For immediate release[PRESS]
(30th March 2020)- The One People Revolutionary Movement(OPRM) condemns in the highest term the report of the use of brute-force against the struggling poor marketeers at the waterside market on yesterday morning. Brute-force, we believe, must be the very last option for State Security Forces. It must exhaust all means of persuasion before reverting to bute-force, at least at ethics demand.
More importantly, life is extremely difficult in Liberia as a result of the devastating and unbearable economic conditions the country is currently experiencing, as such, these indigent marketers, “yana and value boys” are compelled to go to the market grounds and in the streets on a daily basis to fend for daily bread for their impoverished families. If they don’t do so, their families will perish from starvation. Most if not all these marketers are poor people who barely live on daily sales (hand-to-mouth in Liberian parlance), which makes the government lockdown totally difficult if not impossible for them to fully grasp. To fully adhere to the government lockdown would literally mean staying home and dying from hunger, as these people have no food and other needed items stocked up at home, for they do not have money to do so. Hence, this becomes a tricky dilemma that requires leadership not brutality.
We foresaw this complication from the very day the lockdown was pronounced and instantaneously suggested that the government compliments the lockdown with a bit of food, drugs and other essential supplies to the slum communities where the poorest and neediest of us are residing. This includes New Kru Town, West Point, Clara Town, Doe Community, Buzzy Quarter, Saye town, Jallah Town and Soni Wien Communities. The government has failed to heed our suggestion yet expect these peasant poor people to stay home and perish out of hunger while officials of government have stock packed their homes with food and other assorted items. This is utter travesty and cruelty, to say the least.
While we support all the precautionary measures prescribed by health authorities, we are equally concerned about the survivability of our less fortunate citizens and expect the government to be equally concerned about how it can find means to lend some social support to poor Liberians while they are lockdown at home. The million-dollar question now lingering is, how does the government expect these striving poor people and their families to survive when their only means of survival is been shutdown or impeded?
Hectoring marketers and yana boys and destroying their market huts and tables is a sheer act of gangsterism and wickedness. The government should demonstrate leadership and bring hope to its vulnerable citizens in times of crisis rather than inflicting further pains and distress on them. We are witnessing other countries like the United States, United Kingdom, European countries graciously presenting lofty stimulus packages to their citizens amid this ravaging COVID-19 scourge. We also see African countries like Rwanda, Ghana and others delivering food, drugs, and other items to the doorsteps of their people—displaying care for their citizens amid this deadly health crisis. Ghana’s Nana Kuffour Ado stepped it up in a big way by generously donating his three months salaries (March, April, and May) to a special social welfare fund he designed, to bring relief to the poor in Ghana during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown of that country. This is surreal leadership! This is pure grace from the heart of a meek leader.
What is Mr. George Weah doing personally for poor Liberians? What has his government done for the people its security forces have started brutalizing in the name of stamping the lockdown measures? We only heard George Weah sang a COVID-19 awareness song, fine, but the hungry Liberian people will not eat song. They do not have time and dexterity to listen to the song. They cannot even afford the radio to listen to such a rendition. They want food. They want to survive. That is what matters to them and us.
Why we encourage our people to follow the preventative measures against this killer virus, we call on Mr Weah and his government to lend some support to the poorest and neediest. Liberia is not poor to the extent that it cannot identify with its slum communities. This is the time to lead, not to unleash brutality on our already impoverished, hopeless and distressed masses. In scaring and perilous times like these, the government stands by their people and provides them with the cushion they need to go through these tough moments. They do not prey on them! Despicable. Disgusting. Irresponsible. Hawkish.
We stand in solidarity with the marketeers, all slum communities and offer a revolutionary salute to them all as we gallantly battle COVID-19. We offer prayers for all healthcare workers at the frontline of the battle against this deadly COVID-19 plague. Together, we shall roll back this dangerous disease. God bless Liberia and the rest of the world.
UP with the marketeers and slum communities, DOWN with State security brutality!! Enough said.
One People Revolutionary Movement/OPRM, Press Bureau
Main Photo: Moncio Kpadeh, leader, OPRM