Chinua Achebe says when things fall apart, the center cannot hold. This seems to be the case in the camp of the Council of patriots (COP) from which where a prominent member, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper withdraws his membership, now followed by the Economic Freedom Fighter of Liberia of Emmanuel Gonqueh who made a barrage of accusations of corruption and lack of transparency against the Council, but a leading member of COP, famous talk-show host, Henry Pedro Costa says the Council will continue its mission to speak and act against the woes of society without the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) or any of its affiliates that would want to pull out from its advocacy for the poor masses of Liberia; The Analyst’s Sallu K. Swaray reports.
It all started when local reports quoting a press statement of Tuesday, June 25, 2019, accused the Council of Patriots of failure to appropriately exonerate itself from alleged financial malpractices, disrespect and wanton disregard for the popular will of the Liberian people; self-glorification and popularity seeking; failure of the current leadership to step down; and COP leadership’s alleged betrayal of Montserrado County District#10 Representative YekehKolubah.
Its statement, the EFFL highlighted that the COP failed thus far to have by now transparently clear itself of tons of allegations of corruption brought against it by multiple accusers from several quarters of the society. “From since June 7, 2019, it has been more than two weeks, in our estimation, more than enough time, for the COP leadership to have made public a comprehensive and a proper financial report. Instead, what we have seen is a questionable report out of which oozes half-truths and smells with corruption as well”, the statement reads.
But a strong supporter of COP accused the EFFL of being bribed by the ruling establishment which seeks to neutralize the strength of COP so as to continuously pillage state resources and disrespect the rule of law.
The COP loyalist who preferred not be named pointed out that the EFFL is a shame and betrayal to the struggle and that she has all reasons to believe that EFFL’s leadership has received bribe from the government to betray the cause of the Liberian people.
Also reacting to the EFFL’s allegations, Mr. Henry P. Costa, a founding member and executive member of the COP said whether the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia backs off or withdraws from the Council of Patriots, the Council of Patriots will not be deterred to criticize this government for the ills in society.
Mr. Costa indicated that the Council of Patriots has a commitment to tackle the system characterized by bad governance and other defects that have eroded the gains made by former regime which should be improved upon for the betterment of the country and its people.
The though-talking radio talk-show host made the statement on his Costa Show on Wednesday June 26, 2019 amidst the backdrop that the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFF) under the leadership of Emmanuel Gonqueh has unceremoniously withdrawn his membership without prior consultation with the leadership of the COP.
He further indicated that the Council of Patriots will always remain consistent and vocal to ensure that it protects and defends the principles and ideology for which it was organized as a group of patriotic citizens who have vowed to save the state from the brink of economic collapse and autocracy.
The popular political commentator noted that the withdrawal of the EFFL from the Council of Patriots will muster the courage to even have more zest and be stronger to continue the advocacy for the Liberian people.
He reiterated that the Council of Patriots will remained unbending and unwavering when it comes to opposing policies and decisions that tend to bring the country and people to public ridicule.
“The resignation of the Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper and Emmanuel Gonqueh and his Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia will not even create a vacuum because their departure from COP will make us work even stronger in the cause for our country and the Liberian people,” Mr. Costa asserted.
The Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia, announcing its withdrawal from the Council of Patriots, organizers of the June 7, 2019 protest with immediate effect, said the COP leadership unjustifiably refused to have presented the petition statement to the Government of Liberia’s representatives present at the protest site that day or to the ECOWAS Ambassador and his team that turned out to monitor the protest.
“We see this act on the part of the leadership of COP as being disrespectful and anti-peace; undemocratic tendencies that the EFFL will not embrace, because what such tendencies do is to only send forth a message of undermining our country’s hard-earned peace that we continue to enjoy in this democratic space in spite of the current dingy and stuffy economic dilemma the country is engulfed in.”
According to the EFFL, there are some members in the COP leadership who think it’s because of their popularity that the Liberian people gathered on June 7, 2019, and that without their involvement the protest would have been a failure. Hence, it says those people see themselves as not being answerable to anyone, as regards issues of transparency, accountability and fair play.
“Let the word go forth that the EFFL says it is absolutely no single individual’s popularity that made Liberians to come out in their droves. As a matter of fact, the people assembled to register their dissatisfactions over bad governance and economic stagnation as a result of national leaders who are misfits and corrupt.”
On alleged failure of the current COP leadership to step down, the statement notes that on June 9, 2019, a meeting was held at the Old Road, Sinkor Headquarters of the All Liberian Party, out of which grew several decisions including an unanimous decision for the current COP leadership to step down and make way for a new team of leaders, but the current leadership is reneging.
Lastly, the EFFL says it is inconceivably scaring, how the COP leadership would have so cruelly omitted from the petition, issues concerning the matter of life and death of one of its founding members, in person of Montserrado County District #10 lawmaker, Representative YekehKolubah.
The movement describes Rep. Kolubah, who has been indicted by the government on multiple charges, including terroristic threats, as a man, who has and continue to advocate for social justice, and has stood up to the Weah-led government in its wicked desire to entrench bad governance, to the point where he is a classic victim of witch-hunt by the very government he is a part of, but yet is standing up against.
The EFFL, headed by its Commander-In-Chief Emmanuel Gonqueh, is a leftwing, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist political organization that emerged after the departure of the administration of ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It is critical of the George Weah regime.