The Ministry of Justice has announced a full-scale probe in the incident involving opposition leader Alexander Cummings and Representative, Yekeh Kolubah in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
Both men—Cummings and Kolubah were recently greeted with a hostile reception on July 30, in Zwedru by some citizens of that county who accused the former of a persistent wave of verbal attacks against President George Weah. In the end, their action, according to eyewitnesses, escalated from the chanting of anti-Yekeh slogans to a frenzy of stone-throwing.
And as public condemnation of the attack flows in, the government through the Liberia National Police announced a preliminary investigation into circumstances that led to an attack on opposition leader Alexander Cummings and his entourage.
“Having conducted a preliminary investigation into circumstances that led to an attack on opposition leader Alexander Cummings and his entourage in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice, has commissioned a full-scale probe into the incident while condemning the appalling violence.
In this regard, the Superintendent of Grand Gedeh has been summoned to Monrovia to assist in the probe,” the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism said in a statement posted on Facebook.
According to the release, the Ministry of Justice has directed the Joint Security Forces to ensure that all those involved in Thursday’s incident are held to account for their actions.
“The inquiry will determine the apparent lapse in security protocol and other reasons which contributed to the fracas. The Ministry however notes the fact that the Cummings delegation safely visited several other counties without incident, a clear indication that the Government is committed to protecting all its citizens, regardless of their political persuasion,” it said.
The release added, that the government will continue to value the constitutionally guaranteed rights of free movement and political assembly.
“The rights to free movement and political assembly are fundamentally guaranteed by the Liberian constitution. The government will continue to ensure that these rights are protected at all times.
As the country moves closer to elections in December, the Justice Ministry assures the public that it is employing additional measures which will ensure security for all those engaging in political campaign activities,” the release under the signature of Information minister Eugene Nagbe.
The official car of Representative Kolubah bearing plate Rep. 36 was damaged in the process by the stone-throwing mob. At one point, according to sources, the violent mob appeared to have overwhelmed the few officers of the Liberia National Police who were posted at the scene to ensure calm and order.
In response, the Police began firing tear gas and discharging gunshots into the air to ward off the besieging mob but their effort proved insufficient to deter the rioters from besieging the hotel in which Representative Kolubah had spent the night.
According to eyewitnesses account, it took the intervention of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia AFL to rescue Representative Kolubah and ANC delegates including its political leader Alexander Cummings.
Representative Yekeh Kolubah has meanwhile accused key members of the Coalition for Democratic Change, especially Superintendent Kai Farley and Representative, Zoe Emmanuel Pennue, of masterminding what he termed “Partisans’ outburst” against his presence in the county.
But Representative Pennue at a press conference on the same day denied the allegation by Representative Kolubah and said the opposition is finding it difficult to get prominence in the county because he is a political weight that they cannot contend with.
Meanwhile, the Inter-religious Council of Liberia has strongly condemned the attacked and that “no Liberian should be denied free movement within Liberia regardless of tribe, gender, association, or county origin.”
Also, the Catholic Diocese of Cape Palmas, whose pastoral and administrative jurisdiction cover the five counties of the southeast of Liberia, has expressed grave concerns about the incident of intimidation and threats of violence by some residents of Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County against a political grouping of Liberians exercising its constitutional rights to free movement and peaceful assembly, which occurred on July 30, 2020.
In a statement issued in Monrovia Friday, the Cape Palmas Diocese described the attacks as a gross violation of the fundamental rights to free movement and peaceful assembly goes against the principle of political tolerance and peaceful co-existence despite differences of political association and ideology. “We have seen that when we become politically intolerant, we invite ourselves to breakdown and destroy, and undermine the foundations of Liberia’s peace, stability, and development,” the statement said.