Sirleaf appoints nun to investigate election violence

Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has appointed a nun to probe a pre-poll shooting incident, her office said on Tuesday, as final results were set to confirm the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s divisive re-election.

Sirleaf already claimed victory when early results gave her a whopping 90% share of the vote after her rival Winston Tubman pulled out of the November 8 run-off, citing the risk of widespread fraud.

The West African nation was on edge as Tubman demanded a re-run and said his party was planning another mass rally for the funerals of opposition supporters allegedly killed by police on the eve of the vote.

The presidency said in a statement on Tuesday that Sister Mary Laurene Browne (68) a university teacher, will lead the independent commission of enquiry into deadly clashes between opposition supporters and police on November 7.

Browne is the president of the Catholic Stella Maris Polytechnic and also sits on the board of trustees of the University of Monrovia.

‘Friends of the president’
“We cannot be clearer: all those found to have broken the law will be brought to justice,” Sirleaf said in a statement.

However Tubman, a 70-year-old former UN diplomat, has already denounced the commission as full of “partisans and friends of the president”.

“I think the opposition should wait for us to probe the incident and submit our findings and then based on what we have done they can judge us,” Browne told Agence France-Presse.

Tubman had called the opposition rally on the eve of the election in support of his poll boycott after claiming the first round was riddled with fraud despite the poll being given a clean bill of health from some 4800 observers.

Riot police struggled to contain the angry protesters who surged onto the street to hold an unauthorised march, throwing stones and panic quickly broke out with police firing teargas and later firing live bullets into the crowd.


Firing on the crowd
A police officer, who was not in riot gear, had to be wrestled down by UN peacekeepers as he fired his pistol into the air.

A source close to the investigation said footage of the incident showed a man in plain clothes entering CDC headquarters from the side of the compound closest to Sirleaf’s residence, less than half a mile away, and firing on the crowd.

The presidency said one person was killed but the UN mission in Liberia has said there were two deaths.

At least six people with bullet wounds, mostly to their legs, were admitted to a Liberian hospital, a medical source told AFP.

The CDC says up to eight people were killed but refused to hand over the bodies to the police and cooperate with the investigation.

‘Revolutionary funeral’
The party distributed flyers over the weekend calling for its fallen members to be given a “revolutionary funeral” and has said it would march through the streets of Monrovia with the bodies.

This gathering was initially going to take place on Monday or Tuesday, however party chairperson Geraldine Doe-Sherif said a final decision would be taken on Wednesday.

“Right now we are meeting with the families of the victims and after we have met with the families we will call a mass rally of all our supporters and then we can decide our next plan of action,” she told AFP.

Sirleaf has called for national reconciliation and named fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, women’s right activist Leymah Gbowee as head of a new peace and reconciliation initiative.

However Tubman says her re-election was “a political farce of the highest order and must not be allowed to stand” as low turnout of 38% shows she lacks a legitimate mandate.

The nation’s second post-war poll was billed as a chance to cement a fragile democracy eight years after the end of a 14 year war which left some 250000 dead but instead deepened divisions. — Sapa-AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

High Court strikes down ‘paternalistic’ lockdown regulations

The order of unconstitutionality has been suspended for two weeks

L’Oréal workers demand a shutdown of local plant, citing Covid-19...

The French cosmetics company’s Midrand plant has recorded 16 Covid-19 cases in two weeks

Protective equipment for schools in KwaZulu-Natal goes ‘missing’

Without protective equipment, schools in uMlazi, Pinetown and Zululand won’t meet the already delayed deadline for reopening
Advertising

Press Releases

Empowering his people to unleash their potential

'Being registered as an AGA(SA) means you are capable of engineering an idea and turning it into money,' says Raymond Mayekisa

What is an AGA(SA) and AT(SA) and why do they matter?

If your company has these qualified professionals it will help improve efficiencies and accelerate progress by assisting your organisation to perform better

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday