In the aftermath of the violent mob attack against opposition politicians in Zwedru last week, President has implored his supporters to refrain from violence if they love him. He has also ordered the Justice Minister to conduct an investigation into the matter and promised that culprits will face the full weight of the law.
But there are concerns that the President did not go far enough in condemnation of the unprovoked violence meted out by a lawless mob against opposition politicians Cummings and Kolubah. This is especially in view of the violence that attended the District 13 and 15 elections in Monrovia perpetrated by CDC supporters which was captured on video and which went viral on social media.
Judging from past experience, it remains unclear whether this promised investigation will be transparent and whether culprits will actually be brought to book. However, the fact that Superintendent Kai Farley and the security apparatus in Grand Gedeh abysmally failed to uphold the rule of law but instead acquiesced to demands by a lawless gang to have Mr. Cummings and delegation leave Grand Gedeh warrants his immediate suspension from office pending investigation into the matter.
Such action should be extended to include the local Police Commander in Zwedru as well and justice in this matter should be swift. President Weah has to act to allay public fears of impending violence during the December elections. He must be told that while he is imploring his supporters to refrain from violence, his lieutenants are going all out to send a message of fear by encouraging the perpetration of violence of the kind witnessed in Zwedru and in the past District 15 and 13 by-elections.
He must also be told that the actions of his lieutenants are sending signals to the opposition to prepare themselves to counter and respond to violent provocations by CDC party zealots. This is because from past experience, there will be resistance as sure as the sun sets and rises. Those individuals on social media gloating about the violent attack against Cummings and delegation and extolling the “heroics” of the violent mob only need to be reminded of President Doe’s fateful end that saw him pleading for mercy at Prince Yormie Johnson’s feet.
They also need to reminded of Charles Taylor and what led to his removal from office and his eventual trial, conviction and long-term imprisonment in Britain. All these developments have had devastating impact on the country and dented its chances of full recovery. Added to this, is the dire economic situation in which the country finds itself.
Meanwhile economic conditions continue to worsen by the day as inflation continues to mount. Indeed there is a mountain load of problems staring this government in the face to which adequate and meaningful responses have been in very short supply. Officials, especially those in charge of administering the economy, keep proffering one excuse to the next for their dismal failure to produce the goods. In one breath, Finance Minster Tweah is touting the signing of loan agreements with the IMF as signs of progress.
Yet in another breath, he is accusing the opposition of peddling lies about millions of Liberian dollars (16 billion) gone missing and demanding that they apologize and inform the international community that the opposition lied about the money going missing.
Whether such huffing and puffing was intended as music for the ears of President Weah is baffling because the public is aware that the Minister is simply blowing hot air to impress President Weah and convince him that indeed things are turning around for the better. President Weah would do himself well to recognize the magnitude of problems he faces as leader of this nation and what he needs to do to fix it.
His promised zero tolerance against corruption and tough action against those engaged in corruption has amounted to nothing more than mere promises just as his pledge to ensure better living conditions for the Liberian people. Now he has promised an investigation into the recent violence. It remans to be seen whether that will be just another promise.