‘The Matter Before Us Is Very Grave’

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Sen. Conmany B. Wesseh

-Senators say of Nov. 17 election violence

River Gee County Senator Conmany B. Wesseh has described as “very grave” the Saturday, November 17, election campaign violence involving supporters of opposition candidate and members of the ruling party ahead of the November 20 by-election in District #13, Montserrado County.

Wesseh warned that as small as people may consider the Saturday incident, “it is the beginning of bigger things to come; so there is a need for comprehensive inquiry, because this is how major political violence is groomed, and the history of Liberia relating to many cases of violence that followed elections; the violence that led to the war that took away the lives of over 250,000… all followed elections and electoral violence. Therefore, we need to keep this in mind.”

Sen. Wesseh’s statement was in reaction to a communication from Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, requesting inquiry into the Saturday fracas in which she claimed to have been held hostage by supporters of the ruling party for about two hours.

“In this particular case, I think the revulsion of every Liberian is that what happened should have never happened. They are not interested in what party was involved; we are interested in the fact that they wasted human blood and those people did not cut themselves. Whoever did it, even if the people cut themselves, we want to investigate so that during elections rallies, others who want to cut themselves will not go there,” Sen. Wesseh declared. He called on his colleagues to condemn the action and set up an independent investigation board to probe the report.

He further reminded his colleagues that elections violence have been catalytic, and has challenged them to help demonstrate and ensure that the relative peace enjoyed in the country for the last 15 years will be consolidated.

“Absolutely, no one at all has the right to disturb that peace. As representatives of our people, I think we will stand upfront and say that is the road we are taking; investigate to look into the fact, and those who will be responsible will be given appropriate punishment in accordance with the law,” Sen. Wesseh said.

Other speakers, including Senator Varney Sherman, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, recalled that upon receiving the information and shortly after viewing the video footage of the November 17 incident, he immediately suggested to his colleagues to set up a commission of inquiry.

“I believe that were this matter to go to the committees that I have proposed, we will come out with a proposition as how to proceed,” Sherman said. “Because I also believe that if we were to set up a committee of inquiry we must give the members a strong power of compulsory process, so that when they call on you, whether you are a Jefferson Koijee or any other person, you will be compelled to appear before them, instead of sitting here debating the issue based on hearsay,” Sen. Varney said.

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Senator Nyonglee Karnga-Lawrence

In her communication to plenary, dated November 20, Sen. Lawrence noted that as political leader of the Liberty Party and in the spirit of opposition collaboration, on Saturday she went to the New Georgia Estate to support the campaign rally of Unity Party candidate Cornella Krauh-Togba.

She added, “While parading from the New Georgia Estate to the program venue, I received a telephone call informing me that a group of uniformed men, headed by Jefferson T. Koijee, were approaching our direction. The group immediately appeared, and the residents who had lined up on both sides of the road to watch the parade started booing,” Sen. Lawrence narrated.

When partisans in the parade identified Koijee and pointed to the group, Sen. Lawrence said his people resorted to throwing stones.

“In response to that, Koijee’s group pulled cutlasses and brutalized supporters of Cornelia Krauh-Togba; they surrounded my vehicle, but fortunately, residents of the community came to my rescue, and took me to a secure location…and as a result of the pandemonium and mayhem, we had to use the back road to escape the scene,” she said.

“Pro Temp and distinguished colleagues, I wish to request an inquiry into this matter, as the action has the propensity to undermine the peace and stability of the country; it also questions the neutrality and trustworthiness of the security sector. Moreover, it is also a disruption of the electoral process, which could undermine the credibility of the result. The presence of the City Mayor (Monrovia) at a campaign rally violates the country’s Code of Conduct,” Sen. Lawrence’s communication said.

The issue has meanwhile been sent to the committees on Judiciary, Defense and Autonomous Commission and Agencies.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Senator Nyounblee Karngar Lawrence, YOU NYOUNBLEE SHOULD BE DEALT WITH! YOU CANNOT ABUSE YOUR POWERS BY CONDONING OR INCITING VIOLENCE FOR POLITICAL GAINS AND THEN COME TO USE THE VERY INFLUENCE OR POWERS TO EXONERATE YOURSELF! IMPOSSIBLE! YOU ARE THE PRIME SUSPECT!

    Now Nyounblee, I am a woman like yourself, though I am certain Am older than you, but we may be of the same social stautus at least at this time in point; considering the reality that you are now a legislator, and I have once served with the UN, and the World Bank.

    I have a question for you, my friend: As a mother and a senior public official, don´t you think you made a very unreasonable and selfish judgement not calling in the police or other authorities to immediately dismantle those roadblocks your party members placed on the roads? Or at least could you not even see it was wrong to begin throwing Stones at others who they believe were not supporters?

    Nyounblee, you were wrong, and proved a very selfish person By not discouraging and even preventing your party menbers from building those roadblocks, but you quickly ran away from the scene when the violence began. Stop this crocodile cry and calling God name, when you are the main one who actually mobilized the violence.

    Only a biased person, or a prejudicial committee, will not see that you are the main culprit here! Did you expect annother group of young voters to allow their opposing peers to prevent them from going to exercise their democratic rights? Wehn your people started building those roadblocks, you as a senator, and standard bearer, should have immediately stopped them. But you chose to benefit from your people breaking the law. And now you want to convince your colleagues with crocodile tears and calling God´s name, after been the advocate of the devil!

  2. It is hard to even rebut what you wrote. An irresponsible mayor using the security sector to step on people’s freedom to campaign reminds us of the sad chapter in our nation history. interesting, I didn’t hear you condemning
    Koijee.

  3. It would seem that in a rush to be an echo chamber for all stripes of connections and benefactors, Rivercess County Senator Hon. Comanny Wisseh can’t stop the theatrics. Imagine a former leading student activist and wannabe Marxist revolutionary who, as Minister of State At-Large for our Iron Lady, was inside the Ministry of Defense in 2011 concurring with Minister Brownie Sarmokai when he made the indefensible statement that AFL had “option to use lethal force” on would-be demonstrators, now describing a fracas, relatively speaking in the sub-Region, “very grave” apparently to stability. So since a “Daily Observer” editorial had previously suggested an “Independent inquiry”, government should go waste time investigating itself while an adversarial partisan press is 24/7 pummeling the ruling CDC Coalition. (Of course, we ought to nip every public disorder in the bud, that’s why LNP investigating cause and scope to determine deterrent measures).

    Well, the anti-climax of the bye-election’s result, which denied victory to Media-preferred Tripartite Arrangement candidates, should serve also as a stern warning that most voters may not have College degrees, but are aware of the obstructions, lies, and frenzied rabble-rousing to stoke instability.

    To sum, the existential threat I see, and am more knowledgeable on the subject than Senator Wesseh, is resilient obstructing of efforts by government to reduce pervasive poverty, an acknowledged imminent threat to political stability hence national security in a fragile and contentiously polarized Liberia. Like I continue saying, some of the obstructionists in our country pay lip service to the hovering helplessness and hopelessness of our vast majority Country-Congo vast majority. Not to mention that whether these crafty obstructionists are in the Legislature, Judiciary, or Fourth Estate (Press), they would’v fled from a forward-marching Rwanda making significant strides for the benefit and welfare of all citizens. Be wary of some rhetoricians, folks, they could be wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  4. Granted that Corina’s supporters behaved wrongfully by installing roadblocks; I sincerely think that it was wrong to block the road not just for political opponents but for ordinary citizens who should have had access to free movement.

    But the other question is, who charged Jeff Koijee with the policing power to clear roadblocks? Wasn’t it prudent for him to call in the police just as my sister Kou Gontee is suggesting for Nyonblee? As an official of the ruling establishment, his decision to confront the situation the way he did was completely reckless and irresponsible. As we are all aware, the government that Koijee is part of has much more to loose than the opposition and as such, he should have exercised restraint.

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