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FeaturesLiberian Debate

Liberians Debate: President Weah’s response to the July 26 violence

By: Naneka A. Hoffman

President George Weah’s official address to the nation on Monday, August 1, 2022, six days after the July 26 violence that the group CDC-Council of Patriots does not exist in the ruling Congress for Democratic Change, now the Coalition for Democratic Change is not being accepted by many Liberians. Members of the so-called CDC-Council of Patriots attacked protesting students on July 26, Independence Day, and left several members of the Vanguard Students Unification Party (SUP) from the University of Liberia seriously wounded.

But despite President Weah’s denial of the existence of the CDC-CoP, members of the militia group have said that they exist and have claimed responsibility for the violence that has been condemned by most Liberians and the International Community.

In this random interview, The New Dawn asked some residents of Monrovia what they make of President Weah’s denial and the response from CDC-CoP members, some of whom have already been arrested by the Police.    

Edwin Nah

The President’s statement on the July 26 protest was timely, and it was good that he came up with such statement, because this country is a country of law, not violence. So, coming up at this time now at least brings a little bit of ease to the country and it eases the tension. But my thinking about it, as he said that all authorities will take cease of the matter and bring it to book. Anyone will be caught in the wrong will be brought to justice. But my issue is whether if persecutors will bring people to book, and if they will be penalized. Many times, the President will come up and say such a statement, but at the end of the day, we see nothing happening. In my own mind, I think it’s just a bluff from the Police spokesman coming up with a report that they have arrested seven CDC-Council of Patriots persons.  This case is not going anywhere.’’     

Prince Fayiah

 “President Weah is fake; he lied to the Liberian people; he knows about the CDC-CoP when it was founded under CDC by Nathanial Mcgill, Jefferson Koijee, Samuel Tweah and Mulbah Morlu. The protest that happened on July 26, they are the ones that did it underground. So, what the government is saying; the government is fake. They are lying to the public that no CDC-CoP exists. President Weah feels that he has received an invitation to go to America to participate in the UN General Assembly and Democracy Summit, so he feels this is the opportunity he has to tell the international community there is no CDC-CoP. But we the Liberian people have been aware of CDC-CoP which was founded under this regime.  So, what is the essence of him coming up with such a statement that CDC does not have CDC-CoP. This case is just a waste because it will not go anywhere. They just arrested those guys to ease the tension down in the country.” 

Razzak Kanneh

“First of all, the President’s statement is belated in the first place, because it was a serious emergency situation and the President took a week before coming up with statement and then looking at the President publicly saying that the group called CDC-Council of Patriots does not exist in the CDC, I feel that it is a joke to democracy and serious embarrassment for the President to make such statement. Because party chairman Morlu, we are aware that those guys received (10,000 USD) Ten Thousand United State Dollars to join CDC, calling themselves CDC-CoP and they have been using this name on Facebook and on various social media platforms. But for the President to come up and state that he doesn’t know them, it’s embarrassing, really. This is a lip-service thing that President Weah carried on and it’s a shame. The President was only trying to do this thing to just take shame from his face. But those guys that have been arrested by the LNP officers; it’s just a one-day story and my you, we will get no good result from this case; trust me, it will just end in chey.” 

Adama Jah

“The statement the President made about the protest, I reason with him, because the President has been a man of peace; even we all have our political difference, but his words are always on peace and he said if you love him, be peaceful followers, and I support him for that.”

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Abu Sherriff 

  “The President’s speech was just to the point and very concise. You know this country is a country of rule and law; people shouldn’t be involved in jungle justice and this is a democratic country, and democracy calls for protestation and assembly. People should have their right to assemble anytime they feel like assembling; under our Constitution, it is called for and so, the CDC-CoP didn’t do well by countering protests against the Student Unification Party. That was very wrong on their part and no Liberian should support acts of violence. But at the same time, we are calling on the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of Justice to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. These are Liberians it happened to. We all as Liberians should be able to live and coexist. People shouldn’t be involved in violent acts. And I will like to call on the Student Unification Party; they should be seen organizing programs for the student community, but not a day you see SUP come up to organize programs for students and organize press conferences to inform the public that this is what they have been doing on behalf of students of this country. But every time the Student Unification Party will always be in protest, and most of the time their protestations have led to violence, which is not good. SUP is a student grouping; they are not a national political party; they are not an authority on their own and shouldn’t jump into the streets especially on our Nation’s Independence Day, wherein you have the President making the case on behalf of the nation. SUP went ahead and issued a press statement to the American Embassy. They know that the American Ambassador will be extending invitation to President Weah to attend the Joe Baden’s [Leadership] Summit in December. You go ahead to issue a press statement, countering whatsoever the invitation will be bringing to the country. That’s not good. The press statement from SUP on that day undermined the invitation that was extended to the President. So, we caution both sides to be peaceful and calm. And let the law takes its course.”

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