Against the backdrop of the rising political and electoral violence sweeping across the country, as well as the denial of the opposition bloc’s petition to the Supreme Court to compel the National Elections Commission clean up the 2017 voters roll, among other germane issues, Liberia’s largest political pressure group, the Council of Patriots (COP), has called for a nationwide nonstop peaceful protest beginning Monday, November 16, 2020.
“Fellow Liberians, we, your brothers and sisters, at the helm of Liberia’s foremost pressure group, the redemptive Council of Patriots, are hereby calling on you, and invoking your sense of patriotism, to rally together to make yet another historic stand. There is no other way. The courts have let us down, the legislature has flagrantly neglected its solemn duty to checkmate the excesses of the administration, therefore, our fellow compatriots, the task falls to us to do for ourselves what they have failed to do for us. We, the people, are our own final line of defense. Enough is enough!!!!” the COP lamented.
The COP, in an official statement issued Thursday, October 8, 2020, named as reasons for its peaceful call, “the unresolved 25 million dollar mop-up scandal; the government’s failure to pay health care workers and address their grave concerns; the fraudulent just-ended voter roll update exercise and its implications on the pending senatorial elections; the wave of violence against peaceful citizens by CDC thugs and state security actors; the worsening economic crisis in the country and its accompanying hardship on the lives of Liberians with no mitigating efforts by the government; the unexplained failure of the much heralded COVID-19 stimulus package for which 50 million dollars was borrowed from the IMF; the consistent abuse of our constitution and disregard for the rule of law; the violation and abuse of our national budget law led by Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah; the increase by up to 100% or more in the cost of voice call and data services thereby reducing access to these services by vast majority of Liberians; and finally, the recent gravely disturbing scandal of government officials selling our passports and conferring upon anyone who can afford to pay, our prestigious diplomatic portfolios, on an industrial scale.”
“The Council of Patriots is also, realizing the vital role of our international partners, sending out communications to the Chairman of ECOWAS, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the African Union Mission in Liberia, the United States Embassy near Monrovia, and the European Union Delegation in Liberia, officially notifying them of our decision to stage our mass citizen action. We will also officially write to the Minister of Justice, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean, requesting, as is consistent with law, security protection for our peaceful citizens who will be coming out at several locations across Liberia beginning November 16, 2020,” the political pressure group stated.
In providing further justification for its protest call, the COP said, “It is exactly 16 months today since the famous and popular June 7, 2019 peaceful protest which brought together Liberians from all walks of life in their thousands on to the streets of Monrovia to raise their voice in singularity against the massive corruption, abuse of human rights and total disregard for the rule of law, by the George Weah administration. Sadly today, the very conditions that gave rise to that historic protest and the follow-up one of January 6, 2020, are still visible and happening on a much greater and alarming scale.”
“Fellow Liberians, we are reminded by Theodore Roosevelt that the sacred duty of a patriot is to stand by his government only when it is right, but to always stand by his country. The time has come for us to once again stand up for ourselves and our beloved country. We are afraid that Liberia is on a dangerous path, a path very similar to the one that plunged us into the bloody civil war. The unabated divisiveness, the rampant corruption, the increasing wave of violence on peaceful Liberian citizens by well-funded CDC thugs and state security actors paid with our tax dollars cannot continue. Enough is enough. We can longer sit back and allow this madness to continue unchecked. Our constitution under article 17 clearly guarantees us the right to peaceably assemble in order to draw the government’s attention to our disenchantment, frustration, agony, pain, and suffering at the very hands of a government that swore an oath to protect us all. Today, we live in a CDC Liberia and not the Republic of Liberia. We do not feel safe and free in our own country only because we refuse to accept the unending transgressions and malpractices of the dictatorial Weah-led kleptocracy. Enough is enough.”
The Council of Patriot’s call for a nonstop peaceful protest coincides with the Collaborating Political Parties decision to hold a sustained peaceful protest on Monday, October 28, 2020.