The former President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) and 2023 presidential candidate, Taiwan Saye Gongloe has released a statement on the July 26, 2022 violence against members of the University of Liberia (UL) based Students Unification Party (SUP).
Below is the statement of Cllr. Gongloe:
Hello fellow Liberians. In this public manner, we condemn, deprecate and denounce in no uncertain terms, the unprovoked attack on the members of the Student Unification Party (SUP) by pro-government militia force of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) on the 175th anniversary of the Republic of Liberia.
According to all reliable accounts, the students were attacked while they were exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and speech. Worst still, we have learned that the police was basically derelicting their duty, by watching and cheering the attackers, rather than arresting them.
There cannot be any common sense reason for the extremely cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of these patriotic and nationalistic sons and daughters of our beloved motherland. The only crime committed by student Christopher Walter Sisulu Sivili, who was subjected to extreme brutality by a collective deadly force of the evil forces of the government backed CDC, was to peacefully assemble around the vicinity of the Embassy of the United States to show to the world that there was no reason for Liberians to celebrate the 175th Independence day of Liberia. In any country governed by the rule of law, this action on the part of student Christopher Togba and his colleagues is a legally protected right guaranteed by the Constitution and international human rights instruments to which the Liberian nation is a signatory.
Sadly, under the Weah-led CDC government, the lack of respect for the rule of law and human rights is fast turning Liberia, a constitutional democracy, in to a Fascist state, evidenced by the callous lawlessness that is becoming prevalent in the country. We call on President George Manneh Weah to stop leading Liberia on the path to another state of anarchy. Liberians do not want to be reminded of the ugly past of the use of forces such as the NDPL Task Force of the 1980s and the SOD and ATU of the Taylor era.
Neither do Liberians want to live under any government created atmosphere of fear and intimidation as was experienced through the brute unleashed by the notorious Tonton Macoute of Haiti, during the regime of the late General Francois Duvalier ( so-called Papa Doc).As a former Acting Chairman of the Student Unification Party (1981)and a past victim of state sponsored brutality, I cannot sit by idly, and allow the gallant men and women of the Vanguard Student Unification Party, to be victimized by another round of state sponsored terrorism.
Upon our return to Liberia,we will institute the appropriate legal action to hold accountable those responsible for this mindless display of such a devilish force against the peaceful and law-abiding students of the University of Liberia.We call on President George Weah, not only to condemn this act of savagery and banditry, but to take the appropriate steps in consonance with the Constitution and laws of Liberia, to bring to justice those responsible for the crimes committed against these peaceful citizens.
President Weah has no other choice in this matter, because the first and most important function of any responsible government is to protect its citizens.The high frequency of unexplained deaths and government’s declining ability to maintain law and order undermines public trust in the ability of the Government of Liberia to sustain the peace and create an enabling environment for free political activities, progress in the reconstruction of Liberia and the economic development of the country.
We also call on President George Weah to stop the continuing erosion of the gains the Liberian people have made in sustaining the peace and building a democratic society. We call on all citizens of Liberia, irrespective of our political differences, to speak with one voice in condemning the unwarranted violence committed against members of the Student Unification Party on the 175thanniversary of the Independence of Liberia.
This display of naked brutality was a desecration of the number one holiday of Liberia. In the words of our national anthem, “in Union Strong Success is sure. We cannot fail” and “With God above our rights to prove, we will overall prevail.” “A Better Liberia is Possible”
God bless the People of Liberia
Issued by Tiawan Saye GongloePresidential Aspirant, 2023