By Gloria T. Tamba and William Q. Harmon
The headquarters of the outgoing ruling Unity Party was on Thursday afternoon a tension packed scene when some individuals described as thugs converged on the UP headquarters to stage a protest against the expulsion of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and few other party members. The protesting group had come to read a statement debunking the expulsions but met stiff resistance from security officers and other partisans on ground.
The protesters who besieged the party headquarters were reportedly imported from various slums communities in and around Monrovia. They were described by party officials as thugs who have no stake in the party but had come to make the vicinity chaotic and bring the institution into public disrepute.
Led by expelled UP Acting Secretary General, Patrick Worzie and several confidantes of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was booted out of the Party, last week, the protesters stormed party headquarters demanding use of the facilities to hold their press conference.
Some of those protesting were the National Chairlady of UP Women’s Wing, Maceatoh Wreh, former Nimba County Representative, Worlea Saywah Dunah, Assistant Minister at Transport Ministry, Kansualism Kansuah, Deputy Information Minister, Rixch Barsigiah, and several others.
Scuffles erupted when security officers and few UP partisans who were on the ground initially resisted the entry of the group whose members were conveyed by four buses to the grounds of the headquarters.
Fights ensued when the protesters were denied use of the conference room and the outdoor stage constructed at the headquarters to deliver their statement. All hell broke loose when Mr. Worzie forcibly broke off the locks on the door of the conference room.
It took the intervention of officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to calm the situation. This was after the security officers at the UP headquarter and the few members on ground had been overwhelmed by the protesters.
Koutuku Sheriff is one of the leaders of the party militant wing. He was also one of the victims of the scuffle and one of the few partisans on the ground who attempted to repel the advances of the protesters. He was beaten mercilessly and his belongings taken away. According to
UP in a statement last weekend expelled President Sirleaf for what the party says was her meddling in the 2017 elections in which its candidate Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai. Also expelled were River Gee Senator Conmany Wesseh, his wife Medina Wesseh and Patrick Worzie. President Sirleaf has however dismissed the action, terming it illegal.
The Party amongst other things said “The behavior of the expelled persons … constitutes sabotage and undermined the existence of the party” — and they had violated party rules requiring Party members to support all Unity Party candidates in elections. The expulsion of has since gone viral on the international media as well as social media.