The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) sees it ‘unacceptable’ what they considered the governing of Liberia by “terror and fear” under the watch of the government of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). CPP – the opposition bloc comprising the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC), the Liberty Party (LP), and the Unity Party (UP) – says it views with alarm and indignation the wave of terror and fear that has been unleashed on the people in the country.
In a Press statement dated November 2, 2020 and titled: The Collaborating Political Parties of Liberia (CPP) On the Recent String of Mysterious Deaths in the Country, the CPP notes that Liberia is headed backwards under the watch of President Weah and his minions, and that the graves and hollowed grounds which hold the remains of many Liberians who voluntarily and involuntarily gave their lives for freedom, rights and democracy, are being spat on and desecrated by Mr. Weah and his colleagues.
Sadly, this CDC-led government cannot say it performed its constitutional duty owed to Albert, Gifty, George and Emmanuel. It cannot say to their grieving families that it is acting responsibly to credibly investigate, and reliably explain how they came to their shocking and mysterious ends. Even worse, the Weah administration cannot say to Liberians generally what actually happened, and who may be responsible!
“This,” the opposition says, “is unacceptable,” and notes that and it is the making of “an irresponsible government!”
“When the people gave their authority to a government, it is with the assumption that the government will protect their lives, uphold their rights and guard their freedoms. This government has not just failed these families, it is being found to be derelict in fulfilling its end of the bargain to the people. Even worse, these telltale signs are reminiscent of Liberia’s dreaded past, the statement avers.
In the opposition CPP’s outburst, they wondered whether the mis-governance of the CDC presidency under Mr. Weah and his followers is not enough, amidst allegations abound that they are enriching themselves while Liberians are becoming poorer while the cost of living is too high as he and his friends flaunt their ill-gotten wealth.
The opposition’s statement further highlighted several ills by the Weah regime, which they said seem inadequate yet enough for “President Weah and his minions”, indicating that they have broken down every system and structure guaranteeing accountability, transparency and democratic governance. They said corruption, incompetence and lawlessness continue to ooze from the highest offices in the land; and that the country’s international image and reputation is being tarnished, with “our passports are being sold to international criminals, terrorists and drug dealers.”
In their statement, the CPP further said, “…it is not enough that healthcare workers, teachers and others are barely surviving on the margins and are resorting to striking and begging for what they have rightly earned to care for themselves and their families, as they take care of the rest of us especially during this global health pandemic; and that it is not enough that our democracy is under severe stress superintended by a frightened court and a compromised National Elections Commission.
According to the opposition CPP, it is not enough for President Weah and his CDC Government that Liberia’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic is leaderless, directionless, self-serving and corrupt; that Liberians are treated like strangers in their own country and spectators in their own economy; and that Liberians are divided, the national politics is toxic, ‘and we are losing a sense of national direction and common purpose.’
Elaborating on the mysterious death of the LRA and auditors amongst others, the opposition CPP recounts that in the statement that in a span of eight (8) days, four auditors were found dead under questionable, and as yet, mysterious and unexplained circumstances.
Naming the four auditors, the statement mentioned Mr. Albert Peters, Mrs. Gifty Lamas, Mr. George Fahnbutu and Mr. Emmanuel B. Nyeswa. The opposition statement stressed that these Liberians are all dead, and the circumstances and causes of their deaths continue to be a mystery!
“It is confirmed that one of the mysterious deaths is of an auditor who heads the Internal Audit Agency of the Government, Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyeswa had just completed an audit of the Covid-19 Funds, and concluded what many Liberians had already come to expect, which is the commission of high-level corruption and lack of accountability in the management of the Covid-19 Funds intended to help Liberia and Liberians,” the CPP accentuated in their statement
The CPP cannot forget, nor should any Liberian not remember, that these were fathers, a young mother, brothers, sons, a sister, daughter, husbands and a wife. Weeks later, the public is yet to understand the reasonable causes of their deaths. What we do know, however, is that they are all linked in death, as they were in life, by their profession, which essentially includes the investigation, authentication, as well as ensuring the proper accounting for, and collection of public monies.
“As the government struggles to explain these deaths, children are deprived of, and missing the breadwinning support of their fathers, and a young mother; a husband is without his wife; wives are without their husbands; and friends and relatives are without their loved ones,” the CPP outlined, saying “Additionally, we have the mysterious disappearance of Siaffa Boimah, Bobby S. Gbeanquoi and Robert Blamoh, Jr. – three young men who are yet to be found while their parents find no recourse under the law.”
The opposition are of the opinion that the murder of a journalist in Bong County who was said to have been investigating the County Development Fund also speaks to high level of insecurity and risk posed to professionals in the course of their duty.
The CPP averred that these unexplained and mysterious deaths are handled with irresponsible and unprofessional approach by the government to investigate them. “Such is the dangerous course of Liberia’s decline under Mr. George Weah that today, citizens can die or disappear mysteriously and inexplicably, the Liberia National Police can deliberately, or inadvertently, corrupt and contaminate the crime scenes with impunity, and the grieving families can be treated with disrespect and without expression of empathy and remorse from their government.
“The CPP mourns the deaths of these heroic Liberians. Our thoughts and prayers are with their grieving families. The CPP knows that it is one thing to lose a family member to natural causes, and yet, it is another to believe a family member has been murdered. Even worse, it is inexcusably painful to have the government treat the heartbreaking loss of the families with contempt, disdain and disrespect. It is truly sad and shocking,” the statement lamented.
“Added to this is the recent pronouncement from a leader of the security sector that the sector is being starved of resources as armed robbery, and other forms of lawlessness, are on the rise, rendering the sector incapable of adequately responding to the situation. This government has deliberately reduced the budget of security sector institutions like they did with integrity institutions, in an attempt to weaken these institutions. Weak anti-graft institutions and poorly-funded security sector is a recipe for disaster,” the statement by the CPP furthered.
The CPP believes these deaths and the apparent failure to fund the security apparatus are of serious concern.
“These developments cannot go unchecked. The unexplained deaths, starving of the national security apparatus of needed resources, all of which are occurring in the face of reports of the recruitment, development and arming of ex-combatant generals into security agencies and private armies, as well as the exponential rise in crime, especially armed robbery, are telltale signs of a reign of terror, as well as calculated efforts to lead by fear.
“Liberians have reasons to be frightened. We have seen this playbook of fear and terror before. We have seen Liberia consumed by terror and fear, accounting for the deaths of many citizens and causing some of our citizens to forcibly escape into self-imposed exile for their safety. We have seen rights denied, freedoms stifled and progress stalled when leaders choose to lead by terror, lawlessness and fear. We have seen “armed robbers” target the homes of activists and critics of the government, and have seen these homes burnt and destroyed,” the statement said
Consequently, the opposition said “… we take these deaths, the irresponsible and unprofessional approach of the government to investigate them, and the warning of those leading the security, very seriously, as all Liberians, and friends of Liberia should. The reign of terror and the institutionalization of fear are dangerous for all Liberians. This is so because life, safety and security of every Liberian are linked together. No one can be safe in Liberia until all Liberians are safe.
“This is why the duty of a government is more than building a ruling party of loyalists. The primary responsibility, which this government is showing signs of being incapable of performing, is to guarantee and ensure the protection of the lives, properties, rights and freedoms of all Liberians. This must be irrespective of the right to associate or not associate with a political party, and especially, it must be in respect of the right of all citizens to live in peace and security even when involved in a public or private disagreement with the government.”
The CPP said it cannot accept that Liberia will be returned to the darkness of terror and governance by fear, from which Liberians struggled and many paid the ultimate price, to be free.
“Liberia cannot be returned to the horrifying day in which sanctity of life was cruelly disregarded. Liberia cannot be returned to that dreaded place where, once again, Liberians will have to look over their shoulders suspecting each other, and trusting no one to be a friend; where we speak in frightful whispers; where they are not safe even in their own homes and where the nights are fearfully long and restless, and the morning brings not tidings of joy, but news of murder and fear,” the opposition bloc said.
The statement signed the CPP’s secretariat concluded, “We cannot. The CPP will not relent in ensuring that we call out the government’s incompetence and demand good governance for the benefit of our people. President George Weah must take responsibility for the state of the nation and lead as he is expected to. Our people deserve better.”