Liberian clergy Madam Comfort Bedell is warning here that Liberians are walking into trouble given the wave of political violence being waged in the country in which young people are throwing stones against political opponents while President George Manneh Weah does nothing to reduce the violence.
The Associate Pastor at the New Georgia Baptist Church and Proprietress of the Christian Bedell School in the New Georgia Estate told a live radio show on Prime FM Wednesday, 12 August that when President Weah begins to take decisions and make the people to understand that he’s in control, violence will reduce.
“You are the head of us, you told us we must hope for change. Is this the change? I see us walking into trouble in this nation. Is this the change?” Pastor Bedell wonders.
According to Madam Bedell, some of these children that are throwing the stones just want to hear President Weah says he doesn’t want them to do this and they will listen because they believe in him so much, but she says she hasn’t heard this.
“If we allow our children to just do anything and there’s no punishment, there’s … no regard to what has happened …, we are planning another bomb for this nation,” Pastor Bedell warns.
Pastor Bedell’s comments come at a time Liberia’s political tension is building up fast into chaos ahead of the December 2020 senatorial election, with ruling party Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) supporters and opposition supporters up against each other in deadly stone battles at political gatherings.
She reminds leaders here that if they continue to permit these people to continually behave in this way, they must remember that these very people will turn on them when they feel disenchanted one day.
“So we are creating our own trouble. They are chunking now, the day they are disenchanted with you they will chunk you. Definitely they will chunk you because you encouraged them to chunk others so in their mind they feel it is good, so they will practice it on you,” she says.
Madam Bedell warns that it’s very scaring that things are happening here but “we don’t see any protection,” and the president is not speaking at all.
“I come to our president, he’s not speaking at all. He’s the father of the home, he ought to come out and speak on these matters. Even if he doesn’t want to speak, his instruction to the police director can turn situations. You know, silence means concern,” she says.
In the Montserrado County District #13 violent incident, Madam Bedell says she was a victim as her home was stoned and the attackers jumped on her children into fight because she had spoken the truth, noting that some of the attackers were from the church she pastors.
According to her, if discipline measures were taken, the violent incidents that happened in Montserrado District #13 and District #15 would not have happened. But the clergy suggests that examples are not being set by President Weah, lamenting that following the violence in District #13 in which she and her family were also attacked, no one has gone there to call the residents and say something to them.
“People could have died. You don’t wait until serious things happen and then you want to show that you are in control,” she adds, and also calls on all the religious people here not to wait until things get out of hand before intervening.
She cautions here that when you are a leader you need to set discipline rules that those working with you will follow or set an example if you find out that those working with you are not following the rules.
She says she expects Mr. Weah to show the leadership he exhibited when he had the opportunity to serve as an administrator on the national team, disciplining people when they went wrong.
“So obviously those traits, those strategies, those mechanisms that he put into place that made the people, some of them to be where they are today, he must put it into place,” she urges.
By Winston W. Parley