In the aftermath of the October 14 violent protest action carried out by aggrieved Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) students over government’s delay to pay salaries owed disenchanted teachers, the government of Liberia represented by the Ministers of Justice, Education, State for Presidential Affairs, on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, had a one-day consultative dialogue with MCSS administration and teachers’ association at the William V. S. Tubman High School on 12th Street Sinkor in Monrovia.. And from what The Analyst has garnered, Liberia’s Justice Minister Musa Dean, himself a by-product of students’ agitation, wants school authorities and parents to advise their children to stay away from violent acts which school authorities should never sanction.
Addressing parents, teachers and students, Justice Minister Dean, at the head of other high ranking government stakeholders, noted that the entire world saw the students’ violent acts.
“Yesterday, the entire world saw kids, and you know when I was here I was also a student leader and there were many days that we disrupted classes. In fact, what we did, we found a way to enter the room where the bell was, and once we pressed and it rings, all the students would come outside. Nobody went back into their classes. Nobody. The Ministry of Education, the Late Kofa – I don’t know whether you know him, Joseph Kofa was head of MCSS and again, we would convey in this same room but never did we go in the streets throwing stones. Check the record, it never happened, never did we go in the streets attacking other people in the way which it was done on yesterday,” Cllr Dean lamented.
No Student in Jail
Debunking widespread rumors that the government had jailed MCSS students in the wake of the violent protest, Cllr. Dean said, although such incidents would have produced collateral damage due to people who might have wanted to take advantage of the situation, yet, the government does not have any student of MCSS in jail.
“If anybody has information to the contrary we will provide the head of the association and whoever you want with our particulars and with the particulars of the Inspector General of police,” Cllr. Dean intoned.
Dialogue- the only solution
Espousing the need to settle issues through dialogue instead of violence, Minister Dean said dialogue is the most civilized way to resolve conflict.
“After every conflict like the one that occurred on yesterday and the dishonorable results that it produced we must strengthen more and more our mechanism for dialogue…”
Enjoining teachers and parents to eschew violence as a means of problem-solving, the Attorney General emphasized that it was regrettable for parents to see their children taking to the streets in such violent manner.
“People got wounded…because if you have a group running, when you have police trying to prevent one group from throwing stones at another group, when you have the police set up to protect innocent victims, people who were in private schools, you know it is a difficult task; but the police did the best it could on yesterday. People have been treated and discharged from the hospital. We have no student of MCSS in prison and like we said, you may confirm that, and if you have information to the contrary, we will be willing to review that information along with you”, Min. Dean said.
Hear Minister Dean: “So, I hope we have allayed your suspicion with respect to any student been incarcerated. We know they were in solidarity with you, you made have had a legitimate cause, though there are economic challenges which you are aware of all over the world, but probably when you get back to school if you find it in your heart of hearts to say: look you expressed solidarity with us, but we didn’t expect you to be throwing stones; they are your children let them know that, if you had just peacefully assembled or if you had just peacefully marched the streets, it would have helped our cause…”