Monrovia – Activist Leroy Archie Ponpon is noted for so many protests. But his current three-day “asset declaration” hunger strike near the United States of America’s Embassy in Monrovia might likely take away his life.
Laying on a single bed sheet spread on the pavement and having several placards with different inscriptions on them around him in front of the US Embassy for the second day, Ponpon told FrontPage Africa on Thursday, April 5, that he has been tortured by President George Weah’s refusal to adhere to the law that says upon coming to office all public officials should declare their assets.
Dehydrated after spending two days on hunger strike, Ponpon alleged that partisans from the ruling party (Coalition for Democratic Change) have threatened him and also attempted to force food in his mouth in order for him to discontinue his hunger strike.
“If President Weah continues not to show interest in declaring his asset then he wants me to die. And I think the President does not want any Liberian to die. It is his responsibility to protect us,” activist Ponpon narrated.
He added, “But if he does not declare his asset, I will continue this hunger strike until he does so. If he does not do so, I think he is torturing me by the fact that I am not eating, I am not drinking, I am moving up to the point of death and it is very critical for me right now. I cannot help myself so I do not know what will happen to me in the next few days to come.”
Ponpon is on record of staging a protest for gay rights in 2012; he is also on record of burning the Norwegian flag in protest over former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 and several other protests during the Sirleaf’s regime.
The hunger strike protest for President Weah and his Cabinet to declare their asset is Ponpon’s first protest under the CDC-led government after more than 70 days in office.
In furtherance, Ponpon says his three-day hunger strike is intended to bring transparency, accountability couple with the rule of law.
“I do not need attention from anybody. I am just doing a human right piece of job. The public has the right to be informed as to what the President’s asset is, what his income is, what his liability is. He must declare all of that. And so, I am not seeking any attention. I am just doing my work as an activist to make sure that society lives within the confine of the law and that nobody is bigger than the law,” Ponpon said.
President Weah last declared his assets in 2005 when he contested the presidency but lost to Madam Sirleaf.
Calls have been mounting for a new declaration since he was sworn in as President on January 22, 2018 in the spirit of curbing corruption, ensuring accountability and transparency, but with more than 70 days in office, the President is yet to comply, neither have any of his appointed officials.
In March, Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, said at a MICAT press briefing that the President still has time within the statutory timeline to declare his assets.
He said President Weah is putting all of his assets together so that when he is presenting his asset he would do nothing else but the truth.
“We all know the President played in Italy, he played in Paris and other places, and he may have an asset in those places. So, that process is ongoing,” Nagbe told the media last month.