University Students Lead Protest Against Rising Inflation in Liberia

Monrovia, 4 July, 2018:

Map of Liberia

The ECOWAS Civil Union on Monday diffused a growing protest called by the  Student Unification Party(SUP) at the state-runned University of Liberia demanding reduction in the high prices of basic essential commodities in the country.

Knowing how protests sparked by UL students can become potentially contagious with domino effects, our correspondent in Monrovia reports that the ECOWAS civil society Union recognized the concerns of the students as “genuine”, but urged them to observe caution and pursue their grievances through dialogue with government authorities.

Protesting University Students in Liberia

In a statement, the ECOWAS Civil Society Union advised President George M. Weah to act swiftly to avoid any conflict in Liberia where peace is still fragile. 

But a talkshow host at the  Freedom Radio which is sympathetic to the Weah government dismissed the protestors as “academic failures and disgruntled elements of opposition parties.”

The aggrieved protestors had gathered on their Capitol Hill campus in central Monrovia chanting “Let the high exchange rate come down; let high prices on the market come down;” let the high prices petroleum products come down”; let high transportation costs come down.”

Similar cries have become a daily refrain on dozens of community radio stations throughout the country.

The exchange rate between one USD and the local currency, the Liberian Dollar is 155 in Monrovia and much more higher  in difficult to  reach areas outside the capital where prices are even much higher.

During a sampling survey in the eastern suburb of Barnesville Monday, our correspondent observed several housewives complaining of being confused whenever husbands give  them only LD500 to cook at home.

“So, last Saturday I urged my husband to buy the grocery in  the market for me to cook,” Madam Victoria Kollie narrated.

“But my husband returned without buying anything saying total cost of what he wanted to buy was LD850 while the LD500 he had was not enough,” she noted, and urged other housewives to expose their husbands to harsh realities on the food market too.

Liberia Dollar Rate Conversion Posted

But the continued failure of the Weah-led  government to pronounce a roadmap for economic recovery–bread and butter issues–was painfully confounding Liberians.

By Tepitapia Sannah

Monrovia, Liberia