The Terror Of Liberia’s 2017 Elections, As Clashes Overwhelm Political Campaigns

The giant size float used by the CDC with loud music at the District office of the UP representative candidate which led to the clashes

Liberians are becoming to worry about the pending October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections in the face of continual clashes between political parties, a situation which seems to question the peacefulness of these elections.

The reported news of brutal clashes between two opposition political parties, the Liberty Party (LP) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in Nimba County which resulted to some members of the parties involved to sustain serious injury pondered the minds of electorates to wonder as to whether the pending elections will be peaceful.

Police had to move in to quell the disturbances that occurred and lasted about an hour as it spilled to nearby areas of the city.

Mulbah Morlu, an elite member of the CDC while calling on the state-run radio ELBC Wednesday blamed Liberty Party for the disturbance.

“The Liberty Party provoked the disturbance because they had one of their vehicles blocking the convoy of the CDC from entering into Sanniquellie, which I think was a recipe for disturbance,” he said.

Morlu said the CDC had always believed in peace and would continue to put in measures that would make the country an oasis peace and development.

He said: “Democracy is too precious to be swept away because of the quest for power, and CDC will, in our capacity as the people’s party, do everything possible to maintain peace and unity.”

Morlu said the CDC standard bearer would want to be president of a united Liberia and would, therefore, not condone any act that could undermine the peace and unity of the country.

He said as a responsible political party, the CDC would play its role meaningfully and urged other stakeholders to play their roles well to ensure an incident-free October polls.

In its reaction, the Liberty Party claimed that it wrote the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the National Elections Commission (NEC) about its campaign launch in the city of Sanniquelle, Nimba County and was given permission for the program to be held Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

According to its Assistant Secretary General, Kla Toomey, Liberty Party said when it was about to launch its campaign in Sanniquelle early Wednesday,  a CDC campaign team headed by its standard bearer, Senator George Weah, entered Sanniquelle and reportedly made a verbal request to the LNP for protection to carry on a political rally.

Said request from the CDC, according to Toomey, was turned down by the Police in an effort to prevent tension between supporters of the two parties.

But about few minutes after the start of the LP campaign rally, a group of parading CDCians (partisans of CDC) headed by Weah attempted passing through Liberty Party crowd but were prevented by the Police and told by partisans of Liberty Party to detour through another direction to avoid tension.

While Liberians are concentrating on how this ugly political situation between the Liberty Party (LP) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) can be handled in order to curtail the disruption of the October 10 elections, similar incidence took place Thursday, September 21, 2017 between a representative candidate of the CDC and that of the UP at Pipeline Road, the Super Market vicinity in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, a situation that made several marketers and bystanders to take to their heels.

According to some eyewitnesses who spoke to the GNN in an interview said, the unfortunate situation started when a representative candidate of the Unity Party, Ceebee Barshall was having his campaign rally in the vicinity at #3 office,  when some supporters of Bill Tweahway, a CDC representative candidate in their number with their float with laud music which annoyed supporters of Ceebee Barshall thus resulting into serious violence clashes which led to several persons to sustain wounds.

While at the same time, supporters of the CDC representative candidate began to vandalize the District office of Ceebee Barshall and damaging several vehicles in the yard of the UP representative candidate and tearing down the campaign banner and a flagpole, a situation which created fears in residents of the area.

According to the regulation of the National Elections Commission (NEC), no political party is allow to campaign at the same day or time while another candidate is campaigning. But what have been observed is this regulation put in place by NEC has been publicly annoyed.

With this latest unwarranted action, some Liberians who spoke to the GNN are expressing fear that if nothing is done to arrest this situation by the national security to abort such ugly attitude by supporters of political parties, the 2017 elections may be greeted with ‘bloodbath’.

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About Cholo Brooks 15363 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.