The governing Coalition for Democratic Change has increased its militancy ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections in Liberia, as evidenced by the recent showcasing of built young men and women in Foya, Lofa County, in the midst of intense political activities for the conduct of a by-election in that county.
The Lofa County by-election was triggered after Mr. Brownie Samukai was denied the right to take his seat after being declared the winner in 2020. The Supreme Court ordered Mr. Samukai and two others to be imprisoned for failing to pay half of the Armed Forces of Liberia’s (AFL) US$1.1 million money misappropriated, Mr. Samukai was later pardoned by President Weah due to public outcry in accordance with the constitution of Liberia.
According to a Frontpage Africa report, over 30 people aged 25 to 35 were seen in CDC regalia in Foya during the early morning hours of Monday, May 10, 2022. They wore khaki outfits with the CDC Militant writing on the back, as well as red berets with the party’s logo. According to sources in Foya, the “CDC Militants” had congregated in the region to await the arrival of Montserrado County District # 5 Representative Thomas Fallah and independent candidate Counsellor Joseph Jallah. The ruling party has approved Cllr. Jallah’s candidacy after failing to field a candidate in the Lofa County senatorial by-election.
The reports noted that the CDC provided the regalia through Representative Fallah for the “militants” to give “maximum security and protection” for the ruling party’s supported candidate and other executives and officials canvassing in Lofa. The militarization of political parties is reportedly on the rise in Liberia, a country that has experienced almost a decade of civil wars. These militants chanted endless battle cries and, in some cases, blocked pedestrians and automobiles from using roads that their commanders could use.
The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Major General, Prince C. Johnson noted that both the ruling and opposition political parties militarize young people, posing a threat to Liberia’s peace and stability. According to him, the high level of coordination and cooperation among security actors in the Mano River Union (MRU) region makes it difficult for any group to wage war or insurgency in Liberia, but the conversion of young people into political parties “militants” puts the country and its people in danger.
“No one can bring war to this country without the cooperation of one of those neighboring countries because we’ll always need an exit route and a logistical support route.” So, based on the current level of cooperation, I believe you will be able to fly in (to bring war in Liberia). No, I’m not suggesting we’re completely safe; but, there may be sporadic incidents when people become radicalized. However, coordination between Sierra Leone and Guinea is the greatest method to defend our borders,” General Johnson said at the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) on Carey Street in Monrovia.
He expressed concern over political leaders incorrectly putting names on a certain set of people. With this report, Liberians have started to panic that the coming elections will be very tense and call on the Weah Administration to put all security measures in place and support the security sector instead of creating their own security network.