P4DP Slams Violent Attack in Zwedru -Expresses Condolence Over late Rep Gwion

MONROVIA: Platform for Dialogue for Peace (P4DP), a local peacebuilding civil society institution has expressed dismay over recent violent action in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County which is believed to have been carried out by irate youths, resulting to the burning down of properties which further engendered a toxic and violent atmosphere in the county.

In a press release issued yesterday, Monday, December 11, 2023 and signed by James S. Shilue, Executive Director, P4DP said Information garnered from the county indicated that the ugly occurrence was triggered by rumors making the rounds that one of the victims of the arson attack, Senator Zoe Pennue, was allegedly involved in the illness of Representative Erol Madison Gwion of District #1 in Grand Gedeh County which allegedly led to his death recently in Ghana.

“P4DP wishes to express its deepest condolences to the bereaved family and relatives of the late Representative Erol Madison Gwion Sr and urges the family to take solace in the Lord in such trying times just as we pray that God grants him eternal rest.

“As a peacebuilding institution, P4DP views recent development as serious threat to peace and stability of the county and therefore decries such widespread violence unleashed by the perpetrators for whatever reasons they may have. P4DP calls on the authorities to ensure that peace and stability return to the county”, the release said.

It further said “coming after a hotly contest presidential and legislative elections where emotions are still high though with a general acclaim that it was peaceful and orderly, the attacks have sent a wrong signal in the country’s effort to maintain a post-election nonviolence environment and the need to sustain the peace. The thoughts of the perpetrators were ill-conceived. As such, we emphatically take exception to such unlawful acts, which have the proclivity to undermine the fragile peace and flagging democracy in the country”.

“P4DP notes that such developments are worrisome considering that they pose a potential threat to sustained efforts being made by P4DP and partners to promote peacebuilding in southeastern Liberia. As a recipient agency of the United Nations Secretary General Peacebuilding Fund that has made significant interventions in southeastern Liberia in promoting peacebuilding and social cohesion, it is disheartening for recurrence of violent acts in the region. P4DP believes that the prevailing situation in Grand Gedeh County demands swift action, acknowledging that conflict triggers remain glaring in Grand Gedeh and other southeastern counties not only because of increased political polarization because of the late Representative Gwion death but also that most youth in those counties are prone to political manipulation amid limited availability of basic social services.

“P4DP is therefore encouraging the people of Grand Gedeh County to refrain from violence and seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue. The Government is also encouraged to ensure the protection of the lives and properties of the citizens including ensuring that the security apparatus is made to live up to its role and responsibilities in the dispense of its duties. Failure to act now can embolden impunity and undermine the peace and stability of across the country. Every person in Liberia must be protected from further violence, threats of violence and intimidation. There must be responsive and effective measures in place to protect all citizens by preventing human rights violations, realizing that the time to tame the rising impunity is now”, the statement said.

The UN Secretary General Peacebuilding Fund is an initiative, which among others, has supported reconciliation and social cohesion endeavors in Liberia through bringing together national, regional, and local reconciliation and social cohesion initiatives and actors in several counties in the country including Lofa, Rivercess, Grand Gedeh, Nimba Montserrado, and Sinoe Counties.  With funding from the UNSG Peacebuilding Fund, P4DP is implementing a peace dividend project in Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties under the auspices of two outcomes: “Improved social cohesion in selected districts and communities in Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties to promote peace and security,” and “Enhanced capacities of youth and women in conflict reduction and prevention in selected districts in Sinoe and Grand Gedeh Counties.

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