Gov’t Says ‘Weah Step Down Protest’ Treasonous
The Government of Liberia has termed the mobilization of individuals and resources within and without of Liberia by a group calling itself “Council of Patriots (CoP)” to execute a “Weah Step Down,” campaign beginning December 30, 2019 as “unconstitutional and treasonous,” noting that such act is an offense against the internal security of the state.
It can be recalled that the CoP on November 11, 2019 requested the government to provide security protection to allow them hold a peaceful assembly in Monrovia beginning December 30.
However, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said in its communication to the CoP that the ministry has “taken cognizance to several public pronouncements emanating from the hierarchy of the CoP, characterizing the assembly as the beginning of a ‘Weah Step Down’ campaign.”
The ministry stated that it is not with the legal authority to grant permit, protection or approval to the CoP to undertake an act which is undisputedly in clear violation of the constitution and statutory laws of Liberia.
In a communication to the acting Chair of the CoP, Mohammed Ali, the Justice Ministry warned that individuals comprising of the leadership of the CoP will be held personally, individually and collectively culpable and liable under the law for consequences associated with their actions.
The communication reminded the CoP that the government is aware that in preparation to execute their planned objectives they have solicited and received funding from individuals both from in and out of Liberia, some of whom may not be citizens of Liberia.
The ministry points out that President George Manneh Weah was duly elected President by the people of Liberia and inaugurated on January 22, 2018 for a six-year term, emphasizing that any removal prior to the expiry of the term of the president may occur only by impeachment as provided under Article 62 of the Liberian Constitution.
Referencing interpretation of Article 1 of the 1986 Constitution by the Supreme Court of Liberia, the government said there is no provision for the “Weah Step Down” campaign in the constitution and statutory laws of Liberia.
“All power is inherent in the people, all free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so required,” Article 1 of the Liberian constitution states.
It continues: “In order to ensure democratic governance which responds to the wishes of the governed, the people shall have the right at such period and in such manner as provided for under the Constitution to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections and appointments.”
On June 7, it can be recalled, the CoP staged a mass assembly aimed at drawing the government’s attention to issues, they said, were related to governance and the economic climate of Liberia.
The assembly by the group, however, ended in deadlock as organizers refused to deliver their petition to the government, a move which ruptured the essence of the assembly.
The group was later plunged into further quagmire as issues of corruption and uncertainty over how monies generated for the assembly were expended, leading to the breakaway of key supporters, including former Montserrado County Representative Rufus Neufville, and sitting Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper as well as the advocacy group, Economic Freedom Fighters.