The National Youth League of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has blasted Gbarpolu County Senator and former Liberian Finance Minister Amara Konneh for his recent Facebook post against President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
Addressing a news conference held Tuesday, 7 February 2024 in Monrovia, the CDC youth league chair Emmanuel Mulbah Johnson described Senator Konneh as a consummate tribalist whose actions allegedly remind Liberians about the dark days.
“This is troubling, and for Senator Amara Konneh to show a semblance of division by beating the war drum, talking about which tribe or religion is more viable than the other in the Boakai-led administration,” said Johnson.
He suggested that this shows a partnership with Nimba County Senator and Liberian former warlord Prince Yormie Johnson (PYJ) as in the ULIMO days, which wouldn’t be strange to Liberians.
The Youth League Chair emphasized that as the Liberian people detest any form of looming tribal or religious conflict, they will hold Senator Konneh liable for any religious or tribal conflict, noting that it is allegedly being fuelled by him.
In a recent Facebook post, Senator Konneh who backed President Boakai’s 2023 presidential bid, wrote that of the 15 Cabinet ministers appointed so far by President Boakai, there is only one Muslim, Mamaka Bility.
He added that President Boakai had promised a Minister from each county. But he observed that clearly, this promise will not be fulfilled.
The Youth League statement said in Senator Konneh’s statistics about President Boakai’s appointments, he has so far appointed a single Muslim in his government.
Mr. Johnson said the CDC youth league is extremely concerned with the new wave of divisive rhetoric that has allegedly been heralded by Senator Konneh.
He accused Senator Konneh of being religiously and regionally insensitive by questioning the latest appointments made by the President.
“Such a statement brings fresh memories of our dark past where we have the ULIMO -K, ULIMO -J, Lofa Defence Force, NPFL, INPFL, and warring factions founded to defend certain religions, tribal and regional affiliations,” the CDC youth league noted.
The Youth League condemned such acts of incitement on a religious and regional basis as reckless and thoughtless on the part of Senator Konneh, adding that these are the main reasons that led the country into 14 years of civil unrest.
The Youth League believes Mr. Konneh, who who hails from a minority religious group (Muslim) should be a man who endeavors to promote peace and unity.
The CDC youth league believes that Senator Konneh should not beat an early war drum by signalling out a specific group of religions or regions as being overlooked for ministerial positions.
“We feared that the Kissi people or Lofaians might be offended by this as well and feel threatened by the statement of Amara,” Mr. Johnson intoned.
At the same time, the CDC Youth League stressed that the regional and tribal divisive rhetoric is creeping gradually, referencing a statement made by Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson on the same day as Amara Konneh.
Johnson explained that the Nimba Senator attacked President Boakai for reportedly ignoring the citizens of his county during the appointments.
“The Senator of Nimba Prince Y. Johnson took to his pulpit on the same day as Amara Konneh, to attack Mr. Boakai for ignoring Nimbaians and giving all the Ministerial positions to Lofaians,” said Johnson.
“Senator Johnson’s latest attack comes in the wake of his previous threat against Mr. Boakai’s inaugural speech [in] which he propagated the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes court,” the release said.
Emmanuel Johnson also said it is saddening that a man who participated in Liberia’s heinous crimes including the murdering of a sitting President continues to participate in Liberia’s political space at the disadvantage of those who saw the horrible war days and are demanding justice.
In a related development, the Youth League chair also expressed concern over the delay by President Boakai to declare his assets as mandated by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).
“Furthermore, the CDC National Youth League is agog that after two weeks since President Boakai’s inauguration, he is yet to declare his assets in accordance with Part 10, Section 10.1 and 10.2 of the 2014 National Code of Conduct.”
The provision states: “Every Public Official and Employee of Government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types shall sign, declare his or her income, assets, and liabilities before taking office and thereafter.”
“We are beginning to witness the broad day stealing of US$19.5 million from the consolidated account, the misappropriation of US$650,000 intended for the inauguration and US$365,000 intended for the inauguration celebration in the seventy-three electoral districts of our country,” the group continued.
The CDC youth league said it is troubling that less than two weeks in power, Mr. Boakai is yet to account for all this money that could be used to create jobs for young entrepreneurs, and small businesses or invest in education or health.
Meanwhile, the CDC Youth League said it is troubled by President Boakai’s alleged secret handling of the death of several innocent citizens who died at the UP celebration up Crown Hill and then at the inauguration where three other citizens reportedly met their untimely demise on 22 January 2024.
“There has been no report in this regard. We call on Mr. Boakai to provide the whereabouts of the deceased and inform the Liberian people of the cause of death,” he noted.