The state of Liberia’s peace and stability has come under serious challenge in recent months evidenced by serial killings, arson attacks and threats of conflict being reported by media outlets and uttered by self-acclaimed aggrieved citizens. This specter of instability comes following crucial elections, the first major national political contestation since the departure of international security forces that had managed national security for over 15 years. As electoral flunkies hype their anger to extremity, blaming their ordeal on the electoral management body and in some cases judicial officials, incidents of violence, including arson attacks, have flared up, putting the administration of President George Weah on its heels to take full control. The Chief of Office Staff of the President, Nathaniel McGill, is not shying from gloomy situation. In a well-attended meeting with Media Executives over the weekend, the State and Presidential Affairs Minister put individuals undermining the country’s peace and stability on notice. He said the Government of Liberia do all that is possible under the laws and its fiduciary responsibility to protect life and property, and that anti-peace perpetrators will not go with impunity. The Analyst reports.
The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel F. McGill, has warned that people involved with destabilizing country that they would be responsible for their actions. He promised that state security would go after anyone whose action is detrimental to the peace and security of the country.
Minister McGill singled out citizens who incite violence and threaten the peace, warning that they would be held squarely responsible for their action, as nobody is above the law.
“If anyone makes a statement that have an adverse effect on national peace and stability, that person will be requested to come forward to explain himself,” the Minister said.
Minister McGill made the assertions when he addressed media executives yesterday at his private residence.
He accused the opposition of being responsible for the recent acts of “domestic terrorism,” which he noted Government would not condone.
“Opposition elements are responsible for all the terroristic acts taking place in this country in recent time. They have been making terroristic statements,” Minister McGill said, adding: “You can quote me on this: the opposition is responsible. If you make threats and incite citizens to violence, and those threats are executed, who else do you hold responsible? They are responsible because the executors have acted on their threats and incitement.”
Although some section of the opposition has condemned the threats and the waves of attacks on NEC and the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe, Minister McGill asserted: “They have to go beyond condemning the action.”
Mr. McGill’s interaction with the journalists comes in the wake of several political incidences that bordered on threats issued by some Lofans who promised the National Election Commission with unspecified action if a son of Lofa, embattled Lofa Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai, was not certificated by the NEC to take his seat.
In addition, Representative Francis Nyumalin of District #1 of Lofa County was recently quoted as saying that with apology to no one, every other seat from the Presidency to any other Branch of Government will be made vacant if Lofa Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai’s seat was declared vacant, and that Liberia should be thinking about setting up an interim government to replace the Weah administration.
In the wake of these statements, petrol bomb attacks were carried out at the Headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe.
The State for Presidential Affairs Minister blamed the opposition for the attacks.
“The specific individuals may not have acted on behalf of the opposition, and so the individual who made the statement will have to be liable. We will not do collective guilt; this is why we are not going around arresting opposition people,” Minister McGill further indicated.
He called on journalists and other stakeholders to condemn individuals who are making the violence-prone statements and support efforts to bring those making such statements to appear before the police.
Minister McGill said: “If you become president, you are going to use the same police; you are not going to build your own police. When the police call you and you know you don’t have anything to hide go to the police.”
The vowed that Liberia would never be threatened by anyone regardless of their status in government.
“Whether you are a cabinet official; whether you are an elected official, you have to abide by the law,” he said further. “There will be no breaking of the law and if you think you are an elected official you can make reckless and irresponsible statements and nobody can go after you, you are mistaken. We dare anyone to try to undermine the peace and security of this country.”
He continued: “If you think you are man enough, and that you can make big mouth and you can threaten the peace and security of this country, and you call yourself political general, try it! Just try it one day.”
The President’s Chief of Office staff said the police is ready and the national security is ready to go after would-be troublemakers.
Commenting on recent statements by Representative Francis Nyumalin’s threat that any attempt to declare the seat won by Senator-elect vacant would mean that all other elective seats will be vacant including the Presidency, McGill noted. “I don’t want to respond to foolishness.”
He said Nyumalin accused him of presiding over ‘rebel group ‘which he identified as Porcupine Brigade, which is a group of intelligent girls in the CDC that organized themselves.
I heard Nyumalin say I am presiding over group of rebels. What’s about CPP that organized the CPP Brigade headed by an office staff of Senator Dillon Office. Does it mean Dillon is pre siding over rebels?”
According to Minister McGill, the day Rep. Nyumalin tries to cause security problem will be the time he will get to know that there is a government; it would be time he would account for his action.
The throwing of petrol bombs in the country, McGill said, is a domestic terroristic behavior.
“Gone are the days when people threw petrol bombs around trying to make the place ungovernable,” he said, emphasizing that those making terroristic threats will have to explain themselves for their threats.
He called on the opposition bloc to condemn their members who threaten the state, asserting that the people of Liberia are against people inciting the public to violence.
He said Liberians want to live in peace, noting that some political leaders believe that violence is the way to come to power while the Liberian people, on the other hand, believe in peace.
“Let them ask the progressives who believe that to mislead, to lie and cause confusion is the way to come to power. Did any of them come to power? No! All of them that were in the progressive camp, none of them have taken the presidency,” he recalled
He said there are some misguided Liberians who believe that the only way to come to power is to cause confusion, but the Liberian people are smarter than what they think.
He expressed disappointment in Liberia’s civil society actors for their failure to condemn acts of violence taking place in the country.