Home Governance Uncertainty Looms Over Peaceful 2023 Election -National Civil Society Council Alarms

Uncertainty Looms Over Peaceful 2023 Election -National Civil Society Council Alarms

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E. Geedahgar Garsuah, Sr.

MONROVIA: As it is appearing by the day that the increasing wave of violence in Liberia is becoming a new normal, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia through its President, Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, has expressed worry that if nothing is done speedily to salvage the “unfortunate occurrences,” the much anticipated and crucial 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections might breed national chaos.

According to Madam Pope-Kai, the growing wave of violence between and among rival political forces and at times, against peaceful protesters since the inception of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government under the stewardship of ex-soccer icon, President George Manneh Weah, is of serious concern as Liberians are poised for the much-awaited and crucial 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections which are just fifteen months away.
Speaking to our reporter on the sideline of a program marking the official launch of the “Women Support Women Initiative,” held at the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Ministerial Complex during the weekend, the head of all Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in the country called on the Government of Liberia to ensure that perpetrators of violence acts are made to face the full weight of the laws of the country and for the ruling establishment to comply with international protocols and conventions that guarantee the basic rights of its citizens.
Madam Pope-Kai’s perdition comes barely days after Liberia’s 175th Independence celebration was greeted with brutality between students of the University of Liberia (UL) campus-based student political establishment, the Students Unification Party (SUP), and a group of individuals believed to be supporter of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC), under the banner CDC-Council of Patriot (CDC-CoP).
According to multiple eyewitnesses, members of SUP had gathered on Tuesday, July 26, 2023, at the foot of the America Embassy in in the diplomatic enclave of Mamba Point for a peaceful assembly earlier announced by SUP under the nomenclature: “Fix the country.” The UL student group said it was aimed at raising public awareness on what it characterized as bad system of governance, corruption, disappearances of people under mysterious circumstances, among others under the CDC-led government.
Eyewitnesses said all hell broke loose when CDC-COP, purported to be a support-arm of the government and reportedly sponsored by the Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson T. Koijee, and allegedly led by Mr. Benjamin Believed Togba engaged SUP in a counter-protest which resulted into brutal encounter that left several protesting members of SUP badly injured while CDC National Chairman, Mulbah Morlu, who denounced the violence claimed several CDC members were injured by what he calls anti-government protestors.

Also speaking on the incident, the National Civil Society Council President maintained that the responsibility is on the government to ensure perpetrators of the Independence Day violence are made to account for their uncalled-for deeds, while stressing that any attempt to allow the matter slid under the carpet will depict Liberia as a lawless country.
Madam Pope-kai has at the same time vehemently condemned the apparent “militarization” of the country’s youthful population by “power seeking politicians” for their personal benefits.
She also called on young Liberians to resist the temptation of handouts from politicians and urged them not to allow themselves to be used as a conduit through which acts of violence are being perpetrated.
Madam Pope-Kai also called on the Liberian government to respect the people’s constitutional rights to assemble and bring forth their grievances for redress.
Meanwhile, Madam Pope-Kai has condemned the Liberia National Police (LNP) for what she termed as the lackadaisical manner in which the police have conducted itself in matters of violence in keeping with its statutorily duty to protect and lives and properties.
She urged the police to speedily and impartially investigate the recent violent occurrence on Independence Day and ensure that those caught bearing the greatest responsibility of such ugly incident face the full weight of the law. She added that such move will serve as deterrence to would-be violators of the law.

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