Partisans, supporters and sympathizers of the newly certificated All Liberian Party or ALP of businessman Benoni Urey, who had gone to celebrate with the party following its certification over the weekend, met the unexpected when the ALP headquarters suddenly degenerated into serious violence with partisans and supporters stoning one another.
The disenchanted celebrants used broken bottles and other deadly objects at their disposal to protect themselves. Mr. Urey and ALP’s Chairman, Emmanuel Lomax along with other senior partisans were hurriedly taken inside the building hosting the party for protection amidst the chaos.
It all started when the National Elections Commission or NEC duly certificated the All Liberian Party as legally registered political party on Friday, 7 August thus, qualifying it to participate in all political activities in country.
Supporters and partisans in huge convoy drove thru Sinkor to make their way to the party’s headquarters on the Old Road. During a brief ceremony, Mr. Urey spoke to his partisans and supporters, promising better living condition for all Liberians if elected as President in 2017.
The speech was halted due to heavy downpour and subsequently came time for distribution of cooked food and drinks for refreshment. But some partisans and supporters stormed the cooks and security guards in total defiance of prescribed procedurals for obtaining a plate of food and a bottle of drinks as the uncontrollable partisans and supporters violently made away with the food and drinks, while the battle of survival of the fittest ensued.
Various Liberian dishes, including Cassava leaves, Beans and Turborgee soups where seen scattered in the compound of the ALP headquarters as a result of the fight. Bystanders, who were brave enough took home drinks, including beer, stout, 10 percent imported beer and mineral water bags and bottles.
When Chairman Lomax was contacted via mobile, he dismissed the violence as an isolated case. “The crowd we put up during the certification ceremony even President Barracks Obama may not have controlled the crowd. This is the first of its kind for just certification ceremony to see such huge turnout,” he said.
According to him, the coming together of such huge crowd even protocol teams of the White House could not have controlled them in a peaceful manner especially, with the issue of food. “When people are gathered together in huge number these things happen. But I think this is not news because these things always happen at political rallies and political parties’ related programs. Our concern is huge turnout, for me that’s strange in the Liberian political terrain,” Lomax explained.
The violence at the ALP’s first merry-making came after it had just been certificated by authorities of the National Elections Commission, having met requirements set by the regulatory body ahead of the 2017 Presidential elections.
NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Geroge Korkoya, admonished Mr. Urey’s party to live up to the rules governing political parties in the country in terms of electioneering processes, just as it had sacrificed up to the day it was certificated.
Cllr. Korkoya said the NEC expects the ALP to cooperate with the commission in addressing electoral matters, noting that the 2014 senatorial election left lessons of disputes. ALP Chairman Lomax has vowed that his party would set up a committee to mobilize political parties here to reduce the number of parties in the country to four before the 2017 General and Presidential Elections.
A total of 30 political parties are expected to participate in the pending polls. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor & Winston A. Parley – Editing by Jonathan Browne