-Fall outs from CDC rally
Images of state security officers particularly agents of the Executive Protection Service (EPS) donning party paraphernalia, while heavily armed with high grad military weapons at the ruling party political rally have been described as embarrassing.
On Saturday, February 4, heavily armed agents of the EPS were seen in party T-shirts of the ruling Congress of Democratic Change (CDC) as they marched along with President George Weah and other senior government officials toward the Antoinette Tubman Stadium for the president’s endorsement ceremony.
The images have received condemnation from both local and international observers with some saying that the images signal fears and intimidation ahead of the much anticipated 2023 general and presidential elections.
In a statement issued Monday, February 6, the opposition Collaborating Political Party (CPP) drawing the attention of both local and international community said the unchecked display and bearing of arms and assault rifles by individuals during the CDC rally is alarming.
“These gangster-looking individuals wore CDC insignias and political paraphernalia including T-Shirts which made them indistinguishable between CDC militias and state security,” the CPP statement said.
The party stated that such display is a deeply disturbing development, and a dangerous sign of things to come.
“If these rifle-carrying individuals were CDC militias, the CPP demands an explanation and independent investigation on how they came into possession of such weaponry in a political gathering, and why these arms were allowed to be exhibited in such a threatening manner. The CDC cannot and will not be permitted to intimidate Liberians and threaten peaceful citizens in such a belligerent and hostile manner,” the CPP added.
The opposition CPP went on to caution that party militias must never be permitted to act as and with the authority of state securities.
However, it said on the other hand, if the rifle-toting persons are state security, “we call for their immediate suspension, investigation, prosecution and dismissal. State security personnel should not be allowed to wear political attires while carrying out their national security duties. It is deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable to turn state security into the personal militia of the President, city mayor, or the ruling party.”
The government in its response said it takes seriously due cognizance of these concerns coming from local and international quarters of the donning of the CDC paraphernalia by some members during the party’s rally.
The Government further went on to say that these concerns are legitimate and terms the EPS Officers’ behavior as embarrassing which it attributes to over-exuberance and lack of knowledge of the standard operating procedures of the service.
The Chairman of the Joint-Security of Liberia, Justice Minister Counselor Frank Musah Dean Jr. has mandated the head of the EPS Director Trokon Nathaniel Roberts to ensure that henceforth such unprofessional display by any member of the EPS does not recur.
In a mandate to the National Security Forces of Liberia, Justice Minister Dean reminded all military, paramilitary, and other related security institutions of their oath to defend and protect all citizens and residents of the country in a manner that demonstrates neutrality, professionalism, and decency.
Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia wants to reiterate its expressed commitment to the conduct of free, fair, transparent, democratic elections in an environment that is secure and open to all stakeholders and participants regardless of political affiliation.
The government says it will not allow Saturday’s regrettable action on the part of some members of the EPS to put a dent in the enviable record of the Weah-led Administration of successfully conducting several elections in the country.-By Othello B. Garblahhttps://thenewdawnliberia.com/rifle-toting-cdc-militias/