Senators smell trouble
Multiple Senators in the 54th Legislature are warning here that Liberia is heading for trouble if concrete actions are not taken against elections violence to deter the repetition of what transpired in Montserrado County District #13 on Saturday, 17 November.
Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee warned on Tuesday, 20 November that Liberia is heading for trouble if the Legislature fails to take action on the election violence in Montserrado District #13.His warning came at the Capitol after supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and opposition Unity Party (UP) clashed during campaign rallies in by – election to fill a vacant seat left by a CDC representative Saah Joseph who got elected this year to the Senate in another by – election.
Police have confirmed that four persons were injured as a result of the election violence.Earlier, Bomi County Sen. Sando Dazoe Johnson said the Legislature needed to take action because election violence all over the world has the propensity to put countries in chaos.Sen. Johnson suggests that if nothing is done, this could bring serious problem for the country in the coming elections.
He notes that had it not been for God, the country would have descended into chaos over the weekend as government officials were involved in such attitude.He indicates that investigation into the elections violence should not be seen as business as usual, demanding that President George Manneh Weah ensures that action is taken to serve as deterrence.
Some of Mr. Weah’s officials were said to be leading CDC partisans and militants during the violent campaign on Saturday, and some are blaming officials for the situation.Key among them are Monrovia City Mayor and CDC youth league chair Jefferson Koijee and CDC national chair Mulbah Morlu.
Additionally, Grand Gedeh County Sen. Alphonso Gaye also narrates that he saw and read in the newspapers that people were beaten and brutalized heavily during the election campaigns in Montserrado County District #13.
He recommends to his colleagues in the Senate that Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee and others be invited to face the Senate Plenary to explain what happened on that Saturday. In a related development, Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay wants the Senate to talk about the matter so that Liberians can know that the Legislature does not tolerate electoral violence.
Also giving his view on the issue, River Gee County Senator Conmany Wesseh says looking at the country’s history, most of the violence that occurred in Liberia started with electoral violence.Sen. Wesseh says the debate is not about investigation but rather it is about people’s views that should accompany an independent investigation on the violence.
“We are not interested in any political party. We are interested in the bloodshed that went on. We all should condemn what happened. The condemnation is that people were seen with cutlasses and guns,” he says.
Sen. Wesseh continues that if they say it is not true, an independent investigation must be allowed to go on.Grand Cape County Senator Varney G. Sherman cautions his colleagues that they need to demonstrate that the hard won peace will be consolidated and that no one has the right to disturb the peace and security.
Sen. Sherman adds that those who were involved must be held accountable for their actions.And Grand Kru County Senator Dr. Peter Coleman indicates that the state of peace here is still fragile.He says looking at what transpired on 17 November in District #13, one can safely say that the country has trouble ahead.
He therefore suggests that a committee takes care of the matter and makes its findings available to Plenary. But Margibi County Sen. Jim Tornola cautions that leaders must always prove themselves with facts so that when issues are raised and actions taken, they will always be in line with the reality.
He then calls for decisive action to be taken on the matter after facts and circumstances surrounding the issue are provided the Senate.
By Emmanuel Mondaye–Edited by Winston W. Parley