UNIFICATION CITY, Margibi County – Angry parents have expressed their disappointment with the Margibi County school system and the Department of Education for forcing their children out of school to attend a political rally in honor of former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill.
Last Friday, the disgraced sanctioned ex-minister was approached by a group of supporters to run for the county’s only senatorial seat to be won in 2023. The ceremony drew a huge crowd, including students aged 12 to 18 wearing pro McGill T-shirts bearing his photograph on their uniforms.
Emmanuel Tokpah, contributing writer
Students were forced to board National Transit Authority buses from several public schools, including Duazon Public School, Harbel Multilateral High School, Garzon Reserve School and John P. Mitchell School, and taken to the venue for the ceremony. petition to Unification City, Lower Margibi County. .
MOE must respond
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, the parents accused school authorities and the Ministry of Education of exploiting their children for selfish ends.
“The Ministry of Education must answer us. We sent our children to school, not to participate in campaign activities for McGill. Our children should not be used to increase the number of his political rallies,” said Peter Kartor.
Another parent, Ezekiel Padmore added: “Our children are not political shields. They should not be exploited for anyone’s political gain. We did not send them to school to campaign. Most of them don’t even have the right to vote. It is shameful.
Parents are demanding answers from the Ministry of Education for its failure to protect their children from such abuse as it violates Liberia’s Child Rights Act and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) United Nations.
The ministry, responding to a survey by FrontPage Africa, said it had not received any complaints, but promised to inquire with education authorities, including the county education officer.
Some of the students, asking not to be named, told FPA that their directors told them to attend the program, in return they would receive t-shirts and money for refreshments.
pay to play
One of the teachers accompanying the students, also seeking anonymity, said McGill gave each of the principals US$2,000 and ten 25kg sacks of rice.
“Our school received 250 McGill t-shirts, US$2,000 and ten bags of rice. We were asked to bring these children here to be part of the program. Our boss (the principal) only told us that he was mandated to do so,” the teacher said.
McGill was one of three senior officials sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department for public corruption. In September, he and his colleagues bowed to public pressure and quit.
Following his resignation, rumors emerged that he was aiming for a senatorial seat in Bong or Gbarpolu county. But his attention soon turned to Margibi, particularly Kakata, the county capital where he made several visits, amassing a large crowd. His acceptance to run for senator confirmed these speculations.
“Get out of the public space”
However, his decision continues to be greeted with public outcry and condemnations from high-profile figures in the county.
Recently, Rep. Tibelrosa Tarponweh called on eligible Margibi voters to reject McGill, once seen as the most powerful figure in the CDC-led government.
Rep. Tarponweh, who also chairs the county’s legislative caucus, said Margibi was not a hiding place for criminals and warned McGill to avoid public space and seek repentance.
“If Americans are saying you are the most corrupt man in Liberia, I think you need to get out of the public arena. Our view is that this brother (McGill) shouldn’t think of challenging. He should go seek repentance to clear his name. Margibi is not a dumping ground for criminals,” he said at a rally at the Dolo City Intellectual Forum in Margibi on Sunday.