Thousands of partisans, along with the leadership of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 gathered at the party’s Congo Town headquarters to observe a memorial day for the casualties sustained during last year’s stand-off with the Liberia National Police on the eve of the presidential run-off election in Liberia.
The unfortunate situation was the result of the violent demonstration staged by the CDC after rejecting the idea of an official permit from the Ministry of Justice for such occasion to protest the result of the October 11, 2011 presidential race which they believed they won.
In remembrance of such a fateful date, executives of the party on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, observe a “memorial day”. The CDC had earlier announced a peaceful march to its headquarters to characterize the Memorial Day, with a final decision later only for a gathering at its headquarters on the Tubman Boulevard in Congo Town.
For two weeks now, the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Justice has been insisting on a permit on the part of the CDC for the gathering in Congo town, while latter continues to make reference to Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution as the basis for which it needed no permit to only gather at its headquarters.
A meeting between Executives of the party and officials of the Justice Ministry on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 reached a compromise for the “memorial day” gathering without any permit, provided the leadership of the CDC took responsibility had there been any violence.
In as much as we may be in total agreement with Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution as raised by Executives of the Congress for Democratic Change, the Government of Liberia may also had a legitimate concern to insist on a permit on the basis of prudence, perhaps, owing to past experiences with the party. It may not necessarily intended depriving the CDC of its Constitutional right to ‘peacefully assemble’, but the fear of the disruption of the existing peace may be an attributing factor.
But again, officials of the party continue to assure us all that such gathering on Wednesday would have been peaceful at their headquarters. True to their public commitment, CDCians responsibly conducted themselves during the observance of Memorial Day so much so that there was a different picture of the party in the eyes of other Liberians who either passed by or had gone just to observe them.
Unlike what many, including the Justice Ministry had harbored, Wednesday’s Memorial Day was characterized by the chanting of political slogans, Dancing, singing and speeches-and just fun-fair by thousands of CDCians and their Executives, of course, remembering those who may have been injured or lost their lives on November 7, 2011.
Executives of the CDC did not only do justice to themselves and their consciences to ensure a violent-free Memorial Day, but the nation in totality. Such guidance provided by the leadership of the CDC for a successful Memorial Day is even further indicative of the internal transformation now occurring within the party.
We are of the fervent belief that with the enthusiasms generated during and after the Memorial Day activities at the headquarters of the DCD, the people of Liberia are indeed beginning to see the difference between the CDC of yesterday and the CDC of today.
It is our fervent hope that the people of Liberia, including political onlookers will continue see such politically responsible trend within the party from time to time in all of its engagements nation-wide toward the year 2017 at which time General and Presidential Elections would take place in Liberia.
The political leader, George Manneh Weah, Executives, organizers and partisans of the Congress for Democratic Change must be commended for hosting a peaceful, successful and violent-free Memorial Day.