…As NDC says it strongly denounces the atrocities committed by Weah’s government
Members of the four opposition collaborating parties on Thursday, October 17, 2019 demanded the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government to set up an independent board that will “swiftly investigate police misconduct” against protesting students of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), and bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice.
On the other hand, the National Democratic Coalition of Liberia (NDC) says it strongly denounces the atrocities committed by President George Weah’s government against unarmed students, who were seeking an audience with him on behalf of their unpaid teachers.
“This latest attack by armed state police on peaceful students comes in the wake of a peaceful protest in support of their teachers. The teachers are on strike in demand of months of salary arrears the government owed them. This brutality by the government against peaceful students was unprovoked and absolutely unjustified,” NDC said in a statement.
The CPP also condemned the police brutality and violence meted out on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, against protesting students from several public schools in Monrovia, who were out of classes demanding the payment of salary arrears legitimately due their teachers.
The students’ action was parts of exercises to their fundamental rights, particularly as it relates to the right to education and freedom to peacefully assemble.
“The heavy-handedness of the government through the police, which employed excessive, and disproportionate force to deprive the students from exercising their right is “callous, irresponsible,” and must be condemned by all well-meaning Liberians, and the international community.
CPP release added: “The only crime the students committed, most of who children, was to ensure that the government meets its obligations to their teachers, who had boycotted classes, because their salaries had not been paid for two months; and the conditions for teaching are growing increasingly appalling all across the country.
Weah’s own Minister of Education decried the situation, and requested an increase in the national appropriation for education, which was unheeded.”
The CPP said they empathize with those students that sustained injuries (physical or emotional), and assure all Liberians that the collaborating parties remain committed to working with everyone in finding an alternative for better political leadership beginning 2020 to 2023.
They said video footage and news reports of police brutality, and excesses currently running across social media and television stations around the world are not only disheartening, but also undermines efforts at economic recovery in the continuous portrayal of our country as unstable, unsafe, misguided, and teetering on the verge of collapse.
CPP said it is time for the Weah administration to become sensitive to these occurrences and act on the side of Liberia and the struggling population which afforded him the chance to lead the great nation, as opposed to acting in galloping incompetence, partisanship, uncaring, disdain and division of the people.
“The Liberian people are right to expect that they will be paid on time and commensurate with the ever-increasing costs of living in the country. Any caring and responsible government would prioritize this over the growing wastes in government’s expenditures, and the many useless international travels with oversized delegations on shameless spending sprees,” CPP said.
CPP said the government is running out of excuses, as well as persons and objects to blame after two years administration’s inability to pay Liberians, who are already wallowing at the bottom of the economic ladder, while a small circle of friends and loyalists enjoy at the top, noting, ”This is embarrassing, shameful and mindless.”
They said “Worse yet, it proves the administration’s incompetence and inability to fix the economy, which the administration contributed to undermining through poor decisions including misplaced priorities and unrelenting corruption in high places.”
CPP said they are left to reasonably conclude that the only real intention of the CDC’s so-called Pro-Poor Agenda is one which is a pro in making the nation poor.
They said, “the action against the students has taken us back to events of over 30 years ago when police and the army used excessive force to clamp down on students’ protests, thereby further exacerbating the anger of people already under the crushing weight of economic hardships.”
“This is why the CPP will continue to ensure that the rights of all Liberians under the constitution are respected and that no amount of police brutality will stop us from seeking the interests of the people,” CPP said.
In a related development, NDC said from every indication, President Weah’s government has demonstrated its insensitivity to education, as during his presidential campaign in 2017, education was in fact condemned by the current president.
NDC: “It is an irony at this time that public school teachers lack the requisite teaching gear, and materials for classroom instructions, while corruption, mismanagement and lavish spending by the president and government officials have become the order of the day in Liberia. While teachers and other professionals are left without pay for several months, many government officials make very fat salaries as indicated by the huge salary of the House Speaker (approximately US$29,000 per month – including perks), and that of the Chief Justice, both of whom have adamantly refused the proposed salary-cut that is popularly demanded by the tax payers.”
The NDC notes that justice must be done to all men.
According to the party, this latest attack on unarmed peaceful students is reminiscent of the March 18, 1986 Mass Student Protest led by the Liberian National Students Union (LINSU) for improvement of education in public schools
The NDC calls on the government to set its priorities straight in favor of education, health, the economy, and other important sectors of the society and to stop corruption and mismanagement to service the urgent needs of the Liberian people.
Meanwhile, the NDC admonishes the students to remain peaceful in their protest actions. the party reminds the government that “education is a right, not a privilege,” and that the government should engage the students for peaceful resolution of their concerns, and that of their teachers’ demands for salary payment.
The party’s release was signed by its international vice chairman, Dougbeh Chris Nyan Dougbeh Chris Nyan.