Jefferson Koijee Targets Opposition? -Rainbow Alliance Claims Koijee Has HQ Under Siege; Orders Flag, Signboard Torn Down -But MCC Says TWP Eviction “Legal”
The Rainbow Alliance, currently Liberia’s largest conglomeration of political parties, has outrightly accused Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee of not only unleashing thugs to loot the party’s flag and take down its signboard at their E.J. Roye Building headquarters on Ashmun Street, but Mayor Koijee also ordered a large number of City Police under the command of Col. G. Thomas Gawo to harass and intimidate Rainbow Alliance partisans, demanding that they leave their headquarters under duress.
The Rainbow Alliance is a conglomeration of political parties that came together just prior to the December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial and National Referendum. Comprising the Vision for Liberia Transformation (VOLT) party, the Democratic Justice Party (DJP), the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), the Redemption Democratic Congress (RDC), the Union of Liberian Democrats (ULD) and the True Whig Party (TWP), the Rainbow Alliance joined the bandwagon of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) to vigorously campaign against candidates of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and rallied nationwide for a “No” vote that saw the death knell of the National Referendum.
Reacting to their alleged forceful eviction, the Rainbow Coalition in a February 6, 2021 presser claimed that in the past week the E.J. Roye Building which is recognized as the national headquarters of the True Whig Party and the Rainbow Alliance witnessed the horrific assault of its offices and bullying of its partisans allegedly by a large number of City Police under the command of Col. G. Thomas Gawo who ruthlessly demanded that occupants leave the premises under duress.
“The police officers threatened that ‘opposition political parties will feel the heat’ because the Rainbow Alliance had collaborated with the CPP against the Referendum and endorsed Senator Abraham Darius Dillon in the recent senatorial elections,” the Rainbow Alliance press release indicated.
The opposition group further charged that, without any writ from the court, Monrovia City Police Colonel G. Thomas Gawo intimated that he was acting on orders of his boss, Mayor Koijee, and gave notice that he would bring in earth moving equipment to bulldoze the offices of the Rainbow Alliance if the premises were not vacated.
Stay Order Revoked
The Rainbow Alliance further disclosed that it had obtained a Stay Order from the Civil Law Court to halt attempts by the Monrovia City Police to forcefully evict them from their headquarters, but to no avail.
“On February 2, 2021, a Stay Order was obtained from the Civil Law Court and issued to Col. Gawo to desist from carrying out his illegal eviction activities, but he has ignored the Stay Order and increased deployment thereby prohibiting Rainbow Alliance members and Executives from entering their offices. The Rainbow Alliance considers this assault as an act of intimidation and harassment of its peace-loving executives and partisans, and a threat to democracy; but warns that the Alliance remains unwavering towards restoring the hopes and aspirations of the Liberian people,” the opposition group warned, noting that it is flagging its concerns over the draconian tactics against opposition political parties.
“This is a signal of increasing intolerance for political opposition by the CDC government as it continues to lose support across the country. The Alliance hereby calls on other political parties and collaborations, and the Liberian people to join forces in opposing these draconian tactics. The Alliance also calls on the international community and foreign friends who have sacrificed resources and manpower in restoring peace to Liberia, to take cognizance of the threat that the CDC government’s action poses to derailing peace and stability in Liberia,” the presser, signed by Rainbow Alliance acting Vice Chairman for Public Affairs, Lawrence Gboyah, stated emphatically.
MCC Reacts Swiftly, Shows Proof of Govt Ownership
In a bid to get all sides to the Rainbow Alliance allegation, this paper immediately contacted Monrovia City Government Communication Director Pekele Gbuapaye who wasted no time to provide his entity’s side of the debacle.
“The real story is that the MCC is acting in line with the law. The Government and True Whig Party went to court in 2019, and the government won the case against the True Whig Party, which was represented by one Reginald Goodridge,” Mr. Gbuapaye said.
“MCC has no dealing with Rainbow Alliance for anyone to even insinuate that MCC is witch-hunting them. The government went to court with the True Whig Party and won the case. So everyone in that building, according to the ruling, must vacate the premises,” the MCC PR head clarified.
He said the General Service Agency (GSA) through its Director General Mary Broh sent a communication to the MCC sometime this year to ensure that those who are illegally occupying the E.J. Roye should leave the building. “So we acted based on the communication from GSA,” Gbuapaye said.
When The Analyst queried the MCC comms director as to why did GSA Director General Broh reverted to the MCC to evict supposedly illegal occupants of the E.J. Roye Building instead of reverting to the courts through which the government had earlier won its case, Mr. Gbuapaye said the GSA authorities should be the ones to address such issues.
It can be recalled that the Government of Liberia in September 2017 won the True Whig Party in a petition for declaratory judgment, when Civil Law Court ‘A” Judge Boima Kontoe ruled that his court had no jurisdiction to determine the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) application of Decree #11 under Article 97 of the 1986 Constitution. “Since the argument surrounds the interpretation of Article 97 and other constitutional provisions over which this court has no jurisdiction,” Kontoe had said at the time, “the TWP’s petition for declaratory judgment is hereby denied.” Kontoe upheld the state’s appeal asking him not to determine the matter.
Again, in March 2019, the Government of Liberia, through the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia rendered judgment against the True Whig Party with the proviso that, “ the Memorandum of Understanding by and between the TWP and the Government of Liberia which was signed by the legitimate leadership of the TWP acknowledging the Government’s ownership of the property, and thereafter the TWP having received the amount of Two Hundred and Twenty-Five Thousand United States Dollars (US$225,000) to vacate the premises and having vacated the premises, the TWP and its subsequent leadership cannot now repudiate the act of its predecessor. Accordingly, the present leadership of the TWP is ordered to turn over the deed as well as the E.J. Roye Building to the Government of Liberia.”