Echoes from Mali: Is Anyone Listening?

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Popular street protests in Mali against corruption and misrule had continued for a protracted period. The protesters had called on the President to step down, which he refused to do. The protesters however remained adamant and, eventually, their mass action culminated in the sacking of the government by the country’s military. As expected, the coup has been condemned by regional and continental bodies, namely the AU and ECOWAS and they have called for a return to constitutional rule. The military, for its part, has pledged to transition to constitutional rule in the shortest possible time, following the holding of elections.

What is important about the developments in Mali is that it bears strong echoes to the situation in Liberia. Since President Weah assumed office there have been several public protests against corruption, which have received hostile reaction from state security forces, which are said to include in their ranks ex-rebel fighters and ex generals of various defunct warring factions. Further, the steady rise in political violence perpetrated in the main by supporters of the ruling party with impunity is a topic of common and mounting public concern.

Additionally, the displayed nonchalance of the Police and the state security apparatus towards these developments is causing the build of tension, particularly as the countdown to the December 8 elections continues. The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has vowed to win back, at all costs, the Montserrado seat currently held by opposition politician Darius Dillon. Towards this end, President Weah has called on his officials to leave no stone unturned to ensure victory at the polls in December.

Finance Minister Samuel Tweah’s lavish splurge of cash to marketeers and the public in the Fiama and other markets around Monrovia appeared to have been a response to President Weah’s exhortations to his officials to go all out to ensure victory. These developments notwithstanding, it appears the public has been unmoved by President Weah’s pronouncements as could be seen in the mass reception accorded to Senator Darius Dillon when he visited the Giblata slum neighborhood in Kla Town.

However, Dillon’s popular reception triggered a violent response from CDC supporters who began to stone the crowd of Dillon’s supporters. And this has been a consistent pattern of politically inspired violence carried out by supporters of the CDC. The recent violent episode in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County during which visiting opposition politicians  Alexander Cummings and Rep. Yekeh Kolubah were stoned and asked to leave the county by ex-rebel general and now Superintendent, Kai Farley, is another example.

In all this, the Daily Observer has consistently urged President Weah to act decisively to bring to heel those party zealots who are fomenting violence. This is because such violence, left uncontrolled, will more likely than not trigger an equally violent response. One should never lose sight of the fact that Monrovia and increasingly Liberia is once again becoming awash with arms, mainly small arms, light caliber weapons and the locally manufactured ubiquitous single-barreled pistol.

Additionally, it should not be forgotten that thousands of the country’s youth have been steeped in the gun culture along with a prolonged period of exposure to violence. Thus, threats of the use of force may not prove sufficient enough to deter a violent response to what appears to be state sponsored violence in view of the spate of violent incidents involving CDC supporters to and to which Police response has at best been feeble and ineffectual.

Moreover, economic conditions and hardships, growing worse by the day could, down the road, serve to trigger mass public protests. Against the backdrop of current experience, such protests could be violently suppressed. However there can be no guarantee that such violent response will serve to douse public anger. To the contrary, it may more likely than not further incense the people and spur them into active mass resistance of the kind witnessed in Mali recently that led to the downfall of the elected government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

It would augur well for officials of this government to draw lessons from ongoing developments in Mali. Currently, there are a number of Liberian troops serving Peace Keeping duties in that country and there can be no telling what impact such developments are likely to have on those troops. Recalling history, a group of young Sierra Leonean and Gambian soldiers returning from Peace Keeping duties in Liberia overthrew their respective governments.

Far from suggesting that such may obtain in Liberia, this newspaper is instead urging public officials including President Weah to draw lessons from those ongoing developments in Mali. In this regard, he will need to act to ensure that the upcoming December elections be violence free. If not, a free for all violent melee resulting in chaos and public disorder will prove tempting enough to provoke the military to intervene to restore order. And the potential danger is, once out of the barracks, getting the military to return may prove a daunting challenge.

However, the hard experience and bitter taste of military rule left in the mouths of Liberians leaves little room for public tolerance of any return to the past. And perhaps this can explain why Liberians have generally displayed tolerance and restraint even in the face of unprovoked violence and kept the peace even after the departure of UN Peace Keeping forces. However, the patience and tolerance of the Liberian people cannot and should not be taken for granted. Violent provocations by state-sponsored agents must come to an end forthwith.

The upcoming December elections will be a crucial test of President Weah’s professed commitment to eschew violence especially in view of his call to his supporters to refrain from violence if they truly love him. Echoes from Mali, is anyone listening?

17 COMMENTS

  1. The situation in Mali has never ever had and can never ever be equated to Liberia´s. In fact, what is happening in Mali and has been happening in Mali is the complete opposite of Liberiaś with its very young and dynamic leadership as opposed to a 75 years old in Mali!

    For in Mali, with 75-year-old president winning re-election which was marred by irregularities with the 75 yearl old president´s party winning 10 more parliamentary seats, making it the largest bloc with gunmen abducting Mali´s opposition leaders as ethnic Tuareg rebels seizing the northern two-thirds of the country; not to talk about Mali been turned into a base for al-Qaeda and ISIL-linked groups to attack neighbouring countries, ONLY IDIOTS AND LOSERS OF ELECTION IN LIBERIA WOULD LISTEN!

    • Only losers and idiot will listen and do what is happening in Mali but make no mistake, the government will ny turn a blind eye to any idiotic situation like the one talked about here in Mali

  2. It very unfortunate that the daily observer will be publishing such article that tends to incite people to mutiny. The situation in Mali can’t be compared to ours. Except that opposition journalism are using the the tip of their pen to stirr chose and move citizens to mutiny only be cause the the journalist hates the government.

  3. But if John H.T.Stewart Jr. would engage in BLATANTLY LYING TO MISLEAD THE PUBLIC AWAY FROM THE TRUTH that Tiawen Gongloe and the rest of his fellow dummies at their LNBA that the LNBA which Tiawen Gongloe has reduced to A MOB is within the machinery of the state and the government, and the LNBA has powers to revoke the license of lawyers, only because of his John H.T.Stewart´´s belief that the state should be run and owned By AN OLIGARCHY and not A DEMOCRACY, which other perversion this KING OF KATO John H.T.Stewart Jr. will not be ranting?

    And on top of their insane and extremely selfish and unpatriotic desires, they individually and collectively actually do not know a damn thing as far as the dictates of domestic politics, and the principles of international politics are concerned!

    They foolishly gallop into the delusion that by boring people with their copious disinformation they bizarrely believe is journalism, they are able to return our country to AN OLIGARCHY; after we THE PEOPLE – THE MAJORITY have suffered and died for the eternal erection of DEMOCRACY!

    They (EG. John H.T.Stewart Jr., Lewis Brown, Benoni Urey, Tiawen Gongloe, etc) are not only badly mistaking! They are politically sick! INSANITY IS THE ONLY LOGICAL DESCRIPTION OR CONCEPTUALIZATION OF THEIR WISHFUL THINKING ABOUT THE MENACE OF OLIGARCHY ever having a chance in this great and glorious land of liberty which shall forever remain A DEMOCRACY!!!!

  4. Being very objective, any sanguine reader of the above article will be left with the impression that the author is biased against the government of George Weah. Also, instead of suppressing his own bias, the author makes comparisons that are incomparable. For instance, the Mali situation has been going on for a good number of years than the number of years Weah has served. In Liberia, there isn’t a stint of Middle Eastern type rebel activity. But the author wants his readers to believe that multinational soldiers are present in Liberia….just as it is in Mali. The author didn’t really said it, but the inference is undeniably apparent. Regrettably, the Mall situation is more tense (and sometimes more brutal) than what we have seen in Liberia. Newspaper writers have an obligation to state the truth, but their biasies should always be suppressed.

  5. Brilliant article !
    Thank you, Webmaster Admin. You have played your part as the 4th Estate, it is now left with our rulership to take heed.

    To all those who have not woken up from your slumber yet, there is a wave of revival blowing over Africa. The advent of the Computer and the Internet age has made African youths of all walks of life to begin to rethink to claim their land. Many lies, with the complicity of some puppet rulers to maintain Africa in destitute, are being exposed.
    Why should we be dying in the deserts, seas and oceans to seek better lives if our countries are endowed with immense untapped natural resources?
    Why should we also powerlessly witness our brothers and sisters (like George Floyd of late) being humiliated and choked to death under the hands of barbarism when we could impose respect diplomatically and militarily?

    Beware, there are yet many uprisings in the pipeline in West Africa like the Malian style. Africa still has many moribund and mediocre emperors and kings who dash our resources to dodgy multinationals and barbaric governments in exchange for crumbs for a handful, mainly those in power and their families.

    To those CDCians who interpret our pains through futile politics, you better rise to the task by improving the livelihoods of Liberians as you promised; FIXES AND CHANGE! Stop your insults, put an end to vain verbosity and deliver to the Liberian people. There will NEVER be a situation of war in Liberia again, but the people may just have it to the throat and treat you like the Malian IBK, beware!

    Oh, so you guys can now partake in intellectual debate? Why have you persistently refused to partake in past intellectual debates with other parties?
    “Hebrew Boy” McGill was heard inviting Cummings to a debate on the economy, in which capacity is he inviting a standard bearer of a prestigious party to a debate? Face us as the standard bearer of the CDC and come to the debate, then, we will get in the ring with you.
    We understand you lack creativity and innovation to move Liberia an iota, but please, friskiness has limit. If you want to debate, send your Weah to debate us, or assume the leadership of the CDC.

    May God bless Africa and save it from vampires!

    • What Standard is your BUTT BOY Cummings bearing??
      In Political terminology, Standard (Flag) Bearer is the Presidential Candidate who ran on the Party ticket and won the Presidency.
      In Liberia, organizers and Chief financiers of political parties are referred to as Party Leaders.
      There can be only one Standard Bearer, who is the President of the Republic of Liberia.
      So your SENIOR PUNK DESPERADO Alice Cummings is the party Leader of his “ANC”.

      • Wow!
        CDCIans, what a political party of mediocre!
        Define the words “Standard Bearer”, then come back for us to argue intellectually.

    • Jackson Near,
      Hehehehehehehehe
      You are angry and bitter about the Presidency of his Excellency President Dr George Menneh Weah.
      But you have many years to be a frustrated LOSER. It will stay long in your heart. Go and continue to be in PAIN.
      Kekekekekekekeke

    • Daily Observer,
      You are doing great in beating the WAR DRUM, but it shall be in VAIN.
      These types of reporting cause Liberians 14 years of “senseless Civil War, with a death toll of nearly 300,000
      Liberians are still suffering from the aftermath of the Civil Crisis, but characters like you are hoping for more harm to come on the people of that little Country.
      Just to let you know that should there be another war in Liberia, it will be different from the 1990s.
      That war will be fought in every Liberian home and Community under the SUN. There will be no SAFE HAVEN.
      Those of you who are engaging in blowing the trumpet of war shall be amongst the first victims.
      Be warned!!!!!

  6. The Liberian army will never ever “replicate” such medieval stupidity. For the Liberian army is too highly comprised of patriotic men and women filled with the knowledge of how the world works, and so much exposed to the practicality or rudimentary intelligence of contemporary regional and world politics to give credence to such 16th century mentality.

    And besides, Liberia can never be reduced to a Mali with a 75-year-old president – the mess you people wanted Liberia to be plunged into with a 76 years old corrupt, and inept Joseph Boakai.

    We mean Liberia IS NOT Mali with a 75 years old where ethnic Tuareg rebels have seized the northern two-thirds of the country! Nor is Liberia a Mali turned into a base for al-Qaeda and ISIL-linked groups to attack neighboring countries.

  7. This writer might know that the pen is mighty than sword, writing by Edward Bulwer- Lytton . which means that, administrative power or advocacy of an independent press is more effective tool than direct violence.it would be good for the pen to be educating the young people of this nation than to be advocating for the sword as done in Mali by asking if anyone listening to sword.

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