The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) here has condemned President George Manneh Weah’s failure to receive a petition from anti – rape campaigners, as well as his failure to condemn the brutal force used by joint state security forces against peaceful protesters.
Speaking at a news conference last Friday at the Alternative National Congress (ANC) headquarters in Monrovia, CPP spokesman Atty. Orishall Gould condemned President Weah’s alleged deliberate failure to act speedily on the act of rape against kids.
Atty. Gould claims that these circumstances are indicative of continuous, well-orchestrated plans by the Weah administration to violate the constitutional rights of peaceful Liberians and patronize lawlessness as has always been the trademark of the government.
Gould laments that what is further noteworthy and sad is the blatant refusal of the president and self-proclaimed Feminist-in-Chief to receive the petition of the campaigners despite frantic efforts to meet with him during the first two days of the campaign.
According to him, this is evidence of the government’s complicity and lack of commitment to end the widespread abuse of women, girls, and children in the country.
The CPP official suggests that the action of President Weah can be viewed as a reason why no investigation has been conducted into continuous acts of lawlessness against peaceful Liberians by some elements of the Liberia National Police whom themselves have had people accused them of rape.
“Not only do these continuous violent actions of the Liberian National Police against peaceful Liberians violate provisions of the Liberian Constitution, but they also violate provisions of several International Human Rights Instruments that Liberia is a signatory to,” he says.
He notes that these continuous violent actions are in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966 which commits states parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
He also cites the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (also known as the Banjul Charter); the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, among others, as instruments being violated.
Commenting further on the rape issue, the CPP requests President Weah to put aside his pride and meet with the organizers of the anti – rape protest and hear their propositions on ways of addressing the situation.
“We also urge the president to establish a Special Non-Partisan Based National Taskforce on rape; ensure the decentralization of the Specialized Court for Rape in all parts of the country; create rehabilitation and reintegration opportunities for victims of rape, and facilitate a National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on tackling rape,” Atty. Gould says.
He maintains that as a people, Liberians must also begin to teach their children those values which discourage the culture of rape and impunity, promote responsible citizenship and support all reasonable and legal efforts to end the rape epidemic in the country.
“We acknowledge the efforts of those anti-rape campaigners. We applaud their efforts to stand up against rape in the face of threats and harassments and assure them of the unflinching support of the CPP in this regard,” he continues.
Gould terms as flawed reasoning, President Weah’s argument that the continuous protests by Liberians under his watch are evidence that his government upholds the tenets of democracy.
He notes that as the word implies, in most cases, protests are held to express resentment against societal ill, adding that rightfully so, all the protests that have been held since Weah became president have been against the excesses of his regime.
Gould states that the conduct of the police force during these protests also defeats the president’s argument about upholding the good tenets of democracy.
The CPP notes that as the country moves closer to the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Election, the events that occurred during the protest bring a sad memory of previous acts of police brutality against Liberians which are yet to be investigated.
“We like to recount the electoral violence in the Montserrado County Districts 13 and 15 By-elections which resulted to the destruction of properties and injured several peaceful Liberians; the killing of a baby in West Point by an Officer of the LNP during the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown,” Atty. Gould says.
He further points to the shooting to death of a young man by officers of the LNP in 2019 and the attack on peaceful protestors of the Council of Patriots (COP), among others.
As the country prepares for the Special Senatorial Election, Atty. Gould calls on ECOWAS, the AU, and all of the international partners to prevail on the Weah administration to ensure that this menace is dealt with before it further degenerates to serious civil unrest.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley