Opposition politicians in Haiti on Monday said they have no intention of collaborating with President Jovenel Moise as they staged protest demonstrations in the capital of the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country over the last weekend, calling for him to step down.
The demonstrations coincided with the 214th anniversary of the October 17, 1806 assassination of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, which President Moise used to reiterate earlier calls for unity and the need for all parties to come together to ensure a brighter socio-economic future for the country.
“I laid down a wreath at the Haitian National Pantheon Museum (MUPANAH), to honour the memory of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the founding Father of our Homeland. An act that renews our faith in the legacy he bequeathed to us.
“Haiti needs tolerance, peace and stability. In this circumstance, let us join forces, let us forget our quarrels,’ Moise added, urging closer collaboration ‘in order to guarantee a better country for future generations”.
“The failure to resolve our political differences resulted in the assassination of the Founder of our Homeland, resulting in a divided country. Today, the past invites us to act differently to resolve our differences. This is the best tribute to Emperor Dessalines.”
Moise stayed away from Pont-Rouge, the site of the Dessalines assassination so as not to provoke the opposition parties that had declared last Saturday a day of general anti-government mobilization to demand his resignation.
But several opposition leaders, including André Michel, leader of the so-called “democratic and popular” movement, who participated in the weekend protests, told reporters “we are on the way to the transition.
“There will be no elections with Jovenel Moïse in power, nor cohabitation. His constitutional mandate ends on February 7, 2021,” he added.
Michel said that President Moïse would do better to pack his bags and leave the National Palace, adding “his term will end in three months, but the people will not wait three months to demand his departure”.
Former opposition legislator, Nenel Cassy, who has also called for Moise to step down, said “we are not going to listen to the announcements, promises or demands of Jovenel Moïse.
“He never tells the truth. We have to listen to the people who want another team and another system,” he added.
Police reported that over the last weekend, the opposition parties under the banner, “Directorate of the opposition” that included the Fusion of the social democrats, Christian Movement for a new Haiti (MOCHRENAH), Organization of the People in Struggle (OPL), led thousands of demonstrators in the streets of the capital and in some provincial towns demanding Moise’s departure.
The authorities said that barricades of burning tyres were erected in several places in the capital with demonstrators also breaking windows, vandalizing cars and throwing stones and bottles.
The Haitian National Police (PNH) used tear gas to disperse the protestors and eyewitnesses said unidentifiable, masked and heavily armed individuals were seen throughout the protest.
Haiti’s legislative elections were due in October last year and as a result, Moise is ruling by decree. There is currently a debate as to when the elections are due with the last being held in 2015.
Moise last month installed the nine-member Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) after a divided Haitian Supreme Court opted not to swear them into office.