Is Armed Robbery Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Government’s Downfall?
By Alexander Swen
Last weeks dismal report on the brutal death of the Plant manager of Liberian Agriculture Company (LAC) by unknown persons, and the armed robbery of money for LAC, has proven that armed robbers are serious of frustrating government efforts and planned to turn the Liberian people against the government. These actions have left the first elected female African president little wiggle room on the economic and development front. The government economic growth is strong and getting stronger, it can not be easy for president Sirleaf to have to defend her economic development when all evidence suggests that average Liberians are living in fear and terror at the mercy of armed robbers.
The Unity Party (UP) government democracy utopia that was embraced by almost all Liberians, it philosophy that has become one of the prevalent believe of all Liberians and foreigner within the borders of Liberia that the long awaiting freedom that has come is becoming to rupture as Liberians dash their hopes in the growing armed robberies in the country.
Following a free and fair election in the history of Liberia, the Liberian people were given the long quest for freedom and security. This relative freedom does not seem to last long, as armed robbery have engulfed the entire country. When Sirleaf took office two years ago, the crime rate average was down; the unemployment rate was very high, and debt totaled almost $6 billion. Hardship, according to Mr. Wilfred Grant, and most economists believe, was all but inevitable in the country. The Liberian people long quest for freedom and security is becoming to cleanse away in the hands of armed bandits. Our people have becoming to reminisce the bloodiest reign of terror in modern history, under the kleptocracy of Charles Taylor. During this time our people live in total fear and terror. The menace of armed robbery in Liberia is robbing the nation of getting her skilled citizens in the Diaspora to return home, and scaring investors away.
Armed robbery is becoming evident of the downfall of the government. The government needs to do more about it. The president should have taken care of armed robbery, before even embarking on the 'lofty' goal of asking or encouraging Liberian and investors to come to Liberia, the act of armed robbery is unacceptable and everyone should stand up against it. Armed robbery is a threat to life, development, and security. News paper reported of a day armed robbery in the ELWA area of a Liberian family from the United States and numerous other robberies of citizens and foreigners in the country. Armed robbery is becoming a part of Liberia problem as a society with derailed moral values.
The weakest pillar of the government is the Liberian “House” that up to present does not know their individual functions. The Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives have been concerned with their own personal gain, bribery and abuse of office more than with their tradition of law-making, since their inauguration. What are they doing to punish those responsible for armed robbery? The Liberian people need to question these people of their reputation. The UP government faced greater battles on the home front. The rising armed robberies, the continue demonstrations of former security officers and insecurity of citizens and foreign investors should now force the Liberian leader, madam Sirleaf, to take drastic action by implementing security and laws reform.
To cure the societal ill called armed robbery, the government has to confront those armed bandits with strong laws, such as, robbery, whether committed while armed or unarmed is treated very seriously in Liberia. Robbery should be one of the few offenses in Liberia that should result in being punished with a life sentence and death.
Whoever knowingly enters the dwelling place of another knowing or having reason to know that one or more persons are present within or knowingly enters the dwelling place of another and remains in such dwelling place knowing or having reason to know that one or more persons are present within while armed with a dangerous weapon, uses force or threatens the imminent use of force upon any person within such dwelling place whether or not injury occurs, or intentionally causes any injury to any person within such dwelling place shall be punished by life imprisonment or death.
Whoever, being armed with a dangerous weapon, assaults another and robs, steals or takes from his person money or other property which may be the subject of larceny shall be punished by life imprisonment provided, however, that any person who commits any offense described herein while masked or disguised or while having his features artificially distorted shall, for the first offense be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than twenty five years and for any subsequent offense for not less than fifty years or death. Whoever commits any offense described herein while armed with a firearm, shotgun, rifle, machine gun or assault weapon shall be punished by life imprisonment. Any person who commits a subsequent offense while armed with a firearm, shotgun, rifle, machine gun or assault weapon shall be punished by death.
Harboring armed robbers should be a felony. Those who harbor armed robbers should face a fourth-degree felony. It should be a federal crime to help a person seeking to evade capture by law enforcement officers. If you assist a criminal who is trying to avoid being arrested on armed robbery charges, you should bear the penalty by serving the maximum time require for fourth degree felony 6-18 months with a $ 5000 in fine.
Those armed bandits are attempting to smear the good image of a government that is trying endlessly to improve the lives of the Liberian people. Government should go after armed robbers with strong deportment. Death penalty and life imprisonment should be the tools to fight armed robbers. Other countries, such as our neighbors, Nigeria, and the United States have strong laws against armed robbers. It is time that the government set examples on those who are against the liberty of our people.