The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) says the current wave of targeted physical attacks on opposition Liberian politicians by alleged supporters of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) are detrimental to Liberia’s peace and stability, and the rule of law.
ALJA says the repeated orchestration and the execution of physical attacks on opposition Liberian politicians; and the disruption of their political rallies by individuals believed to be supporters of the CDC and President George Manneh Weah run contrary to the principle of peaceful coexistence.
The Association says these attacks, are polarizing Liberians; and they have the proclivity of plunging Liberia into another civil war. ALJA in a press release issued on September 21, 2020, condemned in the strongest term individuals believed to be supporters of the CDC for the September 13, 2020, threat on the life of Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillion, and his supporters in District-16 based in Montserrado County.
Senator Dillion was speaking at a political rally organized by his supporters in the St. Paul Bridge Community in Montserrado County when a man believed to be a CDC supporter, reportedly armed with a tear gas canister and a knife tried to bulldoze his way to where the Senator was speaking.
ALJA said had it not been for the swift intervention of the Senator’s bodyguards and supporters, the individual would have physically attacked the Senator. ALJA maintained the that this action endangered the life of the Senator and those of his supporters that attended the rally.
The Americas based Liberian Journalists organization expressed concern over the increased level of violence, primarily on opposition politicians, in the run up to the Senatorial bye elections scheduled to be held in December. The organization also expressed disappointment that too often the perpetrators of these attacks are not held accountable, creating the impression that they are state sanctioned.
ALJA recalled that in recent months, alleged CDC members attacked Senator Dillion and his supporters in Clara Town while attending a political rally. The Liberian government instituted a probe into the matter but the outcome of the probe remains pending.
The Association also, cited the violent attacks on the Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties, Alexander Cummings, and members of his entourage including Representative YekehKolubah of Montserrado County in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County while on a political mission; and Ms. Telia Urey, a former representative hopeful in Montserrado County and her supporters as some of the foremost targeted violent acts perpetrated against the opposition politicians in the country.
The Association says it is troubling that despite all of these brazen acts of violence reportedly committed against opposition Liberian politicians by alleged supporters of the CDC and President Weah, the President and the Liberian government are yet to take any concrete actions in punishing the perpetrators and curtailing a recurrence.
Meanwhile, the Association says it welcomes Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillion, retraction of the threat he made against President Weah. On September 13, 2020, Senator Dillion in the wake of the reported foiled attack on him and his supporters in District-16 threatened that he and his supporters would stone the President’s convoy and his residence should the attack perpetrated against him and his supporters be repeated.
ALJA says it strongly condemns the Senator’s threats against the President and called on politicians of all stripes to act responsibly in spite of the provocation as threats of violence is counterproductive to the peace and stability prevailing in the country. The Association says it rejects violence or threats of violence from the CDC and their supporters as well as leaders and members of the opposition.
ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objectives of fostering companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts. Additionally, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.-Press release