Liberia: Dumoe’s Statement Was ‘Ill-Advised, But Not Illegal’, Says ANC’s Alexander Cummings

Mr. Alexander Cummings, leader of the Alternative National Congress(ANC) said Wednesday that although the comment posted on Facebook by Mr. Menipakei Dumoe, acting Council of Patriot(COP) Chairman made many persons “uncomfortable”, it was not “illegal” as being insinuated.

The political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Alexander Benedict Cummings says the social media comment which landed the acting Chairman of the Council of Patriots (COP), Menipakei Dumoe, into trouble with the Government of Liberia was “ill-advised, but not illegal”.

Mr. Dumoe spent his first night behind bars on Monday after he was arrested by Joint Security Forces of the Liberian government over a comment posted on Facebook, preferring AK47s over the distribution of rice during this lockdown period in Liberia.

“We don’t need free bags of rice. I say we the poor in Monrovia need AK-47s so our leaders can take us seriously”, he posted on the social media.

Following public outcry, Dumoe later posted providing clarity on his previous post, which had drawn mixed reactions from the public. Some had accused him of being a violent person; however, there is no record of him being that way.

In his clarification, he stated, “A number of people have called me about a post I made last night regarding our people needing ‘AK47s’. Of course, this was a metaphor; AK-47 is a globally known symbol of resistance. Several national flags carry the AK-47 symbol as a statement of resistance against oppression.

“My call on our people to not just accept free bags of rice without questioning the system that has them living in desperate poverty should not be misunderstood as a call to violence.

“I am a non-violent political activist and will never call for the use of actual guns. Civil resistance is my M.O.”

Mr. Cummings said though the comment posted by the acting COP Chairman made many persons “uncomfortable”, it was not “illegal” as being insinuated.

“I believe we have passed our dark days when governments muzzled critical voices and violated their fundamental rights of free speech. We should not go back down that road”.

Mr. Alexander Cummings, Alternative National Congress(ANC)

The ANC political leader’s comments come less than a day after the Chairman of the CPP called on President George Manneh Weah to ensure the immediate release of Mr. Dumoe

Mr. Cummings stated: “The Chair of the CPP has spoken on this issue on behalf of the CPP, but I’d like to add my voice to his and call on the Government to free Menipake Dumoe immediately. Having consulted with several lawyers, it appears that while Dumoe’s statement was ill-advised and made many persons uncomfortable, it is not illegal and as such, it is protected under free speech”.

“I believe we have passed our dark days when governments muzzled critical voices and violated their fundamental rights of free speech. We should not go back down that road”.

He noted that as Liberia and its people celebrate Unification day on May 14, “it is important that we focus on doing things that will unite rather than divide us”.

Mr. Cummings further called on Liberians to insist that government does the right thing by adhering to the rule of law in the country.

Sen. Dillon alarms over delay in submission of recast budget

Henry Karmo [email protected] 

Monrovia – When the resolution that approved President George Weah’s Stimulus package was signed by both members of the House of Representatives and Senate, was agreed that amongst many things, the executive branch of government would provide for approval by the Legislature a recast budget.

It’s been almost a month that hasn’t happened according to Montserrado County Senator Darius Dillon. Senator Dillon because of the delay has alarmed calling on those responsible to submit the recast budget to do so in time.

The Ministry of Finance and Development planning hasn’t done its job since the approval of President Weah’s measures to provide stimulus package for Liberian under the state of emergency that’s according to Montserrado Senator Dillon.

Senator Dillon in a Press Conference said, it’s been almost a Month since the Legislature approved the resolution to allow President Weah spend US$ 25 Million to provide stimulus package in food distribution and payment of small business loans for Liberians during these health crisis but the executive branch through the Ministry of Finance is yet to submit to the legislature a proposed recast budget for approval.

“Today is May 12 five days to go to make one month since we signed a joint resolution for the state of emergency. We approved the measures to be taken by the President with condition that the funding for those measures will be sent to the legislature for approval, but the executive has failed to submit the recast amount of that budget.”

Count 14 of the joint resolution states that all appropriation or re-appropriations approve in the joint resolution from the House of Representatives and Senate shall be subject to the recast process in accordance to the budget law

“The resolution also calls for priority to be given to the hospital systems in the 15 counties throughout the republic and the National response team. “We don’t   seem to be exerting our oversight as an institution as a senator I am concern. I am concern that pretty close to one month not a bag of rice has been given to our people.

“I don’t see the provision of PPEs, no ventilator been purchase, no health hazard benefits for health employees and others in the front line fighting this disease. The fact that a date for distribution has been determine by the Minister of commerce, there may be an attempt to go about purchasing food without going through the recast process.”

The Montserrado County Lawmaker maker also expressed suspicion that the executive wants to submit a recast budget to the legislature a day or two before the commencement of food distribution to put them under pressure to swiftly approve without thoroughly scrutinizing it a situation that could put Public pressure on the legislature for delaying food distribution.

“We need time to review the recast budget so that we can do the appropriate appropriation and pass it on time to allow a speedy implementation of our people. “

Dillon also informed the Public that President Weah and the Executive Branch are already in in breach of the budget law as they are behind time in submitting a draft budget for the next fiscal year which starts by April as the current fiscal period ends in June of this year.