— Collaborating opposition parties
The opposition collaborating political parties have, joined forces with the Council of Patriots to stage the controversial June 7 “save the state” protest demonstration.
The parties are the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Liberty Party.
They said their resolve to join the protest stems from their response to President George Weah’s January 28, 2019, State of the Nation Address in which they urged the President to realize that the country’s governance system has reached crisis level, while the economy is declining exponentially.
Their position was contained in a statement dated Wednesday, May 8, 2019, delivered at a press conference in Monrovia. Reading the statement on behalf of the four political parties, UP Chairman Wilmot Paye said, “so today, not only do our four Political Parties unflinchingly, resoundingly, unapologetically and unequivocally support efforts by the Council of Patriots to organize a peaceful assembly as guaranteed by the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. We also announce our direct involvement and participation in the planning, execution, and management of all peaceful conduct and actions geared toward achieving the noble objective of drawing the attention of President Weah and his administration to the issues of governance, which his administration has woefully ignored despite growing outcries from Liberians.”
Mr. Paye told Liberians to act urgently, “else the country will be doomed forever.” He said the country’s fragile peace can only be maintained when the government musters the courage to tackle historical wrongs and contemporary ills.
“In recent times, in quite an unprecedented fashion, our international partners have been vocal. This is reflected in their utterances, which they make apparently reluctantly and against conventional diplomatic protocols to draw attention to Liberia’s declining governance climate.
“They do so because more than US$10 billion had been invested in Liberia’s peace. This peace, we are under no illusion, can only be sustained through deliberate citizens-centered decisions, actions, policies and a governance culture that is characterized by the rule of law,” Mr. Paye said.
He added, “there will be no violence at least from the perspective of our four political parties and the Council of Patriots Movement. No one should instill fear in you. There is a huge difference between 2019 and 1979, to which some unqualified comparisons have been made to discourage us from speaking out. The Council of Patriots is a democratic movement that our four Political Parties are part of.”
He called on Liberians both at home and away to accord their fullest support to the Council of Patriots, by turning up in their thousands on June 7 to express their disapproval for the deteriorating state of the economy.
“June 2019 is the time for you to speak to those on Capitol Hill, who have shown no interest in your plight. Their contemptible behavior is the reason for us to unite under a single banner,” Mr. Paye said.
Paye: “This will be the time for you the forgotten doctors, nurses and health workers to be heard. This will be the time for your teachers and professors and education workers to speak out. It will be the time for you civil servants, who may soon lose 25 percent of your salaries as part of a fake solution to problems you did not create, to stand up for your rights as guaranteed by the Liberian Constitution.
Mr. Paye further noted, “This day will unite your voice with marketers, taxi drivers, motorcyclists, teachers, and health workers to speak to the three branches of your government seated on Capitol Hill.”
He said “Indeed, June is your time to make history; to speak truth to power, and to put into practice the power that the constitution gives to you when it says, “All power is inherent in the people…”
Paye said June 7 is not about violence, and so it cannot be violent, adding that those on Capitol Hill are working to instill fear or discourage people from participating in the protest because “they are the looters; you are the looted; the cheaters, you are the cheated; you work, they pay themselves; you sow, they reap; You study hard, they get the pass; you trek, they fly. June 7 will be the one chance you have to make them know “enough is enough.”
“The conspiracy on Capitol Hill is serious, but it will not end if we do not stop it! That is why, without a doubt, a peaceful action by all of us, irrespective of our political, religious and ethnic differences, has become necessary,” Paye said.
He urged the President to not fear June 7 or its aftermath, because it is not intended to unseat him.
According to Mr. Paye, those that are misguiding the President are “lying to keep you away from seeing reality, and by the time you realize it, you could be well on your way to The Hague, like former President Charles Taylor.”