Liberia: ‘My Client May or May Not See the Police’ Over AK47 Threat, Lawyer for COP Member Says
Monrovia – A Facebook post by a senior member of the Council of Patriots, organizers of two protests drawing the world’s attention to corruption and bad governance under President George Manneh Weah, has drawn the attention of the security apparatus in Liberia. But Cllr. Krangar Findley, lawyer for Mr. Menipakei Dumoe, Vice Chairman for Administration in the COP, told FrontPageAfrica Monday that he wasn’t sure his client would honor a request from the Liberian National Police to explain the motive of his social media posting.
“My client may or may not see the police,” Cllr. Findley said Monday without elaborating further.
In his post Sunday, Mr. Dumoe wrote: “We don’t need bags of rice. I say the poor in Liberia needs AK47s so our leaders can take us seriously.”
After receiving backlash over his posting, Mr. Dumoe later clarified that the AK47 reference insinuated resistance against oppression and not an armed resistance.
Said Dumoe: “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. AK47 is a globally-known symbol of resistance. Several national flags carry the AK47 as a statement 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 MO.”
“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. AK47 is a globally-known symbol of resistance. Several national flags carry the AK47 as a statement 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.”Mr. Menipakei Dumoe, Council of Patriots
Mr. Dumoe explained that since the post, he has been contacted by the Liberia National Police through its Deputy Chief of Intelligence, Mr. Henry Moore to turn himself into the Liberia National Police.
Moore when contacted Monday, acknowledged that he was hoping that Mr. Dumoe explain the meaning of his post to the national security apparatus as it was a direct threat against the government.
More confirmed that all three security agencies, the National Security Agency, defense intelligence and the LNP were interested in what Mr. Dumoe meant by his post.
The post thread triggered numerous responses with some like George Woodtor writing: “No never. We cannot reinvent the wheels of our dark past. No more war in Liberia. I want to urge you guys to remain civil in all of your engagements with the government. May I ask: Is this the official position of the COP or CPP?
Woodtor’s post was preceded by another poster, Holton Flomo, who asked Mr. Dumoe whether he was serious about AK47 to which Mr. Dumoe replied: “I mean real AK47. In another post, he said, he meant it literally.
A leading member of the COP who chose to address the matter on the basis of anonymity said the body did not sanction Mr. Dumoe’s post. “We don’t endorse his post. It was ill-advised but we are not publicly condemning him over that.”
Some posters like Abigail Wokey Nufeatalai argued: “This is a wrong post. Let’s disagree responsibly please. We are never going back to war and I condemn this statement.”
On the eve of Christmas in December 1989, an internal conflict hit Liberia lasting from 1989 until 1997. The conflict killed about 250,000 people and eventually led to the involvement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the United Nations. The peace did not last long, and in 1999 the second civil war broke out.
Late President Samuel Kanyon Doe had led a rebellion that overthrew the elected government in 1980, and in 1985 held elections that were widely considered fraudulent. There had been one unsuccessful coup by a former military leader. In December 1989, former head of the General Services Agency (GSA), Charles Taylor moved into the country from neighboring Ivory Coast to start an uprising meant to topple the Doe government.
Taylor’s forces, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) battled with Prince Johnson’s Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) rebel group – a faction of NPFL – for control in Monrovia. In 1990, Johnson seized the capital of Monrovia and executed Doe brutally.
Peace negotiations and foreign involvement led to a ceasefire in 1995 that was broken the next year before a final peace agreement and new national elections were held in 1997. Taylor was elected President in July 1997.