Liberian Journalist Accuses Rep. Jefferson Karmo of Threats
Monrovia – As the October 2017 Legislative and Presidential elections draw near, many observers believe that the elections will not be void of series of claims and counter claims by parties involved.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyene – [email protected]
These parties, according to observers, include the political parties, aspirants, and even the National Elections Commission (NEC). Recently, the NEC accused some political parties and aspirants of engaging in pre-campaigning.
Sinoe County’s Electoral District #1, represented by Hon, Jefferson Karmo at the House of Representatives, has been accused of threatening one of his constituents.
A native of the district, Matthew Deljay, is accusing the Sinoe County lawmaker and his family of constantly threatening his life; following rumors that he (Deljay) wants to replace Representative Karmo in the pending elections.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica recently, the Liberian journalists recalled that the feud started in 2016 when he discovered that Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a palm oil Company operating in the area, was polluting the creek – the only source of drinking water for the people of Porthen Town and Tubmanville in Sinoe County.
“As we spoke about the creek and other things in the county, people started talking to Jefferson Karmo that I want to run.
His uncle, Peter Robert threatened me that if it were true that I wanted to run, I should back off or else he will order his boys to disgrace me and beat me up,” Deljay said.
According to Deljay, when he raised the issue on the community radio through advocacy, GVL erected several hand pumps.
Deljay also said he drew the Ministry of Education’s attention to the dilapidated state of the S. Jesse David School, prompting the intervention of the ministry. He noted that it was after these interventions in the district that the rivalry between him and the lawmaker began.
Deljay said he has consistently received threats from supporters of the lawmaker including his driver.
However, Representative Karmo has rubbished the claims; describing them as a smear campaign orchestrated by Deljay to gain publicity at his expense.
“I want to take this time to say categorically that the allegation levied against me and members of my staff is completely untrue.
At no point in time did any member of my staff and family threaten him,” the lawmaker said.
“We have always said through our words and actions that we do respect and will work to protect the rights of every Liberian who wishes to exercise their democratic franchise and rights under our laws to pursue their political aspirations.
And as such there should be no basis to threaten anyone who wants to enjoy their inalienable rights so well enshrined in our constitution,” Karmo said.
Despite the response from Rep. Karmo, who denies threatening Deljay, the latter claims he has received warnings from his friends. Deljay said there is a ploy to jail him before the voter registration process begins.
“They have planned to lie on me that I rape and to put me in jail. They will do everything to make sure that I don’t go back to the county to register to vote,” he said.
When the former UNMIL Radio broadcaster met Rep Karmo recently with the aim of resolving the issue, Deljay said he was surprise to have received more threats from the lawmaker, who told him his decision to contest for the district seat at the capitol “would come with grave consequences”.
“He told me that if I would contest the election, I should firstly consult my family and listen to their advice.
He said since the terrain I was going in was a traditional terrain, there will be consequences associated with my decision. So with his response, I asked him if he were behind all the threats on my life,” he said.
Continue Deljay: “He then said if I wanted to record him, I should go ahead. In addition, if any journalist comes to him, he was not obliged to talk to them. Nevertheless, I told him I would go to the press.
This is why I came to FrontPageAfrica, because I trust you. I came to let the public know so that tomorrow when I go to the county, they will not lie on me that I rape, because Varney Jarsey is in jail for rape, other people dying in this country for all kinds of things.
Harry Greaves that had all the money was found dead on the beach.”
He however said despite the situation, he would go to Sinoe County to register during the voter registration exercise, saying, “It’s my constitutional right.”
However, Representative Karmo told FPA that there were no grave consequences for people pursuing their political dreams, adding that only the electorates have the power to deny anyone at the ballot box.
Said Karmo: “I have heard a lot of narrations where he’s passing around town saying that people are threatening his life. I do not see any reason to threaten his life.
There are many candidates who we considered as very serious people that have the desire to contest in the district, and we are not complaining about them. What’s more about Matthew?”
Meanwhile, Deljay has also alleged that the upheaval between he and the lawmaker has led to his unlawful dismissal from UNMIL Radio, where he presented the station’s special Liberia English news.
Deljay explained that his employer thought he was meddling in politics; and without any investigation, they terminated his contract prematurely.
“When I left Sinoe and came to Monrovia, I lost my job at UNMIL radio. My boss, Sayon Wahtorson told me that my contract with UNMIL has been [was] terminated because I went to Sinoe County and held political discussion, which was not true at all.
If I had a political intention, I would have relinquished my role as a journalist,” he expalined.
However, when contacted, Mr. Wahtorson rebuked allegation and said Deljay’s contract was terminated due to his bad working relationship with co-workers.
“We terminated Matthew’s contract because of bad working habit, which include protracted absence from work without any further explanation and other bad working relation with other staff.
Nobody influence us to do that. If he says he got anything to do with Jefferson Karmo whatsoever, I do not know anything about it at all,” Wahtorson said.