In the aftermath to contain the spread of Coronavirus amidst increased in the number of confirmed cases, the government of Liberia yesterday began enforcing a State of Emergency (SOE) nationwide. Liberians were seen horridly attending to several domestic and external issues in an attempt to return home in observance of government’s mandate.
Bridge Radio Africa has been keenly observing activities of the State of Emergency since it took effect 3:00pm yesterday, and now shares perspectives. Declared in a country of economic hardship, the State of Emergency has come under serious scrutiny by critics of government, with many predicting that citizens will be forced to come out in violation of the SOE, if not for any reason, but search for food as many of them depend on daily hustles for survival.
In the midst of it all, Government of Liberia is yet to pay civil servants for the month of March or give out stimulus package to sustain citizens while observing the SOE. Of course, events surrounding the start of the SOE shows that the joint security is up and ready to effect the Commander In-Chief’s order.
But is the joint security fighting COVID-19 or COVID Human? The answer to this question is what some law enforcement specialists and human rights campaigners including critics are yet to find, as police and personnel of the Arm Forces of Liberia manhandle citizens who claimed to be within the parameter of their homes or neighborhoods.
“This one was done by LNP and this is just day one (AFL 2 vs. LNP 1). The wife of journalist Theophilus S. Seeton was severely beaten by police officers while parking her car about 2 minutes away from her home. The use of brute force is getting alarming. This is really SAD. Imagine this is just day one of 20 more days to go. No food, no Medicare, no relief aid, no pay for civil servants, no stimulus package, no cut on charges of basic social utilities, no hope, etc. GOL is cruel, student Activist, Martin Kollie indicated on his social media page.
“MCC police is not a national force. MCC police is not a member of the Joint Security under the Ministry of Justice. Its legal jurisdiction to have its action enforceable is limited to Monrovia. Hope our Legislators with the power of making the Laws of the land are observing how laws made by them are manipulated and subordinated for individual’s interest. We are following!!! This high level of lawlessness in Liberia needs to stop and stop now, another citizen, Amb Dean S. Tuolee said.
The brute engagement which varies from unmerciful whipping to bloody mouth has caught the attention of the public with many accusing individuals within the security apparatus of using the SOE to get at perceived enemies. Critics look beyond the fight against Coronavirus to fighting human, and are now condemning the police and national army for manhandling citizens.
“You do me I do you”
As a government in waiting, the CDC condemned nearly everything its predecessor did. In 2014 when the Ebola outbreak occurred, CDC stood in the throat of Unity Party-criticizing and politicizing the fight against Ebola. Scores of their leaders condemned government’s decision to quarantine a cluster community, WestPoint as additional measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
Security apparatus, especially the AFL came under immense criticism for shooting down a boy widely perceived as kid in an attempt to enforce quarantine order. News of human rights violation and shooting at unarmed civilians, mainly from the angle of CDC dominated newspapers, radios and social media.
It is interesting to note that three years in its leadership, CDC is now confronted with the fight against COVID-19, a burden proven difficult to bear especially in the midst of widespread condemnations from critics who believe the SOE will only make matter worse for the already impoverish people. Critics believe that in a country with so much economic hardship due to governments’ failure to deliver the needed aids, it is extremely prudent to consider all variables before imposing a State of Emergency.
“In the absence of livelihood alternative in such situation, the government will find it difficult to enforce the law, which aftermath will result to fighting both COVID-19 and COVID-Human”.