Liberia’s Defense Minister, J. Brownie Samukai has vowed brute force on the opposition April 12th demonstration and participants if they dare to challenge his directive to stay home and abort their plan to carry on their planned demonstration.
Speaking at a news conference in Monrovia on Thursday, the Liberian Defense Minister admonished Liberians planning to be a part of the opposition April 12th demonstration to rethink their plan as his Army will stand ready with wipes (ratten) to beat up anyone who defies his orders.
The Liberian Defense Minister warning comes amid threats from the Liberian opposition to stage a public demonstration on April 12, 2013 against the government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for what they referred to as the unabated plundering of the country’s wealth and disagreement of her appointment of the Chairman to the country’s Election Commission, a fielded electoral candidate on the President’s party (Unity Party) ticket in the country ‘s 2011 elections.
Executives of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) recently announced they would hold demonstration on April 12th but the Liberian government has insisted the opposition must file official quest to the government for its approval to stage their demonstration. Minister Samukai disclosed that the government has yet to receive the request from the opposition but only hears the threat of staging a demonstration through.
The opposition insist it is not require to request a permit from the government before staging a march or demonstration because those rights are inherent in in the Liberian constitution; the freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of movement, and freedom of speech and the freedom of association.
Minister Samukai warned the opposition the Army will not sit by and allow a handful of people to threaten the peace of the rest of the majority, emphasizing that after ten years of relative peace, the country is not prepare to go back to its dark days of April 12th of 1980. The Minister vowed to unleash the full force of the Liberian army if the demonstration goes ahead and his warning is not heeded, saying you don’t want to know what we will do.
History has a way to reverse itself and as the saying goes, “be mindful of what you wish for” may find its true revelation in the present tension evolving in Liberia between the government and the opposition as President Sirleaf, then an opposition leader used the very tools of demonstrations and marches against the regimes of Samuel Doe and war crime convict Charles but now on the very side of the leadership ledger those leaders found themselves, she opposes those very tools she once used with the Liberian constitution her guide and her government, through the Defense Minister and the army threaten to inflict the very brute force she and the opposition once suffered.
April 12th is a sensitive date in Liberia because it was on that date the country broke into shambles when a Master Sergeant in the Liberian Army overthrew a century old hegemony through a military coupé that killed the President, William R. Tolbert in cold blood. Almost all of the country’s tragedies have all occurred in the month of April and Liberians have since become nervous during the month of April in retrospect of the sufferings April had brought on them.
The Liberian Defense Minister says the capital, Monrovia will see a lot of movement beginning April 10th to prepare for the demonstration, adding the military will be on a standby in a nearby military base in the city, the Barclay Training Center to respond to any eventuality from the demonstration to beef up the capability of the police.
President Ellen Johnson-Sireaf is being blamed for the current tension in Liberia, according to observers who say the country is being poorly managed and unabated plundering of the country’s coffers by a very few while the rest live in starvation is beyond human imagination, depleting the wealth of the country and leaving the Liberian people with nothing in return. Among their grievances, observers say President Sirleaf has auctioned the country’s oil wealth to the least bidders to foreign companies before they even knew the country had oil. The President is also been accused of pawning 40% of the country’s land to foreign investors, leaving no meaningful benefit translated in the improvement of the lives of the people and communities but made the poor homeless with no land to farm. The mining and forestry sectors are also areas observers say the Liberian leader had auctioned to foreign companies without the interest of Liberians secured in a meaningful way.