Liberians Worried Over Political Militarization -As LIROI Calls for Pres. Weah to Halt Military Brigades

Liberians are getting overly concerned and worried over news that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is actively recruiting and training militias under the guise of forming a party militant brigade ahead of the 2023 general elections. Against such worrisome perspective, a leading political think tank is calling on the Government of President George M. Weah to immediately put a halt to the CDC’s action and commit his administration and party to the democratic process which has, as one of its basic tenants, the free competition of ideas.

Recently, photos of the CDC newly recruited militants flooded the Internet, alleging that Representative Thomas Fallah is actively involved in the deployment of the newly recruited and trained CDC militias in Lofa County ahead of the recently cancelled by-election in that part of the country.

Voicing the concerns of voters regarding the CDC recruitment and deployment of militias during Liberia’s crucial electoral processes that should pave the way for the strengthening of the country’s nascent democracy, the Liberian Renaissance Office Incorporated (LIROI), an opposition think tank, has described as worrisome photos emerging on traditional and social media of an apparent active recruitment and training of militias, by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), in the guise of forming a party militant brigade.

According to the LIROI, the Liberian people have seen these governing parties with the means and opportunities for violence use “militant brigades” to wreak electoral violence and intimidation.

“In recent legislative elections we saw opposition candidates come under violent attacks in highly-contested districts, including in Districts 13 and 15, in Montserrado County.

“Already, we are witnessing the weaponizing of the justice system and politicization of the Judiciary, which are unhealthy for Liberia’s young democracy. Adding militias can only lead to the invitation of others to seek their own means to defend and protect themselves which will lead to a breakdown of order in the society and violence in our election processes,” the opposition think tank noted.

Furthermore, the group said it is deeply concerned that the intensification of the CDC’s formation of militias seems to be timed against the backdrop of on-going bilateral negotiations between the Government of Liberia and Turkey, resulting in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that includes the provision of military support to the Armed Forces of Liberia and the National Police.

“While we welcome such goodwill on the part of the Government of Turkey, we demand monitoring mechanisms be put in place to ensure that the provisions of lethal instruments to the military and para-military do not lead to supplying irregular militias or formation of private armies. Liberians have seen this before, and call on the international community to beware of the attending risks to our fragile peace and young democracy,” the LIROI position statement averred, while calling on the Government of President George M. Weah to immediately put a halt to the CDC’s action and commit his administration and party to the democratic process which has, as one of its basic tenants, the free competition of ideas.

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