The opposition Movement for Economic Empowerment(MOVEE) has called for the immediate dismantling of ‘Zogos’ from abandoned properties across the country and create programs for short time employment, while efforts are being made for more sustainable solution.
‘Zogos’ are Liberia’s disadvantaged youth who are hugely addicted to drugs.
In a press statement issued in Monrovia, MOVEE, which is a constituent member of the Rainbow Alliance that comprises of several registered opposition political parties in the country, also called for more concrete transformative programs than playing to public sentiments and calling for frivolous action like the deployment of police forces at large gatherings.
The MOVEE’s statement is in apparent response to recent comments by President George Manneh Weah that as a result of the recent horrific stampede in New Kru Town, outside Monrovia, which claimed huge precious lives, all future large gatherings, going forward, must meet the security approval before such gatherings are held.
“In a drive to avoid the New Kru Town recurrence, the necessary security measures must be taken into serious consideration,” President Weah, addressed reporters after visiting the Redemption Hospital where some of the bodies were deposited, mandated.
“Future large gatherings must meet the security approval before such programs are held. The Government is saddened by the latest calamity that has befallen the country, for which the necessary security measures must be taken to avoid a repeat,” the Liberian Chief Executive pointed out.
The incident is reported to have taken place during an open-air church service in the area when some ‘zogos’ reportedly invaded the church service.
According to an official statistics released by authorities of the Liberia National Police(LNP), those who died included 18 adults (16 females, including 1 pregnant woman, and 2 males), and 11 children (6 girls and 5 boys). Of the 15 persons who were seriously wounded, there were 7 children and 8 adults.
President Weah has since mandated the LNP to conduct a full-scale, thorough, and speedy investigation to ascertain whether or not there is criminal culpability, and have met with the religious leadership and pastors of the Christian community to discuss ways to safeguard their congregations at mass events such as rallies and crusades in order to prevent a re-occurrence of this tragedy.
However, continuing further in the statement, MOVEE described the New Kru Town Stampede as an undisputable extension of the November 23, 2021 Duala shot out between Police and a band of ‘Zogos’ who had gone on similar spree of extortion to make life.
“In several similar open day attacks on peaceful citizens, there has been no concrete intervention not only to arrest the culprits, but to ensure targeted transformative measures for long term peace and security in our communities. In some of the worse situations, victims are beaten severely in open public glare for coming in accident with a Zogo and some victims even witnessed their assets been burnt before their eyes,” the opposition party averred.
According to the party, this lawlessness and the solution is not to either provide notification to the law enforcement agencies before holding a large event, stressing that the solution to deal with such a contagious ‘Zogo’ situation where they that are reported to have secured partnership with certain officials in high corridor of government, is not to deploy officers who take instruction from allies of the ‘Zogos’ in high government places. “The solution is about putting in place programs that go a long way to transform Zogos into productive citizens. This is the leadership that is required,” the party maintained.