By Alfred Kiadii
Following the success of day 1 of the protest action held by the Council of Patriots (COP), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) released a statement in Monrovia, frowning on the Council of Patriots (COP) for refusing to submit its petition to the government of Liberia, even in the face of the bridge of the agreement by the Government of Liberia (GOL) that the Vice President of Liberia in Jewel Howard Taylor would descend on the grounds of the protest to receive the petition from the COP and present it to George Weah for review by cabinet and subsequent presidential actions—at least that was the assurance the GOL treated the protest movement to.
Against such background, we make the point that the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS)–the former a continental formation and the later a regional outfit–are clubs for elite men and women, cunning dictators and unpopular governments who mostly use these formations as shock troops to protect the power, privilege and wealth of the strong against the weak, the dictators against the people, the possessing classes against the non-possessing classes of the African masses, the exploiters against the exploited, especially in periods when the masses refused to be led in the same old way by taking bold class actions against discredited governments.
Suffice it to mean when the contradictions multiply, amplify and sharpen, pushing the Western African citizens in their respective countries to throw themselves upon the scene of history and become active in political life by voting with their voices and feet against unpopular governments for bad governance, corruption, and other vices that put a stricture on social revolution, the contradictions, moral weaknesses, and the class prejudices of such organizations of the ECOWAS type would be let loose, as it would overtly release liberal rhetorical flourishes but would covertly do everything to cast its lot with the class brothers and sisters (governments, dictators, etc.) against the authentic aspirations of the African masses in order to forestall any popular uprising. Only the logic of the people’s uprising and their defiance would force ECOWAS to ask embattled governments to make minimalist concessions without smashing the exploitative productive and coercive power relations, but with the objective of emasculating those actions of their revolutionary vigour, vitality and trappings through diverting them into safe channels to preserve the status quo.
Needless to say, its foremost objective is to preserve the status quo no matter how rotten, backward and repressive it is because it is not in the interests of the African elites who turned their respective states into an instrument for primitive accumulation, with the elites in slavish alliance with imperialism, the dishing out of carte blanche to multinationals for the imposition of the dictatorship of capital to exploit labour in order to produce surplus value, and to keep the black masses out of history because it is the only way the plunder and corruption without redress can be maintained and sustained.
The ECOWAS folks are quite aware that the aspirations of the African masses whether in the Maghreb, the Sahel, or Sub-Saharan Africa are one and the same: authentic and popular democracy where the people would become masters of their fate and the carvers of the poplar itineraries of their respective countries. So knowing full well the conditions of the Western African masses in member countries are one and the same with only slight or peculiar variations, as they suffer the same damnation, backwardness, harsh austerity, cutbacks, privatization, economic deprivation—all bad products of capitalist neo-colonialism and its cousin of neoliberal globalization. ECOWAS is very afraid that if the popular struggle of the Liberian masses against the discredited Weah administration yield the desired outcomes, it would enlighten and inspire citizens of others ECOWAS or AU countries to push for their own authentic socio-material emancipation from the stranglehold of discredited and unpopular regimes.
Just there in Sudan and Algeria even the AU was very ambivalent about the protest efforts of the Sudanese people and the Algerian masses. The AU had to change its position when it was clear that neither the Sudanese people nor the Algerian masses were timid to not hit the finishing line of their respective struggles against the regimes of Al-Bashir and Bouteflika, and begin the efforts of transformation in earnest.
Meanwhile, it is interesting ECOWAS would muster the audacity to wrongly condemn the Council of Patriots for refusing to deliver its petition to the government of Liberia even in the face of the egregious violation of the agreements by the GOL; equally, the organization is yet to justifiably release a statement of condemnation against the same government, but would elect to play possum amidst the following destabilizing and violent actions by the GOL on all before the first protest day:
- The heavy disbursement of state resources by the GOL to deploy regime agents in the urban centre and rural countryside to stoke fear among the masses of the Liberian people in order to discourage them from turning out en masses for the protest action;
- The violent provocation of students of the University of Liberia by repressive state security officers, the subsequent invasion of the Capitol Hill Campus of the University by the same ruthless culprit, and the concomitant arrest of few student leaders, who are now wrongfully consigned to the notorious South Beach Prison languishing behind bars based on spurious charges;
- The ejaculation of a fusillade of anti-protest tirades and misinformation by the Weah administration, its attendant recurring theme that protest action spiral into violence, a strategy to increase the air of uncertainty, atomize the people into violent conflict, and discourage them from turning out;
- The constant intimidation of Yekeh Kolubah by dangerous state security officers through the orchestration of a vicious frame-up to arrest him days before the protest in order to create uncertainty and sap the associated enthusiasm for the protest by the Liberian masses, thereby affecting the turnout;
- The criminal blockade of the internet on the very early morning of day one of the protest by the degenerate Weah administration, which precluded the citizens of Liberia on the home front from having easy access to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat, etc., in the hope that the dead effort would have hindered the people from assembling;
- The open threat made by President Weah on the very eve of the protest to ruthlessly crush critical voices who expose him and his mental weakness and for whom he is and for what they are: a leader with no foresight but with the revolting penchant for theft on an infamous scale, who is incapable of making generalization, who has no original thought on anything, and who has an underdeveloped brain for reasoning but yet fenced himself with mediocrities and simpletons.
In short, while we salute the mediatory efforts of these groups. However, we are mindful about their class interests and motivations and reject the arm-twisting effort. That is why we say neither ECOWAS, AU nor any country can determine the destiny of the Liberian people. It is the Liberian masses and only the Liberian people who are the makers of their own history!
Down with the Weah regime!
Down with hypocrisy of ECOWAS!
Eternal glory to People’s power!
About the Author:
Alfred Kiadii is Liberia activist. He writes from Accra, Ghana!