Repeated bloody violence between supporters of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change and opposition supporters does not only undermine the strength of our growing democracy but threatens peace and unity in Liberia, thereby, leaving the economy vulnerable.
Ruling party supporters and opposition supporters have been engaged in stone-throwing battles at various locations and time in Monrovia with several persons injured and properties destroyed.
The latest violence occurred Saturday, 17 August in Montserrado County District#15 where the National Elections Commission had quarantined and scheduled a rerun of the 29 July by-election in 20 polling places within 10 days following investigation conducted by NEC hearing officers in response to complaints of alleged “electoral fraud.”
Specifically, Logan Town Broad Street community in District#15 became a no-go area Saturday when rival party zealots engaged each other in stone- throwing, resulting to injuries and destruction of private properties. The violence was reportedly between supporters of ruling CDC Candidate Abu Bana Kamara and supporters of defeated candidate Kelvin Baryoh.
For unexplained reasons, it appears that members of the ruling Coalition believe that threats and violence are new strategies to winning elections or silencing their opponents. But violence is always counterproductive to tenets of democracy.
The weekend’s violence in Logan Town is preceded by bloody encounter between rival supporters of CDC Candidate Kamara and Ms Telia Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP) earlier last week adjacent headquarters of the National Elections Commission in Sinkor, Monrovia. The ALP is member of four opposition collaborating political parties here that have consolidated to battle the ruling party.
That violence also led to serious injuries of rival supporters, innocent people and private properties destroyed despite intervention by the police. Some of the victims are still nursing wounds in hospitals.
The ruling CDC excepts to the ruling by the NEC hearing officers for rerun of election in the 20 polling places quarantined by the Commission, saying it would appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners.
We are not very surprised at all by the ruling party’s focus on violence because party hierarchies had already mobilized zealot partisans, majority of them youth, to face opposition with “flesh and blood.”
However, the ruling party should realize that it is shooting itself in the leg by embarking on or embracing violence as a strategy to keeping grip on power because said approach is counterproductive, as it would soon come to recognize.