Wants November 17 violence investigated
Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee yesterday vented his anger against Justice Minister Cllr. Musa Dean for “poorly handling the recent political violence in Montserrado County District #13 by-election, which was eventually won by an independent candidate.
Mayor Koijee expressed disbelief that a sitting government official was accused by a sitting Senator of illegally carrying arms during a political rally, but the Justice Minister is yet to institute an investigation so as to establish the authenticity of the accusation.
“It is unfortunate that we have a Justice Minister who has refused to institute an investigation in the wake of a grave accusation on a senior government official who, it is claimed, carried arms at a political rally. The allegation came from a sitting Senator of Grand Bassa County, and the Justice Ministry cannot do anything about it? I am disappointed and call on the Justice Minister to correct the errors committed,” Koijee said.
“Look! We run a government, and we have a Justice Minister that is duty-bound to protect lives and properties regardless of the status of a particular person, and he sits there watching these kinds of gross breach of the law continue. I call on you, Mr. Justice Minister, to do the right thing,” Koijee ordered.
It can be recalled that on November 17, a stone-throwing battle ensued between partisans of the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) and partisans of the alliance comprising the Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the All Liberian Party (ALP), during final campaign rallies ahead of the Montserrado District #13 by-election.
However, an independent candidate, Mr. Edward Flomo, otherwise called “Color Green” emerged winner of the , according to results announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
An eye-witness to the melee, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence accused Mayor Koijee of being in possession of side-arms while leading youth of the governing CDC to a campaign rally of UP-Alliance candidate Cornelia Kruah-Togba.
Since the campaign violence, several organizations, including the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) have condemned the violence.
ALJA termed as “unfortunate” the electoral brawl which erupted between partisans of the ruling CDC and supporters of opposition candidate Cornelia Krua-Togba in the Montserrado County District #13 by-election during the campaign rally held in the township of New Georgia.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, November 20, ALJA said it condemns the reported gangsterism, and called on the Weah Administration to act swiftly in order to bring those allegedly connected to the melee to justice.
The Association said the reported street fight is reminiscent of Liberia’s ugly past, especially the successive civil wars, which callously destroyed thousands of human lives and millions of US dollars’ worth of properties between 1989 and 2003.
ALJA said the report is “troubling for a country that is evolving from 14 years of civil wars.”
Meanwhile, the Association has urged the Liberian government to set up an independent panel of eminent Liberian organizations for a speedy, honest and objective investigation of the crisis.
UN, AU, ECOWAS
Also, a joint press release from the UN, the AU Liaison Office in Liberia and the Office of the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, expressed grave concern on the violent incident that took place at a campaign rally in Monrovia and ahead of the November 20 District 13 # legislative by-election in Montserrado.
In the statement, the UN, AU, and ECOWAS condemned the acts of violence and stated that it is inimical to the continued peace and stability in the country as well as to the holding of credible, transparent and democratic elections.
However, the UN, AU, and ECOWAS welcomed the prompt intervention of officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in carrying out a thorough investigation, with a view to identifying the perpetrators of the violent incident and ensuring that the law takes its full course.