As LNP denies Costa from entering Monrovia
What started off as a peaceful interactions between officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and hundreds of Liberians who gathered to welcome popular talk-show host, Henry P. Costa, into the country ahead of the pending December 30 protest, turned chaotic with many sustaining wounds.
The LNP’s decision to create a buffer-zone at the Vamoma House, on Tubman Boulevard near the old Fish-Market, created a melee that saw teargas fired at the crowd. It is even reported that live bullets were discharged by LNP officers, though this could not be independently verified. Sources say the buffer-zone was meant to deny Costa and his group from entering central Monrovia, where the firebrand political commentator was expected to address scores of supporters at a popular intellectual center in downtown. The procession of Costa and his supporters from the Roberts International Airport (RIA), where he touched down at 10:10 from Accra, Ghana, was peaceful until its serenity was obstructed at the Vamoma House Buffer-Zone.
LNP Spokesman, Moses Carter had earlier stated that there would have been a detour of the crowd in Sinkor, but unfortunately, the group was not allowed to enter the Sinkor area as the police had planted their equipment and used their vehicles and other objects to create a buffer-zone. According to initiatial report, the buffer-zone was meant to ensure that the incoming crowd could not combine with others that were already waiting at Vamoma—the designated location that the parade should have actually started from.
Addressing a huge crowd of his supporters later in the day, Henry Costa who appeared thrilled by the reception acknowledged the resilience of his supporters to risk their lives for him by gathering in huge crowd and sleeping at the RIA the night before his arrival.
“When people do such a thing for you; you do not forget about them,” Costa said, noting, “This is a covenant that you have brought between you and me, and I must not let you down.”
He assured the huge crowd that he remains humble and together they can move forward with changing Liberia and emancipating it from corruption, bad governance, abuse of office and violation of the Liberian Constitution.
As always mentioned in his talk show comments, Costa said President Weah came out of a slum community of Gibraltar, ascended as an international footballer and became President of the country, giving public impression that he would bring their expectation to pass. However, contrary to the expectation of the people, he is flying private jet, building estates for himself and putting his wife on the national budget, taking thousands of United States dollars that should address the development needs of the country.
On the instant popularity he has gained, Costa said as a 35 years old man he could not match a world football star, but because George Weah has dashed the people’s hope and he (Costa) is advocating for them, so he is attracting the huge crowd that has welcomed him on two occasions; the current and the one that happened in May this year.
“One day, one day, I tell you, we will free our country. We will free our country and will have a leadership we deserve; we will have a leadership that will not be concerned about building wealth for itself, taking our money and diverting it in personal account,” he told the crowd.
While coming from the RIA earlier in the day, Montserrado County District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah joined him along the highway and they both stood together in the open-top vehicle driving towards central Monrovia.
Costa acknowledged the “Patriotic” role of the lawmaker and said he was happy to be back home and together they will “Save the state.”
Earlier that day, Costa touched down in the country ahead of the planned December 30 protest.
Thousands of Liberians, believed to be followers of Mr. Costa and supporters of the planned December 30 protest, had gathered at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County to welcome him in a euphoric mood.
However, prior to the arrival of Mr. Costa, a contingent of armed officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) were seen at the airport and juxtaposed along the highway leading from the airport to Monrovia.
The leadership of CoP is calling for President George M. Weah to step down as the country experiences extreme economic hardship since he ascended to power for nearly two years. The group is also demanding good governance from the ex-footballer who, they say, has no regard for the rule of law, especially the Constitution.
Some of the supporters told the Daily Observer that they left their homes as early as Wednesday and slept at the airport, awaiting Henry Costa with eager anticipation.
Amid rumors that the famous talk show host Mr. Costa would be arrested upon arrival at the RIA today Thursday, December 19, Costa emerged from the airport terminal unhindered, into the embrace of his supporters.
The crowd greeted him with chantings and slogans, singing: “George Weah go, George Weah go, George Weah go…”
Six big yellow buses were chartered to transport the CoP’s supporters to and from the airport, while some carried their own vehicles.
“Weah not able to govern this country. Weah’s nightmare is here now. December 30 is successful already with the arrival of Mr. Costa. Weah worries with the presence of Henry Costa,” supporters of the December 30 protest sang at the arrival of Henry Costa.
According to some of the supporters, the decision to call on President Weah to step down is intended to seek the interest of the Liberian people and not him (Weah). Mr. Mo Ali, Unity Party’s director for Press and Propaganda, was also seen welcoming Mr. Costa with a hug.
Mr. Costa’s convoy was expected to stop at the VAMOMA Junction, near the 24th street and begin with a marching band, headed for for central Monrovia.
Mr. Costa told supporters upon arrival that he was delighted to be back in Liberia, and there should be no tension about his arrival.
“I’m honored by the turnout today by my supporters and I’m prepared to work in their interest and the general interest of all Liberians. I’m also happy for the love and support,” Mr. Cotsa said.
Costa told supporters that the purpose of his return to Liberia is because of the importance of the December 30 “Weah Step Down Campaign” protest which, he said, “is supported by thousands of Liberians.”
He added that “the Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean does not know the law because the law says you have freedom of expression and freedom of assembly according to Articles 17 and 15 and we are combining the both and utilizing them on December 30.”