The brutal attack by armed thugs against peaceful citizens assembled to attend a year-end party hosted by Representative Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County District #10 is without doubt a reprehensible act which demands a fitting and appropriate response from the Police as well as from Justice Minister Musa Dean.
Statements attributed to Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue claiming that some individuals had gone to the school where the program was being held for the kids because of reports that some children were fainting due to overcrowding is completely unacceptable in face of video evidence suggesting that the attack was indeed politically motivated.
On a video footage of the incident, displayed on Assistant Justice Minister Eddie Talawali’s Facebook page, the Minister who was ostensibly filming the incident can be heard saying he came “to witness the political demise of Yekeh Kolubah”. Did the Minister mean the political demise or the physical demise of Representative Kolubah? If indeed he actually meant the political demise of Representative Kolubah then why did he not choose to do so through the ballot box as would be expected?
How can he justify an armed attack against peaceful and innocent children as one intended to see the political demise of Yekeh Kolubah who had invited kids in his constituency to a party in their honor?
This newspaper recalls that since about a year ago, Representative Kolubah after assuming office, Representative Kolubah has been a very critical against President Weah. And it appears that Yekeh Kolubah’s incessant and scathing criticism of President Weah has rattled or is rattling the President’s nerves. More than that, his ministers and other officials have also come under harsh criticism from Representative Kolubah, which also appears to be rattling their nerves.
But we need not recall the relentless criticism and name calling and virtual open insults to which former President Sirleaf was subjected by officials of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). This newspaper recalls how President Sirleaf literally went to her knees to get Representative Bhofal Chambers to shake her outstretched hand which was met by his clenched fist.
And as if to whip-up public angst against the Sirleaf led government, members of the CDC openly staged mock funerals with caskets accusing President Sirleaf of rampant corruption and calling on her to step down.
In a strange twist, some of these very individuals, now at the top echelons of national leadership are displaying such gross intolerance to criticism as evidenced by the violent attack on peaceful children.
But perhaps most disappointing of all in this is the stance of Justice Minister Musa Dean who, according to media reports, has written a letter to the Speaker of the House requesting his indulgence to have Representative Kolubah investigated for remarks he made allegedly accusing President Weah of orchestrating the violence perpetrated against him.
To begin with, it is clear as daylight to the Minister that Representative Kolubah was not engaged in any act of violence against the children. Claims attributed to the Police Inspector-General that the invasion of the children’s party by uninvited individuals was necessitated by reports of children fainting cannot stand the light of day. If indeed children were fainting and needed medical assistance, then why did the invaders go there throwing stones? Did they come to the children’s rescue with ambulances and medics?
No! Instead, as Assistant Justice Minister Talawali declared, he was there to “witness the political demise of Representative Kolubah”. And they did so violently disrupting what was otherwise a peaceful gathering of happy children.
And this newspaper notes what appears to be an emerging but consistent pattern of lies to justify violent and thuggish behavior. In the case of the violence in District #13 involving Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee in which several persons sustained injuries, Koijee claimed that he had gone to rescue his partisans upon learning that some of them were being harassed by supporters of Cornelia Kruah.
Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, who as at the scene, was also attacked and was forced to flee. Although she reported the matter to the Police as well as to her colleagues, nothing has come out of the case and no arrests were ever made.
In this most recent case, reports attributed to Police Inspector-General Sudue claim that some of the children who had gathered to partake in the festivities organized by Representative Yekeh Kolubah were fainting and this prompted the intervention of uninvited individuals who came to their rescue throwing stones and violently disrupting an otherwise peaceful assembly.
Justice Minister Dean is clearly out of order on this matter. According to Representative Kolubah, the Inspector-General of Police was invited to attend the program but apparently snubbed the invitation. The representative and the children, some of who sustained injuries, are indeed the true victims and not the other way around, Honorable Justice Minister.
This newspaper recalls that during the country’s dark past, such incidents were commonplace and they were key contributing factors to the prolonged bloody civil war. The Justice Minster, by his actions, appears to convey a distinct impression that the big-shots of this government can do anything they wish to anybody and can get away with it. Representative Yekeh and innocent children were attacked and those who perpetrated such mindless violence appear to be getting away with it.
We certainly hope this is not the case. Should this, however, be the case, the public might as well conclude that the vast sums spent on Security Sector Reform (SSR) by the international community have all gone to naught. Now, it appears public trust and confidence in the Liberia National Police is fast waning and this does not bode well for the peace we have enjoyed for the past 16 years. This is a concern which should not be lost on Justice Minister Musa Dean and he clearly needs to be reminded that his office and role is that of a Minister of Justice and not a Minister of Injustice.