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“Irresponsible, Unnecessary Provocation”

by News Manager

…JNB Chides Rep Gray`s Action At UL

By: H. Richard Fallah

MONROVIA: The former Vice President of Liberia and Standard Bearer of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Joseph Nyuma Boakai, has vehemently condemned the attack on students of the University of Liberia, terming the action by Montserrado County District #8 Representative in the Lower House of Liberia’s bicameral Legislature, Moses Acarous Gray, as “irresponsible and unnecessary provocation.” Rep. Gray is also a ranking official of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

In a statement issued in Monrovia on March 14, 2023, the former Vice President said, problems of violence at the University of Liberia continue to occur especially within the last five years.
Ambassador Boakai attributed the situation to what he calls “the inability of the CDC Government to investigate and produce findings each time an act of violence happens on the campus of the University.”

He, (JNB), recalled that on August 2, 2021, students of the University of Liberia sustained injuries when officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), moved into disperse a demonstration by students against the e-learning instituted by UL authorities that the students believed was new and difficult.
According to JNB, on July 26, 2022, while the official Independence Day ceremony was being held at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion, violence erupted between the campus-based Student Unification Party, (SUP) and a pro-government group, under the banner: the CDC Council of Patriots.

He said, pictures from the scene of the violence showed a SUP member being beaten and tortured, resulting into injuries. He noted that reports of these investigations have not been made public.
The former Vice President said, “even though students do not have the right to determine who visits the university campus, it is equally important that government officials do not worsen the situation by making irresponsible utterances and clearly setting the stage for violence in an academic environment.”

Ambassador Boakai has therefore called on the Government of Liberia and authorities at the University of Liberia to ensure that peace is restored on the campus of the UL and that the Student Unification Party (SUP) is constructively engaged by the Government and other stakeholders to find an amicable solution to a situation that could undermine the peace and stability of the nation.
On March 13, 2023, “a picture of what was seen as the war days in Liberia” took over the Capitol Hill, Campus of the State-run University of Liberia (UL); where serious tension ensued between the leading campus-based political party, Students Unification Party (SUP), and Montserrado County Distrct#8 Representative, Mosses Acarous Gray, of the ruling CDC.
A fortnight before the incident, some students believed to be members of SUP chased out of UL Capitol Hill campus Liberia’s former Solicitor-General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, a situation which nearly resulted into violence.
And recently, the students of the same campus based group (SUP) also allegedly attacked an Aide to Finance and Development Planning Minister, Aloysius Howe.
However, the tension started to build up, when the governing CDC’s Executive, and Representative Moses Acarous Gray, of Montserrado County promised, via a social media post, to visit the campus on March 13, 2023, to have lunch there. Representative Gray also invited other students of the UL to join him for the lunch.
While, on the other hand, SUP had declared, Monday March 13, 2023, as the “end of dictatorship” and “trial of democracy in Liberia.”
The Student Unification Party (SUP), on Friday, March 10, 2023, also mandated its “militants, stalwarts, and cadres to begin a robust mobilization around this revolutionary endeavor to ensure the students and the general Liberian masses can, in an epic custom, send a resounding message to the world on the state of affairs of the Liberian Nation” under what it calls George Weah-CDC “tyranny.”
The declaration of the UL student group followed a recent social media post, attributed to Montserrado County incumbent Representative in the Lower House of the National Legislature, Moses Acarous Gray, who is also an Executive of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
The Montserrado County District# 8 Lawmaker, in his post, via social media, planned to invite his colleague Rep. Dixon Seboe to “have lunch” with students on the University of Liberia’s main campus on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
“Monday, March 13, by 12:30pm, General Hon. Acarous Moses Gray and Rep. Seboe will have lunch in the student Center with my students attending the University of Liberia. You are invited guys. You can take a drink on me.” The above-mentioned words were contained in a Facebook post attributed to Rep. Gray.
But, the Student Unification Party (SUP) held a press conference at which time, it said, the post by Rep. Gray was a “provocation and threat absurdities of violently invading the Capitol Hill Campus of the University of Liberia.”
SUP also described Lawmaker Gray’s post as a “crude showmanship and nauseating arrogance,” noting, if any student gets injured on the instructions of both Gray and Seboe, they will be held liable and made to pay dearly by the Vanguard Student Unification Party.
Even though there were several attempts made by some high-profile officials of the CDC led government to include: House Speaker Bhofal Chambers; Senate Pro-Tempore, Albert Chea; Dr. Lester Tenny among others, Representative Gray, still did not hold back his quest of going to the UL Campus.
Rep. Gray, who had on a green nose-mask, with an inscription: “General Gray” was seen moving towards the UL main campus with able-body men and others believe to be disadvantaged youths (‘ZOGOS’), and entering the university facility with huge force which ended up with the throwing of stones and traffic congestion on capitol bye-pass.
The action of the CDC lawmaker (Rep. Gray), led to the University administration suspending all normal learning activities on the campus of the state-run university, and injuring of several students at the UL capitol Hill-campus.
The Liberia National Police later came in and fired tear gas as a means of putting the situation under control, an action many critical minds described as untimely and total weakness exhibited by the Police.
The action between both Representative Gray and the Student Unification Party has since been condemned by members of the faculty of the University of Liberia, the Liberian Senate, ordinary citizens in and out of Liberia, and with the recent one from the United States Ambassador Michael McCarthy.
But, with all of the cautions and condemnations, the District #8 lawmaker still appeared adamant, as he has promised through his same official Facebook page, that he will on Monday, March 20, 2023 visit the University of Liberia campus again, but this time, to register and get his voter card for the October 10, 2023, Presidential and Legislative elections, an action, many have started to condemn again, and leaving them with the thought that the ruling party lawmaker may be up for something different that could undermine the peace of the country.
The student movement has been influential in breaking down political barriers, especially from state actors by defending the rights of students and the masses for academic freedom, unity, freedom of speech, socio-economic justice and peace.
The party has firmly opposed anti-democratic elements in Liberia, particularly those believed to have plundered state resources for their personal aggrandizement as opposed to equal distribution of state’s resources that would improve lives and have triggered down effects on the poor.

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