Last week Thursday’s (July 30) violence in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County, southeast Liberia by stone-throwing youths against opposition leader Alexander B. Cummings of the Collaborating Political Parties/Alternative National Congress, Montserrado County District#10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah and delegation, forcing them to hurriedly department the county threatens peace and democracy in Liberia.
Not only that, it sets a very bad tone for the pending midterm senatorial elections across the country in December. It shows clearly that critical voices against the government or President George Manneh Weah would not be tolerated in areas considered stronghold of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change, CDC.
For more than four hours, thugs, including youths throwing stones and wielding machetes and sticks laid siege on a local entertainment center, B-2 Guest House in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh where the opposition leader and his entourage, including Representative Kolubah had spent the night, specifically threatening to mob the Montserrado District#10 lawmaker, if he came out of the premises.
They took the action on grounds that Rep. Kolubah is in the habit of publicly insulting President Weah, so Grand Gedeh County is a no-go area for him.
However, the Joint Security led by troops of the Armed Forces of Liberia subsequently moved in and bundled the opposition politicians out of the county for safety of their lives.
The violence received widespread condemnation from Liberians, including members of the Grand Gedeh County Legislative Caucus and the Indomitable National Youth League of the Alternative National Congress headed by Mr. Cummings. The caucus described the action as “shameful and embarrassing”, while the ANC youth league notes that the woeful, undemocratic, appalling, dreadful and repulsive situation witnessed in Grand Gedeh County does not only roll back fresh memories of the country’s bitter past, but shows to Liberians and the world at large that President Weah is either unwilling or unable to execute the duties and responsibilities assigned to the Office of the Presidency.
Although Mr. Weah, four days after the incident commented for the first time on Sunday, 2 August while worshipping at his Forky Kloh Jlaleh Family Fellowship Inc. along the Robertsfield Highway, telling supporters and Grand Gedeans: “If you love me, if you support me, please be peaceful and developmental,” but the government’s rather lukewarm response indicates complacency.
Barely three months to the senatorial elections, the ruling CDC has vowed to retake Montserrado County from opposition Senator Abraham Darius Dillon at all cost, and already begun dishing out millions of Liberian Dollars to voters across the county for its candidate, incumbent Representative Thomas Fallah.
Not only so, the administration is threatening employees in government who do not vote Coalition candidates with dismissal, including Traditional Leaders in Maryland County for recently welcoming the CPP Chairman Alexander B. Cummings to the county.
CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu, speaking recently at the Pleebo City Hall in Maryland County, threatened to recommend dismissal of government employees who would not support the ruling party. “This government under his excellence George Manneh Weah will not allow any official who is working in government and not supporting the government. We will recommend the dismissal of anyone who will be in this government and then he/she is not supporting the agenda of government; we can’t have people in government then they are fighting the government”, Morlu threatened.
We believe such utterance might have contributed to the July 30th violence in Zwedru, and set a tone for what to expect as the nation prepares to go to the poll, creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, particularly when previous electoral violence had gone uninvestigated.