Editorial: Public Conformity To The Law
MEMBERS OF THE University of Liberia’s Student Unification Party (SUP) gathered Tuesday morning, July 26, 2022 before the US embassy near Monrovia to embark on a peaceful parade to the Centennial Memorial Pavilion, where the indoor program of the 175th Independence Day was taking place. The group was due to present a position statement to government authorities and foreign partners on what it terms as growing corruption and other vices in the public sector.
SURPRISINGLY, WHILE THE students were setting up for the “Fix the Country” campaign, which aimed to denounce all forms of bad governance, including corruption, poverty, insecurity and the dire state of infrastructure, a group allegedly loyal to the government reportedly infiltrated the student group, wounding several.
ACCORDINGLY, NCSCL, IN a statement following the bloody riot, observed “The Council sees the action of the CDC-COP as a looming threat to the current peace and stability the country currently enjoys, which came as a result of huge sacrifices made by Liberians and the international community, who spent billions of dollars of their taxpayers’ money in bringing peace.”
BUT THE ATTORNEY General, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean Jr., while calling on the police to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book in keeping with the laws of Liberia, called for public conformity to the laws of Liberia.
THE GOVERNMENT MADE it clear that, while it encourages all citizens to express their views on national issues, their methods must be in conformity with law. “Articles 13 and 15 of the Liberian Constitution guarantee such rights. The named Constitutional provisions however clearly express the safeguarding of public order, public safety as well as rights and freedom of others,” a Ministry of Information press release stated.
“THE MINISTRY OF Justice also wants to make it clear that it did not receive a request from any group to march in the streets of Monrovia on Tuesday, July 26, whether in protest for or against the Liberian government. A formal request for any such action is a cardinal requirement by law, which can be conveyed through a written petition to the Ministry of Justice for a permit.
“THE LIBERIA NATIONAL Police Act of 2015, Section III Article 22.86, which also deals with public order, mandates any persons wanting to hold such a march or protest to contact the Minister of Justice in keeping with the law. “Had such a request come to the Ministry of Justice, the government would have acted to ensure public safety and order by scheduling the rival groups at different times.
“THE GOVERNMENT IS encouraging all individuals who witnessed the Tuesday, July 26 violence to assist the police with its investigation. They can be assured that their identities will be protected and information held confidentially.”