A pro-democracy group, Dugbe River Union, calls on President George Manneh Weah to address persistent demands of protesters here, warning that failure to act could generate much greater intensity.The DRU also calls on President Weah and the CDC-led government not to fight fire with fire, but rather to respect the beauties and tenets of democracy, for the sake of lasting peace, development and growth in Liberia.
Protesters under the banner Council of Patriots assembled peacefully on the grounds of the Capitol in Monrovia on Monday, 06 January, demanding answers from government to their earlier petition. But police forcibly dispersed the crowd, firing teargas canisters and water cannon late Monday after the aggrieved citizens, including youth, women and the elderly, were determined to spend the night at the premises, lighting fire to cook their food.
Among others, the CoP wants the government to account for US$25 million taken from the country’s reserve to mop up excess liquidity in the economy, LRD16 billion newly printed Liberian banknotes, an end to flagrant violations of the Constitution of Liberia by President George Manneh Weah and failure of the President to publicly declare his assets.
In a recent statement issued in Monrovia, DRU Secretary General Aaron Manneh, reminds that as former Peace Ambassador, President Weah should dialogue with the leadership of the Council of Patriots rather than having repeated standoff with protesters.
“Let us keep Monrovia and Liberia as a safe-haven; a ruling government must ensure Monrovia and its beyond are safe and secured, and never to allow the Samuel K. Doe style of leadership by allowing destabilization to come to your backyard that could hamper present and future investment opportunities of your government”, he cautions the ruling Coalition government.
Mr. Manneh notes that the right to protest is constitutional, as guaranteed under Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, and such right has not changed, adding that democracy requires pressure, accountability and the governor must listen to all, including majority and minority views.
He says it is unthinkable to allow any effort that could undermine the hard earned peace in Liberia in place of dialogue.
Mr. Manneh further advises President Weah that those advising him to spoil things and fix them later are not genuine advisors or his supporters, but rather the greatest foes of his regime.
He reiterates that the President should begin to dialogue now, as a way forward because the entire world is watching current situation in the country, adding, “Don’t fight fire with fire.” He underscores that dialoguing with protesters is in no way a sign of weakness, but rather strengthens democracy, peace and development for the country.
Meanwhile, the Dugbe River Union says it is troubled that history would not repeat itself, and that Liberians won’t lose sight of past events but remain mindful of political interplay in their daily discourse.
The DRU recalls that it made similar appeal in 1996 to the then four-member Council of State, which at the time ordered the arrest of now late rebel leader, General Roosevelt Johnson in Monrovia, to exercise restraint for the sake of peace and security, but the intervention was not heeded, and the situation eventually degenerated to violence.Mr. Aaron Manneh