Incidents of political violence involving stalwarts and supporters of ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) against opposition have prompted former Public Works Minister Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods to warn President George Manneh Weah against abusing the opportunity he has as product for the struggle for multiparty here.
Speaking on the Costa Show Tuesday morning, 5 February, Atty. Woods, a former Public Works Minister in former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime, says “the political violence” in Montserrado County District #13 last year and the violence in Rep. Yekeh Kolubah’s district last month “are not good signs.”
These incidents cited by Atty. Woods related to the bloody violence that erupted in Montserrado County District #10 when Rep. Kolubah was holding a program for kids during which ruling CDC supporters staged a violent protest in demand of the living body of Kolubah’s security aide over accusation wounding a guy during some tussle.
The violence saw several others including some kids and a riot police officer sustaining injuries and the program disrupted. Police fast tracked charges against Kolubah’s aide, and later charged several others believed to be linked to the incident.
This case came after another deadly political violence in Montserrado District #13 when CDC supporters and opposition Unity Party candidate Cornelia Kruah – Togba’s supporters clashed on the day of campaign for a representative seat which both sides lost at the ballot box.
Atty. Woods says he is not very happy about these developments, urging the Weah regime to take responsibility to protect everyone.
The 54 – year old warns that Liberia cannot slip back to the ugly past, lamenting that he still sees tribal divides getting wider; social divides getting wider and still sees ruthless self – enrichment today than in previous time.
In further cautioning President Weah about the sycophantic nature of those hailing everything he does, Atty. Woods told a story about a young mosquito and its parents in which the young mosquito told its parents that it was being hailed with hand claps by so many people while hustling out there.
Contrary to the young mosquito’s account, Atty. Woods narrates that its parents were instead advising it to be thankful that it was not hit by any of those “slaps” that it mistook to be “claps” by so many people.
According to Atty. Woods, the parents informed the young mosquito that the slaps it heard were actually intended to kill it and not that the people were hailing it with claps.
Atty. Woods uses this mosquito story to try to alert President Weah of how sycophants around leaders would hail everything even for things that deserve corrections.
He cautions President Weah not to fall prey to the historic sycophancy that has haunted and destroyed this country for years.
Atty. Woods believes that President Weah owes it to lift Liberians out of poverty and promote integrity institutions.
He notes further that President Weah owes it to Liberians to perform well, rather than to think that he is celebrated or somebody owes him anything.
He additionally encourages the regime to stop referring to former President Sirleaf’s standard of rule as an excuse for failing to perform well to move the country forward.
Atty. Woods reminds the government that Liberians had a change when they voted President Weah to power in 2017, stressing that the government cannot continue to refer to what former President Sirleaf and her government did or did not do.
He cautions that this government will be graded by what it will do, noting that President Weah is a product of the struggle for multiparty here and must not abuse the opportunity he has today to rule.
Atty. Woods urges the regime to respect and protect freedom of speech, adding that the Constitution cannot be undermined.
He observes that suggestions coming from those outside of government are not being embraced with opened minds but they are rather misunderstood as envy and job – seeking.
He warns that this undermines the sanctity of the governance efforts here, challenging government not to see its critics as enemies but rather as partners who help to move the country forward.
Atty. Woods concludes that the Legislature cannot continue to be rubber stamp, and adds that if the Judiciary is politically subservient, it has to wake up.
By Winston W. Parley