By Lewis S Teh
Human rights lawyer and presidential hopeful Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has accused President George Manneh Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) – led government of allegedly introducing ‘domestic terrorism in the country.
“The government that was popularly elected by the people is now introducing domestic terrorism and the first victims are the young people,” Gongloe told reporters over the weekend at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
Cllr. Gongloe returned home launching salvos verbally at the CDC regime after staying about two months rallying diaspora Liberians in the United States for his 2023 presidential bid.
Cllr. contended that what transpired on 26 July 2022 between University of Liberia (UL) – based Vanguard Students Unification Party (SUP) and government supporters calling themselves Coalition for Democratic Change Council of Patriots (CDC-CoP) was uncalled for and unexpected.
On Liberia’s 175th Independence Day celebrated on 26 July, the CDC – CoP mercilessly attacked and badly wounded members of SUP who had assembled outside the United States Embassy to stage a ‘Fix the Country’ protest against the regime.
Cllr. Gongloe claimed that such action was the first of its kind since the founding of Liberia.
He said this situation is embarrassing, lamenting that the Independence Day celebration was desecrated, and this will go down in history.
“This is one of the so-called achievements of President Weah, that under his regime we had desecrated and [had] a bloody July 26 celebration, “said Cllr. Gongloe.
But the presidential hope argued that this isn’t the achievement that the Liberian people expected.
He said poverty is on the rise in the country due to the high level of corruption and other malpractices.
According to him, U.S. – based Liberians are complaining about their relatives calling them from Liberia daily begging for money to buy a bag of rice instead of zinc or cement.
He said it saddened him to hear this from Liberians in the U.S. According to him, Liberians in the United States are in desperate need of transformation. Because of that, he said he was privileged to have visited at least 12 states based on the calls of those Liberians through an invitation extended to him.
Cllr. Gongloe noted that his trip was very successful, adding that there are many Liberians that want an end to corruption.
He said they are also seeking respect for the rule of law, and an end to disappearances of people.
The renowned Liberian lawyer stated that it is the binding responsibility of every government to protect the lives of its citizens including their rights.
It can be recalled that a group under the banner Liberians for Gongloe condemned the brutality meted out against some members of SUP.
The group said the stains of the students’ blood are on the hands of the thugs, ruffians or hoodlums the government aided and unleashed to harm the students.
In a prepared statement issued by the Liberians for Gongloe on Sunday, 31 July 2022, the group said, part of the ingredients of democracy is the inalienable right of people to assemble and express their displeasure.
The group noted that this can be done in the form of protest – at their government’s failure to deliver.
Following the brutal attack against the students, the Liberia National Police (LNP) last week charged and forwarded to court seven ringleaders of the attack.
The defendants charged are Ben B. Togbah, 25; Kendrick S. Pelenah, 30; Joshua S. Karr, 28; Pukar Roberts, 36; Foday N. Massaquoi, 23; Aaron K. Chea, 26; Abdurahman Barrie, and others to be identified.
They face charges including criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault, criminal mischief, theft of property, rioting, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.
In addition, the LNP has with immediate effect suspended its spokesman, Moses Carter, along with other top LNP offices.
Police Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue announced the suspension of Mr. Carter, Unit 122, along with Godfred Kollie, Unit 112; John Saah, Unit 116; and Walter B. Wray, Unit 105 in connection to the July 26 incident.
But Carter has said he has not received any written or verbal suspension, and he does not know where the information about his suspension is coming from.