George Weah's popular government was accused of weakness in tackling corruption and shielding some high-profile officials from questioning and dismissal. 15.5 billion freshly minted Liberian dollars had disappeared on arrival at the ports; and $25 million cash laid out for injection into the economy was reportedly mismanaged leaving the economy as sickly as ever. Inflation is heading for 3 digits pushing commodity prices sky-high. The Liberian currency keeps going down against the US dollar and the impact of foreign aids has become so feeble fuelling suspicion of fiscal diversions.
An investigation body with foreign inputs claimed no money was missing, but the people did not seem convinced.
Besides these economic issues, Liberians have also expressed dissatisfaction over human rights abuse of the past particularly the crimes and injustice of the nation's period of war. People think the government should establish special courts to hear cases of abuse and serve justice according to international practice.Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) officially recommended the formation of these courts in 2010. The commission asserted that for the country to truly heal, Liberia needed to create an environment for people who committed human rights or economic violation can amend for their crimes according to law. But it seems Weah's government is not keen on the trial of the suspects of war crimes.
In the opposition' s view, the government and its predecessors have applied little efforts to create the transparency courts.
The opposition promised to make the protest march non-violent. Liberian politics is vulnerable and the temperament of a nation just emerging from the throes of protracted wars is still combustible. Therefore, peace was factored into the protest to forestall breakdown of law and order. Non-government institutions, major commercial centers, and the internet were entirely shut down. Social Media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat were inaccessible throughout the protest.
The internet outage might have aided the government to prevent viral criticisms of government, spontaneous mobilization of the rabble and dangerous intrusions of terror groups.
Peace , however , was achieved at a cost. The closure of businesses and Internet shut-downs robbed the weak economy of huge amount of needed cash. The opposition regarded the measures as a panicky over-reaction as the protest was billed to be peaceful anyhow.
However, the opposition did not deliver the prepared petitions as planned because it insisted on delivering it to the President or his deputy both of whom are elected officers of the state. They rejected the state functionaries mandated to receive the paper on behalf of the state, much to the chagrin of international observers.
Whether the president will address the demands with dispatch as advocated by the opposition is anyone's guess. But the opposition has promised to hit the streets again if their demands were ignored.
Janet M. Kamara (with local newspapers’ reports)
Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/liberians-leverage-peace-to-ask-government-for-change