status report of Liberia’s foreign reserve and henceforth stop its unlawful use and state why the national reserve is being depleted despite there being no national emergency on hand;
  • Immediately place a moratorium on hiring to include State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) until at such a time when a comprehensive report on the status of these SOEs has been prepared, submitted and considered by the Legislature without prejudice to their continuous viability;
  • Immediately remove all additional procedures and cost-adding steps and simplify all import and export procedures;
  • Immediately remove the precondition of obtaining Container Tracking Numbers (CTNs) before loading any containers destined for Liberia; and,
  • Immediately addressed the run-away exchange rate and high prices of goods and services.

VI. Education, Health & Agriculture

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive program to properly fund the Education, Health, Agriculture Sectors as a matter of priority;
  • Immediately remove duties on all agricultural inputs and implements in order to support local food and cash crop production.
  • Immediately review the continual selective appropriations to privately-owned and operated educational and health institutions without regard for long-standing institutions that have been rendering invaluable services in these sectors for decades.
  • Immediately implement the free tuition policy for public universities and communities as announced by the President.

VII. Basic Rights

  • Halt or refuse to sign into law the New Rape Law that makes rape offenses bailable.
  • Unconditionally pass the Domestic Violence Bill and increase funding (beginning with the current budget) for Criminal Court E for cases relating to women and other rights issues.
  • Review and provide adequate budget support to gender equality in necessary areas of integrating law enforcement, funding systemic programs such as creation of safe homes for victims, provision of counseling programs and the development of specific policies ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
  • Unconditionally Release the report on “More than Me’ rape and sexual violent case and prosecute those deemed culpable for the offenses.
  • Immediately remove the suspension on Punch FM License and stop the jamming of Roots FM as a means of enhancing access to public information.

Petition made on this 9th Day of June A. D. 2019 in the City of Monrovia, Republic of Liberia by the Council of Patriots (COP), a conglomeration of Patriotic Citizens, Civil Society Groupings, Pressure and Interest Groups, Youth, Workers and Student Organizations, and major Political Parties

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!

11 COMMENTS

  1. It seems COP’S favorite word in The English Language is “IMMEDIATELY”. I’ve lost count of how many times the word “IMMEDIATELY” is used by COP. Let’s be realistic. Many of the DEMANDS COP is making, can not be done immediately. That’s a FACT. I’d rather COP tune down. Give The President a very deserved time to RESPOND. We are not fighting…

  2. Where can we find this one month deadline in the Liberian Constitution? What is a petition? What is a demand? What is a mandate? What is a need? How can wants be satisfied? what is a request? Explain all these terms to the Liberian majority in line with the constitutional provisions provided by the people of the Republic of Liberia for enhanced consonance by the law enacted or to be, with no reservations. Tell the Liberian people. Someone who can find it among those extending these demands on their own time might or may not have a clue. It is best a portion ask authorities and weight in on their answers. It looks inhumane when some mandate lusty answers on important issues. A capable Executive, instead being intimidated by these partial power greed, even if there is some sense in this mandated petition, will disregard the aggression be treated as an underlined cause and claim to his supporters and the Liberians needs as a nation for necessary current solutions to pressing items. Thus, prepare a smoother result in the interest of the Liberian people’s entitlement to the power in peace, rather than listen to the violent voices of concupiscence from the few. God has the answer. Do not answer me. Explain yours to the public.
    Gone to silent majority. In personal space.

  3. A single ultimatum in March 2019 by four political parties that GMW should “arrest and jail” two officials over U.S. $25 million for stabilizing exchange rate, otherwise they would galvanize “mass civic action across Liberia”, has under the COP incredibly jumped to forty-six demands. That most are unrealistic and impossible couldn’t have been lost on those making them.

    They remind eerily of the Books of grievances (list of economic and political problems) compiled by the Estates-General in 1789 that would few months later lead to the French Revolution. A significant difference though is that the economic problems were self-imposed by the monarchy; whereas every twelve grader knows the previous government, a member of the COP, ran a kleptocracy that bequeathed 95% of current hardships.

    Thankfully, Liberia’s partners saw the demands and know impracticability of implementing even half of them. Moreover, the belabored word “immediately” smirks of defiance allegedly encouraged by outsiders. In any case, the readiness to pick a fight in a bleak economic environment, which needs stability to attract much needed investments, sounds uncaring. Sadly, the sale pitch by political elites to stoke another conflict is, once again, salvation of a powerless that would end up as victims.

  4. Political Stunt Gone Bad.

    I m once again laughing at the ring leaders of the CoP and their most talk about “protest”. The citizens of Liberia have the right to assembled, protest, and also make their voice heard. It is written in the constitution. Article 17 gave them that right.

    When the right of the people is hijacked by failed opposition political figures to gain NOTORIETY for future elections, the whole episode become a POLITICAL STUNT. Only in Liberia, due to the massive illiteracy rate, such a protest is suitable. I m not a politician, nor do I inspire to be one. I m a free thinker, but never in any protest against a sitting government I have seen protest leaders telling protester that they ( the protest leaders), want to run for public office. One protests to make a demand, not telling people he/she wants to run, like what happened on June 7.

    The Government may not be delivering on promises made, it is the right of the people to hold the government accountable. Some of the demands made by the CoP expect the government to act immediately, which is very difficult. The CDC led administration is not a HOLY COW. It has so many flaws like past governments, however; the demand of the opposition should be spelled out, and deliver to the government. You cannot put thousands in the street with no petition to the government.
    What is the essence? Once again, only in Liberia such is possible.

    The Liberian people should know by now, that real situations always exposed fake heroes. They have been down this ally before. Not once or twice, but many times. They should not be carried away by people who are pretending to champion their problem. They are only doing it to increase the amount of zeros on their bank accounts.

    • The much talked about protest march was held on June 7 in Monrovia. The National Police (NP), did not use deadly force at all. The protesters were not flamboyant or rowdy during the march.

      In Washingto, DC, protesters and perhaps counter demonstrators numbering less than150, were seen on the small campus of the Liberian embassy. Across the Liberian embassy on Colorado street, a Metropolitan DC Police car was seen with its blue lights on. Overall, we give thanks to God because no Liberian was injured.

      But There Is A Scorecard Based On The Performance Of The Main and Minor Characters:

      1. The Council Of Patriots……….70% or a C-. The COP deserve a C- grade because they failed to deluver their protest petition. The COP’s explanation is flippant. (Main Characters)

      2. The Marchers……….90% or an A.
      The marchers deserve an A because they kept their cool. (Main Characters)

      3. President George Weah……. 91% or an A.
      Like the marchers, the president was coolheaded. He promised police protection. It was delivered. Under his leadership, the NP was restrained. (Main Character)

      4. VP Jewel-Taylor……..69% or ..D-. The VP was was chosen by the president to be the recipient of the protesters’ petition. It was alledged that on the very day of the protest, a mysterious illness aimed its powerful grip on VP Jewel-Taylor. Let’s not forget that a week before the protest march occurred, the VP was accused of being a turncoat. The only way in which the VP’s grade can be changed is if she does not stonewall. There is a thick dark cloud that hovers over the VP as matters relate to her alleged collaboration with Weah’s political enemies. She’s not yet a big looser. She can exonerate herself by letting the Liberian people know if in fact there was collusion on her part. (Main Character)

      5. G. Findley and Musa Dean…Ministers of State and Justice………80% or a B. The two gentlemen became respectful of their boss’s mandate. The two gentlemen were on hand to receive the protesters’ petition. The petition was not given to the two gentlemen. (Minor Characters) They did their job honorably.

      6. The Liberian People…….100% or an A.
      The A grade is deserved. The Liberian people are coming to terms with democracy. (Minor Characters)

      7. Alexander Cummings……65?% or a D-. As usual, Cummings displayed weakness. He did not persuade his partners to hand over the petition document to Findley and Dean. Even if another protest march is being planned, the original document should have been delivered. The question is this…without delivering the petition document, what sense does it make to demand from the president a response in a month’s time. What on earth will he respond to?

  5. Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately, Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately Immediately, and Immediately.
    WOW!!!!!!
    Is this a MILITARY COMMAND?
    But what do you expect from REBEL WAR-LORDS like Benoni Urey, Oscar Cooper, Sando Johnson, and their associates including Charles Walker Brumskin, Abraham Dillon, Henry Costa, and Yekeh Kolubah? I am not surprise at all.
    The only part that is missing is the, “Effective immediately”.
    This is a junkyard piece of shit. Trash the damned thing.

  6. OPPOSITION DONT LIKE TO HEAR THAIS BUT YOU WILL HEAR IT. YOU TALKED ABOUT PROTEST FOR FOUR MONTHS AND THE DAY CAME TO SUBMIT THE PETITION AND YOU START TO BRING EXTRANOUS CONDITION ABOUT TWO UL STUDENTS WHO WERE JAILED TWO DAYS BEFORE THE PROTES? THE MOMENTUM HAD DIED AND YOU WILL NEVER HAVE THE RESPECT THAT YOU JUST BLEW. DO YOU THINK YEKE KOLUBAH, DARIUS DILLION AND HENRY COSTA ARE EDUCATED? WHAT HAPPENED TO OSCAR COOPER, BRUMSKINE AND THE FEW EDUCATED ONE?

  7. Hahaha…..what a demand! Are the opposition instructing the government? Do they really understand the word ” petition? With the misuse or over use of the word “IMMEDIATELY”? Actually, the petition and the time bound, is not realistic at all.
    But one thing that amazes me about the whole demand or better still the “so-called petition”, is that I couldn’t find a recommendation as to how easily their demand could be executed successfully and timely.
    They’ve mentioned incompetency of the presidency to exercise her duties in some of the areas of concern, but made bogus demands as if it is something that will be miraculously done.
    Those men, Benoni Urey and the rest, are not patriots.They are oppositions who said to us that PGW is incompetent to lead Liberia. And that’s what they came outside to prove but they’ve shown their insincerity, incompetent and lack of self control to patiently and constructively wait for their time . I know who they are, they’re not patriots, but wicked oppositions who are power thirst and want to quench it in years to come at the expense of the ignorant Liberians whom they succeeded in deceiving and taken to the street.
    They were opt for something else, but God defeated and exposed their true nature. Whatever they want to achieve, will be frustrated.Except it was sincerely intended for Liberia’s good with no selfish motive attached!
    God bless Liberia!

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