EDITORIAL: Probe the Arm Cache Now

RECENTLY, THE GOVERNMENT of Liberia announced that its security forces have uncovered a cache of arms concealed in a container at the Freeport of Monrovia and swiftly moved to name some suspects linked to the mysterious discovery which in no small way shocked the country amidst security concerns about the safety of its citizens and the ability of our security architecture to ward off any external attack.

THE DISCOVERY IS coming on the heels of the anxiety that has enveloped the nation as we enter the crucial electioneering period and there has been serious concerns raised on the need to make the process peaceful. Thus, it is expected that such news coming up from our security agencies must claim the attention of the government so as to restore public confidence and hope in the safety of the people and survival of the nation.

UNFORTUNATELY, THERE SEEMS to be a drop in the enthusiasm on the part of the security to further probe the discovery as was promised when the situation was first reported. The promised rapid updates about the findings have virtually been abandoned for no reason thus raising suspicion that the much hype arm cache could be a phantom attempt by the government to sell a dummy and achieve something sinister in the process which could undermine the peace and security and our nascent democracy.

ORDINARILY IF THE incident as was reported by the police was one of those stories that citizens had treated with mute indifference or mere gossip from the less busy quarters, no one would have bothered at all going after the story or nursing reason to place importance on it. But there are serious security implications around the reportage not only as it relates to the ensuing election, but it further carries a narrative that the country is exposed to security breaches, meaning it is vulnerable to external threats.

IT IS IN this vein that we raise our voices high up to the authorities concerned to fast track the investigation and come up with the appropriate findings that will be satisfactory to the people. If at the end of the investigation anyone or institution is found liable, the due process of the law should take its course without fear or favor.

THIS IS SOMETHING the government should not play with as it has the propensity to derail the entire relative peace we have enjoyed after the departure of the multinational UNMIL mission as well as undermining the electoral process which the whole nation and the international community look up to yield the desired result.

WE JUST HOPE that the government realizes the implications associated with what the police reported to the public about the discovery and not being able to prove anything to substantiate any claims. In the first place, there is an implication that the country is not safe and that it is exposed to external vulnerability as was stated before. Coming a few weeks after the mind blowing discovery of a $100M dollar worth of drugs believed to have been smuggled into the country without the national security architecture detecting it must demand the immediate attention of the government. It took the US government to alert our security and even as it is, no further information has been reported.

SECONDLY, PUTTING THE citizens on the edge of a serious national issue without coming up with the facts or pursuing it to the logical conclusion only serves the citizens with a nostalgia of our ugly past where previous governments use fake stories of coups, security breaches and other tactics to rope perceived opponents in cases for extermination or some forms of intimidation and oppression. Obviously, no citizen will want the country to revisit its ugly past that will plunge this country once again in a serious national crisis.

ALREADY, STORIES ARE rife from the opposition community that there is no iota of truth in what the government is providing the public about the arm cache, speaking from the scanty information provided and the circumstances surrounding the investigation. There is a grave concern why the government is not forthcoming in releasing detailed information about the container in the wake of counter-checks from some Liberians who are versed in port related transactions who alleged that the container was actually bound out of Liberia and there is no information that the container arrived in the country recently.

THE SUBMISSION FROM the opposition community is that the said arms were actually owned by the government and decided to use them to implicate some members of the opposition community as well as enacting a phantom plan where fear will be instilled in the people as the nation goes to the polls in October, 2023 and give the ruling establishment the chance to rig the election in its favor

THIRDLY, AND VERY important too, the arm cache is not good news that the country wants to hear and entertain right now. It is completely counterproductive to the enduring efforts of the government, political parties, international community and citizens to make sure that Liberia gets the best out of the democratic process that has gotten us where we are.

EVERYTHING ABOUT THE country and its future solely rests on the outcome of the election where the people are expected to freely choose their leaders of their choice. That means the government has to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt its earlier pledges and promises that it will ensure the election will take place and the results as reflected from the wishes of the people will be respected. The arm cache should not therefore come in the picture.

FINALLY WE WANT TO re-echo our stand that the government should, without delay, take appropriate action to fast track the investigation and make the outcome of the exercise public and action taken against those who may be found culpable of the arm cache. The action once implemented will not only erase fear in the minds of the people as 2023 election approaches but also send a clear message that the government has the capacity to guarantee the protection of lives and properties of the citizens and residents.

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