Several persons last Thursday sustained injuries at the launch of the official campaign rally of Montserrado Electoral District #3 Unity Party candidate, Ceebee C. D. Barshell.
The event, which started on a good note, ended bloody as incumbent Rep. Bill Twehway allegedly led his supporters towards Barshell’s office with another rally, thereby leading to an unfavorable situation that saw both young and adult supporters of the opposing sides to sustain injuries as a result of stone throwing from both sides.
Addressing his terrible experience over the weekend at his school in the Barclay Mission Community, Red Light, Mr. Barshell said the situation was an unfortunate one on grounds that “Rep. Twehway’s desperation to maintain the district’s legislative power is leading him to lots of unpleasant acts.
“Rep. Twehway is so desperate to retain the district’s legislative post to the extent that he does not fear doing anything wrong, even including killing. I say this to mean that, had God not been on our side we could have lost the lives of some of our supporters,” Barshell said, noting that Twehway and his CDC supporters drove in a long trailer towards the Pipeline Supermarket, where he (Barshell) has his office, and blocked the main road facing his office.
“At that time my supporters were eating at our district office when those guys (Twehway’s supporters) intentionally marched on us and provoked us and other citizens to anger by blocking the only major route leading to Red Light. When asked by my supporters to go away and avoid interfering with our activities, they sprayed them with water. This ignited the tussle that led to the brutal mishandling of fellow citizens who were peacefully supporting a candidate of their choice,” he said. “Twehway hates to see people who have more potential and are results oriented than him; he is desperate to stay in office. He thinks that doing all sorts of ugly things now will compel the voters to give him a second chance.”
He said police came in very late to curb the situation, but called on the Liberia National Police to speedily investigate the matter and forward for persecution to the relevant authorities those guilty of the said electoral violence.
“We are open to investigation and hope that he (Twehway) too can face justice once he is found guilty of instigating the violence that led to peaceful citizens sustaining wounds and losing their valuables,” he said.
Briefly touching on his rally, Barshell said he is confident that he is the next representative of the district after the October 10 representative and presidential elections. “There was a mammoth crowd of people who willingly took to the streets to march with me in solidarity; and from that rally, I am left with no doubt that I am going to replace Twehway,” he boasted. He noted that Montserrado Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, a former senior and staunch Congress for Democratic Change partisan, who is now one of the senior partisans of the UP, graced his campaign launch.
He said over 50 persons from his camp were reported to have sustained various degrees of injuries, but only 17 of them have so far reported themselves to his office and are undergoing medical care at the ELWA Hospital.
Reacting to Barshell’s claims, Rep. Twehway, meanwhile, said Barshell and his supporters are not telling the truth about the incident, and termed such an act by his opponent as an embarrassment to mature and democratic politics. “I know that Barshell and the other 14 of my opponents in this district are seeking the votes of electorates, but it is good to do and say the right thing,” he said.
He noted that at the time he took the CDC trailer to Pipeline Supermarket to distribute his party flyers and create an awareness of his plan to host a pre-victory rally on Saturday, September 30, Barshell and his supporters had concluded their parade and were assembled at their headquarters.
“They were at their office but the moment our trailer made its U-turn near them, they all came on the road and prevented us from passing. They stood before our vehicles and threw sachets of plastic water at us,” Twehway said, adding that said action from Barshell’s group left his supporters with no other alternative but to throw sachets of plastic water at them in retaliation.
“Later on Barshell’s supporters took stones and threw them at us as if we were a group of enemies from somewhere. As I have learned, they were acting on the basis of Barshell’s mandate. He asked them to kill me if possible,” Twehway alleged.
Rep. Twehway, meanwhile, brought forward two of his supporters with wounds on their heads, same as Barshell, and claimed also that over 17 of them sustained injuries.
Speaking earlier, before Barshell and Twehway, the youth chairman of Barclay Mission community, Bobby Z. Dolo, said Twehway’s supporters started the provocation by throwing sachets of plastic water at Barshell’s supporters.
“What I think Twehway needs to do is to speak to his supporters to be civil, tolerant and responsible. He is still the sitting father of the district, therefore, there is no need for him to present himself as one who is unable to control them,” he said.
His testimony was, meanwhile, trashed by Twehway, who termed it as a calculated fallacy.
Three cars belonging to Barshell, and another to one of his supporters, were damaged during the melee while the glass of the windows at Twehway’s office located in the Coca-Cola Factory community were broken as well.