Sustained public concerns about the apparently disjointed nature of the GOL information and dissemination mechanism have again been highlighted recently when Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, over the weekend publicly distanced the GOL from claims by CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is one of the masterminds of the pending June 7 protests. According to Morlu, the former President of Liberia has provided cash.
But this is not the first instance in which the GOL has appeared to be speaking with several voices at the same time. This newspaper recalls that several voices were also heard on the issue of the alleged missing Liberian dollar banknotes. The Minister of Finance publicly urged Liberians to disregard the Information Minister who had declared that money did go missing. Recently, Morlu also levied a scathing, unproven allegation against a leading telecommunications provider, accusing them of monitoring subscribers’ phone calls and internet usge. The company has had to respond by explaining to the public that, as an international company they adhere to some of the strictest laws concerning data privacy. “We are not allowed, and we will not, listen to your calls. We don’t even have the capability to do so. Your information is sacred; we don’t share that with anybody.”
In the case at bar, Presidential Press Secretary has reaffirmed that President Weah is aware that a large sum of money has been provided to pay participants in the proposed demonstration. Morlu recently reinforced this with accusations specifically directed against former President Sirleaf, but Information Minister Nagbe has rubbished Morlu’s assertion, labelling same as unfounded and untrue.
According to observers, Minister Nagbe’s dismissal of Morlu’s charges strongly suggests that other allegations by the CDC chairman could be unfounded as well. A well-placed security source (name withheld) however told this newspaper that top officials appear to be in a state of consternation as the June 7 date approaches and that Morlu’s accusations are but a reflection of such confused state of mind.
According to the source it is therein the danger lies because agent provocateurs could be planted within the ranks of the demonstrators to cause trouble which could escalate into violence and eventually derail the protest, but at what cost? And the danger, according to the source, is the unknown factor which means no one can tell for sure how such will end if violence does erupt.
The planned June 7 protest, which is supported by a cast of legislators, among them, Representative Yekeh Kolubah and Senators Sando Johnson and Oscar Cooper, is reported to be attracting wide support from across the country despite condemnation from Government officials and CDC supporters some of who have openly threatened to stage a counter demonstration.
Meanwhile, reports monitored on various radio talk shows around the country suggests that support for the June 7 protest is growing larger and more widespread than expected. Reports from Buchanan, the nation’s second largest city, say the airwaves of Magic FM have been inundated with calls of support for the protest with some callers urging similar action in Buchanan on June 7.
Also, announcements placed on social media say on June 7, Liberians will assemble before the Liberian Embassy in Washington D.C in solidarity with the participants of the June 7 protest action.
Meanwhile, Senator Oscar Cooper, reacting to Morlu’s accusations has said there is no need for any serious-minded person to dignify Morlu’s allegations. Morlu had accused Senator Cooper of being a former militia leader who allegedly led the killing of people in Sinoe County during the civil war.
“I don’t know from where Mulbah Morlu comes but what I know of is that we are not deterred by all of their statements. We are focused and will remain focused on our plan to see to it that the people’s messages go across. The President’s office which heads the Executive branch of government, as well the other two branches of government, must hear the people’s cry and work as a serious government will and be prepared to settle most of the crises the country is hit with,” Senator Cooper said.
He said the discussion today is not about who fought war or who did whatever when Charles Taylor was around or former President Sirleaf was in charge, but the current realities confronting the country. He continued:
“About being sincere, am I not the same Oscar Cooper who challenged the bad deals in the road construction projects under Madam Sirleaf? Was I not removed from the post of chairmanship on public works in the House of Senate because I stood against former Minister Gyude Moore’s clandestine deals with certain companies in town? Let Morlu and his followers be serious here,” he said.
According to him, there is no reason why anyone should be afraid that the June 7 protest will become violent as the 1979 rice riot, and other demonstrations are referenced to by the government and its supporters.
“There were two successful protests recently held in Monrovia and there was no chaos in each of them. The protest for bring back our money and the protest for the establishment for the war crimes court were held without any trouble. Why should there be any fear,” Senator Cooper asked, adding, “I am part of government and because the Legislature is not doing the people’s work I am joining hands with the protesters to protest against myself”, the Senator concluded.