The government has warned planners of the pending June 7 ‘peaceful protest’ to abandon to their quest or else made to face the consequence thereafter. Government also threatened to drastically institute serious action against the leaderships of political parties and individual organizers of the planned ‘peaceful protest’, should it turn violent and destructive.
The threat came ahead of the planned June 7 ‘peaceful protest’ organized by some stalwarts of the opposition political parties, and individuals critical of the George Weah system of governance.
At a news conference on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, Smith Toby, described as “unfortunate” for organizers of the planned protest to insist that they will not negotiate with government on finding any amicable solution to resolve whatever their grievances.
“The President is aware that the protesters have received US$350,000 to pay vulnerable citizens to protest on June 7; and has therefore budgeted US$5 for each of the protesters. Again, the government will not go for innocent citizens if the protest turned chaotic, but the planners,” Toby warned.
He said while the government is prepared to grant any request from its citizens to protest, failure on the part of the political leaders and individuals to institute measures to keep it peaceful will lead to total accountability of any negative results.
Toby said President Weah will ensure that the country is stable as the protesters will not instill fear in the minds of their fellow citizens and the international community.
“We hear people from the Alternative National Congress (ANC), the Unity Party (UP), All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Liberty Party (LP) talking about the protest. It is their members who keep talking about the protest. This money can be used to build factories instead of paying people to take to the streets,” Toby alleged.
It can be recalled that the ANC political leader Alexander Benedict Cummings and the vice chair of Liberty Party, Abraham Darius Dillon have already added their voices in support of the planned protest.
But Toby said President Weah is a peaceful person, who is ready and open for discussion regarding the planned June 7 protest.
Commenting on District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah’s recent engagements with Mr. Weah, Toby said the lawmaker was “courageous to indicate that if supporters of the President continue to attack or rain insults at him, he will reply them at the presidency.”
“I hold nothing against you President Weah. We don’t have any beef but if some of your supporters continue to attack me, I will do same to you,” Toby said, quoting Rep. Kolubah’s remarks to President Weah during their recent interaction.
According to him, President Weah’s quest to keep Liberia stable prompted the meeting with Rep. Kolubah, describing the engagement as fruitful with plans to continue the dialogue ongoing.
Mr. Toby said in the wake of the prevailing economic crisis, President Weah is engaging with investors and international partners to resuscitate the country’s economy.
In a related development, Toby said the Headquarters of the Female Journalist Association of Liberia (FeJAL), was the President’s way of appreciating the work of the ladies in the media.
“The facility is valued US$112,000, with computers, chairs, tables and the two and half parcel of land. We are hoping that they will utilize their new facility. This is not something that the President has given and wants people to write good story about him, but everywhere people just criticize and think that it is meant to buy the journalists,” Toby said.
The president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Charles Coffey, has also made similar request to Mr. Weah; a request that is currently being viewed by the government.
Meanwhile, President Weah, along with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, resumed official work yesterday after nearly one week of fumigation, following the appearance of snakes in the lobby of the Foreign Ministry, the building that houses the Office of the President.
Toby said President Weah has been working from his residence while the fumigation process was ongoing at the Foreign Ministry.
He added, “the snakes were seen on the ground floor of the Ministry, and were spotted by many of those who were on duty at the fateful hour.”