By Samuka V. Konneh
Thousands of residents in the old LPRC Community in Gardnersville have longed to see the man that represents them at the national legislature in the wake of ongoing demolition. But the coming of Representative Richmond Anderson and his speech did not solidify citizens’ hopes to stay a little longer. Instead, his speech dashed every hope they ever had.
Attired in an unfit sky-blue T-shirt, a brown neatly fit jeans and oversized slippers, the lawmaker was conspicuous in his eight- minutes long remark. “I beg you, we cannot fight government. Da (it’s) my one fighting. No body to help me. They want to politicize it. They’re playing politics but this not politics business here. We’re talking about human beings, human feelings,” he broke down in tears and departed without any assurance of anything. But those affected understood him well when he said “we cannot fight government.”
On hearing their lawmaker, thousands have begun to self-demolish their homes in the hopes of minimizing losses. Throughout the night, people are seen de-roofing their homes – saving old zincs and planks and other personal effects. Whatever the game plan, the psychology of threats is hugely working on citizens. Although the government is yet to demolish structures already inhabited by people, the demolition team has been giving residents not more than three days to self-evict or face demolition while people are still in. “What will I do. They say they are not breaking down homes that people already live in. But what difference does it make? They ask you to leave within three days or else they will break down the house over your head. This is more than terror,” a man who only identified himself as Julius told me.
The honourable came in at a time affected people have amassed to prevent further demolition of their properties in the presence of UNMIL soldiers ready to control any eventuality. Their mind was made. What is interesting is the timing of his visit and remark to the citizens. Rep. Anderson ended his remarks exactly thirty seconds before the demolition team moved in, manned by heavily armed police officers. This time, the heart and mind to resist have already been broken down. The man the people expect to rally behind had just broken down in tears and reminded them of their inability to fight government. Without any resistance, citizens watched yellow machine demolished the structures they’ve known as their homes.
Many on the scene accused him of being sent by government to calm them during a crucial moment of planned resistance; and to remind them that they cannot fight government. Shortly after his departure, sporadic arguments ensued on whether or not he was on their side. Whatever side the lawmaker may be on, the yellow machine is not stopping.
The Liberian government this past week has been demolishing structures in the old LPRC community in Garndersville where confirmed report indicates that the exercise is meant to clear the way for one of Africa’s richest man, Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote who hopes to invest in cement in Liberia.
Samuka V. Konneh is a freelance reporter. He can be reached at 00231 777464028 / 886422711.