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Saturday, July 20, 2024

EFFL: ‘CIC GONQUOI’S DENIAL AT SIGNING OF FARMINGTON DECLARATION RUNS CONTRARY TO INTENT OF HOLDING FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS’

Date:

By Olando Testimony Zeongar

LIBERIA – The newly certificated political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), through its Secretary General-elect, Mr. Julu Johnson, has declared that the denial of entry by state security officers of EFFL’s Political Leader, Commander-In-Chief Emmanuel D. Gonquoi, into the hall where the Farmington Declaration was recently singed, runs contrary to the intent of the peace pact, which endeavors among other things, to foster the conduct of a violent-free, as well as free and fair elections later this year on 10 October.

On 4 April, some security personnel of the elite bodyguard unit from the Executive Protection Service (EPS) assigned with President George Weah, prevented CIC Gonquoi’s entry into the Farmington Declaration signing hall, when he and representatives of his party, at the invitation of the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia, in collaboration with its international partners including United Nations and ECOWAS, to along with other Political Leaders and representatives of registered political parties in the country, sign the Farmington Declaration, which seeks to reaffirm commitment to a non-violent, free, fair and transparent elections.

Howbeit, EFFL chief scribe Johnson, has stated that the treatment meted out against CIC Gonquoi by gun-toting state security officers assigned to President Weah at the signing ceremony of the Farmington Declaration runs contrary to the intent of holding free and fair elections.

“We received an invitation and honored same by signing into the entry log from NEC at the venue but our CIC Emmanuel Gonquoi was denied entry having addressed national issues on OK FM radio this morning,” Johnson averred.

Narrating the ordeal of his party’s Political Leader, Johnson indicated that “At the entry point, one moment, EPS officers said he wore party regalia. Another moment, they said he was late and finally they declared that the hall was packed.”

Johnson added that “Despite the aforementioned excuses, they requested that I enter as EFFL National Secretary General, but I couldn’t as a mark of protest against the manner and form my political leader was treated.”

The EFFL Secretary General-elect observed that as a result, his party was unable to sign the Farmington Declaration, a situation which he believes is counterproductive to the intent of the Farmington River gathering of political actors in the country. Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia through Deputy Information Minister Jarlawah Tonpo, has denied state security officers ever preventing CIC Gonquoi entry into hall designated for the signing of the Farmington Declaration.

Deputy Minister Tonpo told a local radio station that assertions the EFFL leader that he was prevented from entering the hall, is “a black lie from the belly of the Devil.”

According to Deputy Minister Tonpo, CIC Gonquoi arrived at the venue of the signing of the Farmington Declaration allegedly two hours and thirty minutes late, when former Vice President and Standard Bearer of Unity Party, Ambassador Joseph Boakai, was already delivering a statement on behalf of political parties in the country.

“Emmanuel Gonquoi arrived with his battle cry and what have you, with his group at 1:30,” said Topon, who claimed that contrary to the EFFL leader’s assertion that he was harassed by state security officers, nobody ever harassed him, but that state protocol officers rather informed him that the hall was jam-packed and that there was no space left to accommodate the EFFL Political Leader.

But Gonquoi, on the other hand, has termed as lies, the Government’s side of what transpired between him and state security officers on Tuesday, at Farming Hotel.

He attributed the alleged action of the EPS officers to deny him entry into the venue of the signing of the Farmington Declaration, to fear from their bosses that he would have been critical of the signing process, having previously told a local radio station that he would have done just that if he had gained entry into the hall.

He debunked the government’s claim that he arrived at the time former VP Boakai was already delivering a special statement on behalf of political parties, indicating that he arrived in time at the venue where the Farmington Declaration was scheduled to be signed and that he was duly processed by a NEC female protocol officer, who he said even tried intervening for the EPS officers to let him into the hall when he was being prevented by state security officers.

“How can you say I arrived late, when the secretariat processed me, gave me tack, gave members of my delegation tack – me and Musa Bility arrived together, and the rest of the other people,” Gonquoi told Smart News Liberia, adding that after he was processed and when he was about to enter, it was when he was approached by some EPS officers, who he said prevented him from doing so and told him the party t-shirt (EFFL t-shirt) he was wearing, was not permitted to enter the hall.

Gonquoi continued, “How can you say I arrived late, but the EFFL Secretary General-elect, who rode along with me on the same vehicle, arrived along with me at the venue, should enter, only because he was not wearing an EFFL regalia?”

He disclosed that EFFL Security General-elect, Johnson then declined to enter, unless the leader of his party was allowed entry as well, a request according to him, which was not granted by the EPS agents at the venue where the Farmington Declaration was recently signed.

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