The political leader of the opposition All Liberia Party or ALP, has sharply reacted to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Annual Message, urging the government to put more resources and efforts in ensuring the country can fill the perilous gap that is to be left behind by UNMIL after its mandate expires in June.
Mr. Benoni Urey said, recent events in Liberia are troubling and do not portend well for an orderly and sustained state of security. “If you can recall, there have been 37 cases of mob violence reported by UNMIL over the past few years, where police stations were burned and citizens threatened to be murdered and raped by police officers. In one of the most dramatic cases of mob violence, a prominent citizen of Ganta was accused of ritualistic murder and his home and businesses were burned last year,” a statement issued by Urey reads.
He said mob violence threatens stability because citizens do not have trust in the justice system, noting that a month ago, senior officers of the Liberia National Police or LNP, and the Executive Protection Services or EPS, were involved in a street brawl in the full glare of citizens and foreign dignitaries during funeral service for the late Liberian Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Rudolf von Ballmoos.
Narrating further, the ALP strongman pointed out that during that terrible incident, the vehicle driven by the Inspector General of Police Chris Massaquio, was rammed and damaged, while fisticuffs ensued between members of both security services.
Mr. Urey also observed the attrition rate in the military or Armed Forces of Liberia is alarmingly at 10.42 percent. To be credible, out of a total number of 2,169 men and women who were trained by the Army as of 2012, two hundred and twenty-six have deserted or in the process of being discharged; and only two percent were linked to deaths, medical or dishonorable discharges, while at least nine percent went absent without Leave (AWOL). These are disturbing statistics.
“The All Liberia Party (ALP) would inform you that although we can acknowledge some progress being made in Health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), your assertion that maternal mortality is decreasing is incorrect. As a matter of fact, maternal mortality increased from 994 per 100,000, to 1,072 per 100,000, according to our Liberia Demographic and Health Survey of 2013”, the statement challenged.
Commenting on the economy of the state, the businessman-cum politician said Liberians are experiencing hardship, directly due to the high rate of corruption in high places, and a glaring lack of transparency that accompanied the implementation of a plan that was designed to provide affordable energy to the country, one which would enable economic growth and development.
Urey,a former stalwart of ex-President Charles Ghankay Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) said instead of concentrating on liberalizing the energy sector and providing cheap and affordable energy by rebuilding the Mount Coffee Hydro in the inception of her administration, President Sirleafand her cabinet conceived a scheme that resulted in an invitation to a company called Buchanan Renewable Energy – BRE to chop old rubber trees for use as biomass for energy production.
“In quick and unbelievable action, the company was soon sold from one partner to another that eventually made the sponsors rich! And it never produced one megawatt of electricity, priced at 5 US dollars a bag. That deal with rubber wood, as a source of energy, obstructed the Hydro Project and, thus, we are where we are today because of self-interest,” he concluded.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Jonathan Browne