Images of apparent active recruitment and training of militias as militant brigades by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC in Lofa County appearing on traditional or social media is worrisome, says the Liberian Renaissance Office Incorporated (LIROI).
“The Liberian people have seen these governing parties with the means and opportunities for violence use “militant brigades” to wreak electoral violence and intimidation,” LIROI said in a statement on Sunday, May 15.
“In recent legislative elections, we saw opposition candidates come under violent attacks in highly-contested districts, including in Districts 13 and 15, in Montserrado County,” LIROI added.
The group notes that they are already witnessing the weaponizing of the justice system and politicization of the Judiciary, which are unhealthy for Liberia’s young democracy.
It is said adding militias can only lead to the invitation of others to seek their own means to defend and protect themselves which will lead to a breakdown of order in the society and violence in our election processes.
LIROI also stated that it is deeply concerned that the intensification of the CDC’s formation of militias seems to be timed against the backdrop of ongoing bilateral negotiations between the Government of Liberia and Turkey, resulting in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that includes the provision of military support to the Armed Forces of Liberia and the National Police.
“While we welcome such goodwill on the part of the Government of Turkey, we demand monitoring mechanisms be put in place to ensure that the provisions of lethal instruments to the military and para-military do not lead to supplying irregular militias or formation of private armies.
Liberians have seen this before, and call on the international community to beware of the attending risks to our fragile peace and young democracy.
We call on the Government of President George M. Weah to immediately put a halt to the CDC’s action and commit his administration and party to the democratic process which has, as one of its basic tenants, the free competition of ideas.” The statement concluded.